Partnering with law firms gets a huge play in the law-department press. Several law departments, in addition to DuPont, have publicized their close relationships with their key firms (See my post of March 12, 2007: Pfizer’s Partnering Program; May 3, 2006: UPS’s 25 core law firms; July 20, 2007: YTC’s partnering program; and June 20, 2008: Tyco’s partnering with Eversheds in Europe.). Partnering fits with convergence (See my post of Feb. 16, 2008: convergence with 26 references.)
Even so, most of my writings on Law Department Management Blog have been critical of partnering (See my post of May 1, 2005: dark side of partnering; July 3, 2007: risks of consolidation of firms; Dec. 16, 2005: complacency among partner firms; and March 11, 2007: partner mobility risks partnering arrangement.).
I am all for law departments and law firms working closely together, but I believe they have fundamentally different interests and therefore partnering won’t achieve what its proponents trumpet (See my post of Aug. 13, 2006: clashing meanings of the terms between firms and departments; April 26, 2006: firms vying for direct access to corporate executives; and Dec. 21, 2005: how far partnered departments intervene.).
As usual, a motley crew of posts orbit these primary ideas on partnering (See my post of June 5, 2006: why not more virtual law firms; Dec. 11, 2006: survey data about bases for evaluations of firms; and Feb. 1, 2007: possible effect on lawyers per billion.).