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How to push good faith efforts by in-house lawyers to do a decent job on law firm evaluations

As with tracking time, entering data into matter management systems and capturing know-how, in-house lawyers see very little benefit to themselves, individually, for their administrative effort of evaluating law firms. They know who they like and don’t like and the rest is a time sponge with no redeeming benefit. Slacking off and disgruntlement are endemic.

How can a general counsel encourage lawyers to complete evaluations, to agree to the importance of consistent effort, and to thoughtfully give insights into the relative performance of law firms?

No inducements or threats really do the trick. A few steps might help. General counsel must do some evaluations themselves and they should consistently and publicly recognize those who submit evaluations. General counsel should create as user-friendly a system as possible, and demonstrate publicly with the data obtained that the time invested makes a difference. Ultimately, they need to strive to create a culture where everyone sees value in it and does it somewhat willingly. A system imposed on lawyers is less likely to prevail than one that the lawyers have a hand in crafting.

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One response to “How to push good faith efforts by in-house lawyers to do a decent job on law firm evaluations”

  1. Peter Fontaine says:

    If there was a real connection between the evaluation and the selection/retention of outside counsel it would go a long way to help ensure that evaluations are taken seriously. I fear that too many times outside counsel is selected/retained for reasons unrelated to past quality or service.