When managing a law firm’s work on a matter, one step is to choose the partner for your matter. Law departments take that right for granted these days.
It would be another step to limit how many paralegals, associates, and partners the firm may bill you on the matter. Law departments, at least as much as I’ve heard, do not exercise this form of staffing control (See my post of Dec. 27, 2008: timekeepers with 18 references.).
A another technique is to request from the responsible partner a list of the timekeepers on the matter and to treat other timekeepers less well, such as barring them or deeply discounting them. This core-staff approach has much to commend it (See my post of Aug. 8, 2006: core staff with 6 references; and July 17, 2008: core team II with 11 references and citations to 7 earlier.).
A fourth choice is to set parameters for the matter of what percentage of time may be billed by partners, how much by senior associates, how much by associates and so on (See my post of Nov. 21, 2005: staffing profiles imposed on law firms; and March 28, 2006: one lawyer and one paralegal as starting assumption.).