Ten bad practices among efforts to control outside counsel costs

In several speeches, I have excoriated ten practices that some law departments have effectuated. Here are the ten and some of my blog references regarding them.

1. Mostly seeking discounts from hourly rates (See my posts of June 30, 2007 about how to calculate savings; and May 26, 2007 where I deride discounts.).
2. Aggressively auditing bills with third parties (See my post of Oct. 24, 2007 about audits by both employees and third-parties of bills.).
3. Permitting decentralized retention of law firms (See my posts of Aug. 30, 2006 for a general statement of this principle; and April 26, 2006 for the challenges from clients.)
4. Focusing on low hourly-rates (See my post of March 29, 2005 on hourly rate differences by size of firm; and Feb. 24, 2007 on drivers of law firm pricing.).
5. Creating detailed and strict guidelines, such as for travel charges (See my post of Sept. 5, 2007.).
6. Relying on task-based billing systems (See my posts of April 23, 2006 and Dec. 1, 2006 that criticize UTBMS efforts; April 22, 2007 regarding updates to the system; Oct. 15, 2007 about using the data to contest a bill; Feb. 21, 2007 on difficulties law firms have with the codes; and May 26, 2006 on the possibility of rate changes by code.).
7. Insisting on Most-Favored-Nation status (See my posts of Oct. 30, 2005; Nov. 21, 2005; and Jan. 25, 2006 on difficulties with MFNs.).
8. Obsessing on disbursements (See my posts of Dec. 1, 2006 with references; Feb. 14, 2007 on metrics; and March 4, 2007 on the goal of focusing on fees not disbursements.).
9. Freezing rate increases (See my post of April 26, 2006, which is cold on this practice.).
10. Becoming complacent with incumbent firms (See my posts of May 1, 2005 on the dark side of partnering; and Dec. 16, 2005 on complacency among entrenched firms.).

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