An earlier post discussed interventions by law departments in law-firm operations where the requirements are well founded and reasonable (See my post of Jan. 10, 2008.). Beyond what seems fair for law departments to ask of all their firms, this post considers requirements by law departments that seem to me fair for them to impose only on law firms that consistently handle significant amounts of work for them.
As with the previous list, the following compilation could be much longer.
1. Provide training beyond firm-standard CLE events (See my post of July 21, 2005.).
2. Send partners to attend collective gatherings of firms (See my posts of Dec. 3, 2005 and June 19, 2006.).
3. Keep track of developments in the business of the client (See my posts of April 5, 2007 and May 2, 2007.).
4. Appoint a client relationship partner who devotes non-trivial amounts of non-billable time to overseeing the relationship (See my post of Dec. 3, 2005.).
5. Absorb costs of training associates who are new to a matter (See my post of May 24, 2006.).
6. Assign and keep a core group of lawyers on their matters (See my post of Aug. 8, 2006 and references cited.).
7. Use only litigation-support software chosen by the client (See my post of Feb. 19, 2007.).
8. Host extranets for the client (See my post of Feb. 12, 2006.).
9. Make regulatory and other filings electronically (See my post of July 16, 2005.).
10. Disclose metrics on cost, timing and staffing about closed matters of the client (See my post of Oct. 6, 2006.).
11. Bill in tenths of an hour.
12. Prepare budgets in the form the client wants on major matters (See my post of May 21, 2007 and references cited.).
13. Give serious consideration to alternative billing methods.
14. Charge in agreed-to ways for travel time (See my posts of Sept. 5, 2007; and Jan. 1, 2008.).
15. Expect client-service teams at their firms that go beyond a core team of assigned lawyers (See my post of Sept. 17, 2006.).
16. Hold firm billing rate changes in line with cost of living indexes, the percentage of revenue change of the company, or the company’s change in profitability for the year (See my post of Nov. 24, 2005.).