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A budget for all legal services handled by law firms and client approval of the budgets!?

All law firms working for The Body Shop propose a budget for their matters before they start. “Proposals that vary significantly from the legal department and business client’s value assessments are rejected.”

Gracious me! Do clients review budgets of law firms? It is hard enough to get budgets, let alone have meaningful review by inside lawyers; to layer on client approval must grind the process to a halt. Yet this is the quote from the “European Briefings” supplement to the ACC Docket, Vol. 27, Dec. 2009 at 64. The general counsel seems to suggest this rarely happens, but as a process objective I find it hard to support. The notion of hitting upon a value of a matter before the law firm starts in also makes my eyes roll. Finally, this role of clients, if true, implies that the legal department charges back to clients external fees incurred on their behalf.

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