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Bias against consultants, but what are partners in law firms except specialized consultants?

Many people consult to legal departments; partners at law firms consult to legal departments. Why such different attitudes by general counsel toward the two roles?

A consultant, experienced with other legal departments and their management efforts, objective in assessments, creative and forceful with ideas, and committed to concentrating on a problem, brings much value to a general counsel (See my post of Jan. 1, 2008: consulting with 15 references.).

A partner in a law firm, experienced with the legal issues, objective in analysis, less beholden than employees to politics and the “way things have always been done,” and staffed to get big tasks done quickly likewise bring value to the legal department.

Why then the animus against management consultants? Both lawyers and consultants dispense advice and complete tasks based on experience and independence (See my post of Jan. 22, 2009: objectivity of in-house attorneys with 11 references.) yet the former are hugged and the latter snubbed.

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One response to “Bias against consultants, but what are partners in law firms except specialized consultants?”

  1. The reason is the old saying about one bad apple. Unfortunately there are many individuals who become unemployed and have to make a living some how and so they become a consultant. I overcame the resistance to consultants when my firm converted to a contingency fee basis. If we do not deliver what we promise, we do not get paid. What better incentive is there than that in order to perform?
    Mike Parry