The website of The Devil’s Advocate contains a 28-page document that discusses many aspects of managing external counsel and their costs. A point made by the document’s author, John Toothman (at 9) makes sense and deserves reflection. Toothman points out that if a law firm can confidently and quickly prepare a budget for a potential matter, the firm evinces a commendable degree of experience with that kind of work.
Conversely a reluctance to prepare a budget that lays out its assumptions, timelines and adequate command of detail may convict a firm of inexperience. So, budgets not only serve as a cost control technique but also as an evaluation tool before retention (See my post of Nov. 7, 2005 on budgets and the references cited.).