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Don’t use junior associates or delegate more work to junior associates. Which is it?

According to reports, some general counsel have banned the use on their matters of junior associates in law firms (See my post of May 11, 2007 on such policies.).

On the other hand, according to the Texas Lawyer, Vol. 23, Nov. 5, 2007, at 7, “Another tactic some legal departments are using to trim the cost of outside support is requesting that associate attorneys with lower billable rates be used with greater frequency.” Which is the best practice?

Those who ban associates denigrate the value those inexperienced lawyers bring. Those who boost associates praise the value those lawyers bring. How can there be a best practice (See my post of June 7, 2006 about another duel of best practices.)? The goal, clumsily addressed by both approaches, is to get fair value for the rates you pay, irregardless of the experience level of the lawyer.