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How a law department can get budgets from law firms (American Express)

During a teleconference hosted by ACC’s Law Department Management, Litigation and Small Law Department committees, the Chief Litigation Counsel of American Express, Stuart Alderoty, explained his department’s budgeting practices. The law firms hired to represent Amex on a matter must submit a matter budget for the year (I do not know whether it is a 12-month budget or a budget until the end of the current fiscal year) along with a general description of the services expected to be provided.

An Amex lawyer must approve, reject, or modify the budget. The law firm can leave home without it, but without an agreed budget, Amex won’t pay any of its invoices (See my meta-post of Nov. 6, 2005 on outside counsel matter budgets.).