I heard at a conference panel about a couple of law firms, one in the United States and one in the United Kingdom, who sent their lawyers on-site to a business to watch and appreciate the operations. Much like in-house lawyers, who need to study the business activities of their client (See my post of July 16, 2005 about GC’s and business acumen.), it likewise behooves law firms to invest in their principle clients and do what they can to become more familiar with their clients’ businesses.
The mere fact that a law firm volunteers to familiarize its lawyers this way ought to distinguish the firm from the pack. And, for their part, law departments ought to invite their key firms to breathe some of the air of real work, without, of course, bills submitted for that time.