If the lawyers in-house who retain outside counsel can choose whomever they want, it may turn out to be unusual for any of them to use the same counsel. With such divergence, evaluations of outside counsel will not be collective, they will be individualistic. Such a pattern of isolated assessment differs greatly from what Pfizer does as part of its P3 “Managing Performance” program.
As described in the ACC Docket, Vol. 26, Nov. 2008 at 96, “we [Pfizer’s legal department] have conducted a half-day session each January where Pfizer colleagues evaluate outside counsel’s performance over the prior year.”
When you bring people together to share their views on the performance of a law firm, you iron out subjective differences and develop more consistent ratings (See my post of May 12, 2009: pooled evaluations of inside lawyers.). Convergence makes this process much more palatable and fruitful (See my post of Dec. 27, 2008: additional posts on convergence with 11 references.).