A general counsel on a recent panel criticized what he called a “centralized attorney structure,” where all communication must go through the relationship partner of the law firm. That hub structure is especially inefficient if the partner is not personally handling a fair portion of the legal work.
As this situation was described in the Legal Intelligencer, Oct. 3, 2008 (by Zack Needles), I would completely agree. A relationship partner’s raison d’être is to facilitate legal services provided a client, not clog them and impose costs (See my post of July 26, 2008: relationship partners with 8 references.). The panel general counsel, and all in-house counsel, want direct contact with the attorneys working on their matters.
Ironically, outside counsel would prefer to work directly with business executives, without the intercession of the inside lawyers.