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Invite a partner or two from your key law firms to a collective gathering

Wal-Mart announced its diversity initiative at a conference attended by representatives of its top 100 firms, reminding us of a law department’s power to bring together its key firms. If you want to announce e-billing, roll out budget forms, explain task-based billing, showcase promoted lawyers, explain your new guidelines, plead for cost savings, state vendors that all firms must use, or scrounge for new ideas, an open forum can accomplish much. The competitive juices flow freely.

Whether you pay for travel costs, time or both depends on many factors, but I believe that law firms which are committed to serving you should be willing to invest some of their own time and money in strengthening the relationships. No reimbursement or charges, that is, which may smoke out which of your firms are most dedicated to you.