Along with a relationship partner at your primary law firms (See my post of Dec. 3, 2005: have a relationship partner at each of your key firms.), you might also want to designate an engagement partner for each major matter. The engagement partner will be the principal contact at the law firm for everything regarding that particular matter. The law department should agree which partner serves as the engagement partner (See my posts of Oct. 8, 2005 and Dec. 21, 2005: successor relationship partners; Jan. 10, 2008: law department interventions in law firm operations.).
Neither kind of partner should bill you for time spent on nurturing and maintaining the relationship. They should bill only for substantive legal work and direction of those who are doing substantive legal work. The partner should add value as a communicator and arbitrator and focal point (See my post of March 31, 2007: single points of contact – SPOC’s – and three references; Sept. 22, 2005: Wal-Mart and diversity of its relationship partners, April 27, 2005: Cummins and quarterly meetings with them.).
The concept has analogues (See my posts of Sept. 17, 2006: analogue to client-service teams; and May 18, 2007: inside counterpart appointed for each major firm.).