In-house managers of law firms should shift to law firms part of the burden to show whether they are cost effective. How might firms do this? That I leave to the ingenuity of law firm partners but it could start with a quarterly report on value-added activities.
Even if a firm cannot show excellence and value provided, at least the law firm can show effort and procedures. For instance, the lawyers who represent a company meet once a month and consider a checklist of worthwhile efforts they might have done. At least such a procedure raises consciousness.
We all concentrate more on outcomes, but process steps are a good surrogate, on the expectation that processes followed diligently will result in better outcomes. My view about how to push firms to articulate what they contribute starts with their awareness, moves through efforts, and culminates in demonstrable results.