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Outside counsel on a retainer fee for colleges and universities without a legal department

Twenty-nine colleges or universities use the fixed fee retainer program of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management (NCHERM). Corp. Counsel, Feb. F012 at 20, reports on this unusual arrangement where legal services are outsourced. The founder of NCHERM offers colleges legal advice, training programs and expert witness services for a flat fee.

The founder estimates that 50-to-60% of colleges and universities don’t have their own in-house lawyers (See my post of Aug. 28, 2005: trade group for university counsel; and April 8, 2007: first university patent department: University of Virginia’s.). The arrangement does not prohibit clients from retaining other law firms for specialized matters. There are plenty of rent-a-GC organizations but this is the first one I’ve run into that focuses on an industry segment and has grown so large.