Be fair, because, more than you, outside lawyers relive the hurdles they have jumped for you

“I like in-house lawyers to stick to their side of the deal. It is simply unfair when the client expects you and your team to jump to a teleconference on a Sunday, and then pays your bills several months later and after many reminders. It is disrespectful.”

Partners feel their travails. All nighters. Teams assembled quickly. Sudden changes in deadlines or long periods of inactivity. Conflicting instructions, the aggravation of task-based billing, travel late at night, cold pizza in conference rooms, indecisiveness, and endless delays on planes.

The hair-tearing and ulcers of law firm lawyers stick in their minds, but are probably not divulged to clients. In-house managers may be contentedly unaware. Bruno Cova, the former general counsel of Fiat, writing in E. Leigh Dance, Bright Ideas: Insights from Legal Luminaries Worldwide (Mill City Press 2009) at 51,, who is quoted, makes the point of fairness; you need to empathize with the difficulties perceived by put-upon, on-call lawyers at the firms you retain.

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