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No partner has to be retained with an entourage of timekeepers

A consultant I know argues that a law department can’t just hire Robin, a partner at a firm, because Robin (or the firm) will insist that the entourage of junior partners and associates who orbit and serve Robin also work on Robin’s matters.

I disagree. The inside lawyer who manages Robin’s matters can very easily specify that only Robin may bill on the matter, presuming the matter falls into the category of legal advice and counsel where no research, document review, or drafting is needed. In other words, where legal counsel and advice dominate, the mind of one person is all that is needed. That kind of retention you could call cherry-picking, but the term is pejorative while the practice is not.