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Virtual teams of law firms, aka split engagements

I like the way in InsideCounsel, Feb. 2007 at 10, Charles James, Chevron’s general counsel, explains split-engagements. In some “mission-critical matters” it may be essential for a law department to hire the best lawyer money can buy. “But it’s not always necessary to take the full law firm package that comes along with that premier lawyer.” James gives the example of engaging a superb trial lawyer and pairing that expert trial team with a “solid, but lower cost, regional firm to handle the routine matters associated with the case.”

To create and hold together a virtual team is much harder than to let one firm handle all the integration of tasks, but it can chop fees drastically (See my posts of Dec. 5, 2005 on this technique at Cisco; and of Dec. 3, 2006 on five nuances of the term “virtual law firms.”).