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Law departments should not invest much in training law firms’ “next generation”

When I give presentations on outside-counsel cost control methods, I often commend law departments that do not pay full rates for first- and second-year associates. A hand usually shoots up and the person asks “But how will the next generation of lawyers learn?” My response is that shareholder dollars should not go to training law firm lawyers.

On-the-job, on-the-tab training for junior associates should not be a concern of corporations trying to compete. If you want value from your law firms, pay only for the work of those who can deliver it – their productivity and quality today adjusted for price – and let the firms worry about how they will keep their pipeline of talent flowing tomorrow.