For some matters that require outside counsel, one law firm doesn’t have all the horsepower you need. For example, after a series of major lawsuits were filed against it starting in 2003, Johnson & Johnson created a blended trial team. As described in the Nat. L.J., Vol. 29, July 16, 2007 at S4, J&J created a virtual team of an antitrust expert, a senior partner at one large firm, and a litigation star, a senior partner at a second, equally prestigious, firm.
Expect some friction and competition from the virtual firm’s members if they are of that pedigree. But if you can manage the prancing stallions, you can get good results from the virtual law firm (See my post of Dec. 5, 2005 on Cisco and its virtual firms; Jan. 4, 2006 on Halliburton; June 5, 2006 on why virtual firms are not more common; Nov. 6, 2006 on virtual law firms during a crisis; March 4, 2007 regarding Chevron’s views; and Dec. 3, 2006 on five nuances of the term “virtual law firms.”).