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Three thoughts on the notion of “partnering” with law firms

Pulling together my most recent posts on partnering gave me occasion to reflect on points I have not covered previously. The notion of partnering leaves me dubious, but more can be said, especially from the law firm side, than just criticisms.

You need to consider the law firm side. Does a partner get origination credit or billing credit for your account? If so, it is harder to see the firm as a whole partnering with you.

Only if there are multiple partners working significantly with multiple in-house lawyers does the term partnering seem to make sense. Connections at multiple contact points over time create genuine closeness between a firm and a department.

Third, perhaps when the law firm appoints a relationship partner who oversees multiple matters and the work of many lawyers, and has a fair degree of influence over quality and cost, is there a notion of partnering.

Some recent posts on partnering followed my last metapost (See my post of Feb. 14, 2009: another hackneyed term; Feb. 23, 2009: opposing views of departments and firms on litigation; March 27, 2009: one of nine myths held by inside lawyers; Aug. 5, 2009: unsupported journalist’s charge against partnering; May 3, 2010: stretch capacity more likely from partner firm; June 13, 2010: “partnering” as a concept group; Nov. 19, 2010: Romantic era view; and Sept. 23, 2010: entrenched and content firms with 7 references.).