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Certification to keep budgets for major matters realistic and live

A speaker from Baxter Laboratories said at a SuperConference panel that they have instituted some disciplines to keep matter budgets relevant. Every month outside counsel must certify that the matter is on budget and inside counsel must do something similar to show that the budget is on track.

Certification can be a rubber-stamp exercise with no meaning or it can be a genuine reflection that thought was given to the assumptions and circumstances. Even more striking to me is Baxter’s insistence that inside counsel must be accountable; they must keep up with the progress of the case and the associated costs; they must use budget review as a tool to manage the case; they must do something affirmative to show this level of attention.