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How to help your law firms understand your business better

Law department managers complain about the level of ignorance their outside firms suffer from regarding knowledge of the company. They gripe, but what can they do to raise the level? At a recent conference, I heard about a telecomm law department that invites its key law firms to gather and hear from business executives (See my post of April 25, 2009: one part of the ACC value commitment is to learn a client’s business and strategy.). That is an excellent tactic, but there are many others.

Many of the tools available to in-house lawyers for them to learn about their company’s business also benefit outside counsel (See my post of May 3, 2006: knowledge of the business with 7 references; and May 7, 2006: in-house training on financial literacy.).

Put your firm’s lawyers on appropriate distribution lists regarding business developments, include them in clippings from RSS feeds, invite them to listen to analysts’ calls, go to lunch with them (without being charged), send them books on the industry or leading companies, distribute annual reports, and generally share what’s happening in the company.