Downsides to hiring a consultant for management advice

As befits my two-decade career as a consultant I perceive many benefits for general counsel who retain consultants (See my post of Jan. 1, 2008.). Still, it has not escaped my attention that some general counsel choose not to enjoy those benefits. Why would that be?

1. Consultants cost money, sometimes lots of it. Hourly rates of management consultants, less so technology consultants, match the hourly rates of good lawyers.

2. Consultants can bring to the surface difficult issues which may have no good solution. Sometimes it may be best to let sleeping dogs lie.

3. Consultants may not tell the client anything new, or at least after the general counsel reads the consultant’s report much of it doesn’t seem insightful or useful. “I already knew that.”

4. Consultants worry those who work in the department. Are troubling changes and pink slips in the offing?

5. Consultants in your department may suggest the flag of surrender or that you don’t know how to cope with some issue.

6. Consultants might not live up to their own billing. Expectations on the part of clients run high.

7. Consultants learn a lot about a law department, but when they leave, the investment is lost unless the consultants passed on some training.

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