“Demand Management” at Royal Bank of Canada’s legal department

InsideCounsel, Jan. 2009 at 57, summarizes of a gathering of in-house counsel. Murray Aust, a senior counsel at Royal Bank of Canada, describes briefly his law department’s program called “Demand Management.” He refers to it as the complement to vendor management, meaning they “developed a checklist that literally starts with the question of whether legal counsel, internal or external, is required on a matter.”

His law department wants more control over the services it renders. With the discipline of this program, the legal department tries to achieve some consistency in when it and its external counsel handle a matter and proceeds from there. “So far this methodology has produced tremendous returns,” Aust claims.

“Demand Management” might be in the genre of Service Level Agreements, guidelines for contracts, rules on lawyer decision-making, rejection of quasi-legal tasks, and chargeback arrangements – all policies to keep lawyers focused on their highest and best use (See my post of March 23, 2008: SLAs; Sept. 17, 2005: setting minimum requirements for legal department review; Jan. 25, 2009: in-house rules for decisions by lawyers; April 9, 2008: quasi-legal tasks with 14 references; and Jan. 27, 2008: selectively charge for time servicing clients on some matters.).

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