“US general counsel have long utilized their position to stipulate certain pro bono demands along with hourly fees when appointing external counsel,” intones Michelle Madsen in Legal Week, Nov. 23, 2006 at 10. No, they haven’t.
To my knowledge, no general counsel on this side of the Atlantic has ever stipulated that a law firm undertake any kind or amount of pro bono involvement. That would be overbearing intrusion.
Except, general counsel push diversity improvement on their firms (See my posts of May 7, 2006 on morale at Computer Associates and pro bono; and Sept. 10, 2005 on some pro-bono thoughts.) and they insist on some technology investments, so perhaps the line is not clear at all regarding how far law departments can pressure their law firms.