Nine reasons to ask firms to compete for your assignments

So much do the drums beat in favor of competing work among law firms, general counsel might not pause to consider fully the many reasons for such an effort. Here are nine justifications, listed roughly in the order that I think general counsel invoke them.

(1) Cost savings owing to the larger volume the chosen firms will receive and therefore, presumably, the better rates and efficiencies. Competitive bids and convergence go hand in hand;
(2) Administrative ease, because fewer firms’ billing systems need to be coped with along with fewer formats of bills, and perhaps even fewer bills in total;
(3) Improvements in quality as the chose firm take on more services and invest in knowing your style and legal needs better;
(4) Confidence from having tapped market information about how much lawyers and services of particular types cost;
(5) Learn about new approaches from the proposals and presentations of the firms;
(6) Shake up incumbent firms and rouse them from entitled complacency;
(7) Signal internally within the company that you are tackling legal costs;
(7) Change of regimes as a new general counsel takes over and wants to sweep out some of the old, dusty firms;
(8) Shift the make-buy balance – outsource more work or a different mix of work; and
(9) Alter an embedded power relationship indirectly, such as when the CEO favors a firm and you believe that the firm will not show well in the competition.

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