Inside Litigation Management: Corporate Counsel

Jan
10
2023
According to a survey by the Wells Fargo Legal Specialty Group, law firms intend to raise their prices in 2023 by an average of seven to eight percent, citing inflation as the reason for the rate increase. Legal departments have responded angrily, with some questioning that inflation is the true motivation behind the price shift.

Jan
3
2023
Arbitration clauses once enjoyed near-omnipresent status in corporate contracts, but new laws have limited the practice. In light of recent legislation, Neil Peretz and Steven Stein review the costs and benefits of arbitration, arguing that it is sometimes— but not always— appropriate to use an arbitration clause.

Dec
6
2022
In this article, Mike Madden argues in support of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s "Seat at the Table" Initiative, which calls for 100% of all General Counsel and Chief Legal Officers to report directly to their CEOs and have access to their boards of directors. Madden notes that GC and CLO roles have recently expanded; in addition to legal work, the heads of legal departments also oversee business functions, and so must operate as business leaders.

Dec
5
2022
It can be difficult to choose between litigation and settlement. In this article, Brannon Arnold and Andrew Sefzik offer five factors for corporate counsel to evaluate before accepting or rejecting settlement offers, including insurance coverage and the presence of disputed facts.

Nov
17
2022
An economic recession may be on the way, writes Barrett Avigdor, but for savvy legal departments, financial pressure may be an opportunity, not a hardship. In this article, Avigdor encourages legal departments to conduct an audit, then pursue data-driven decision-making that solves business problems as well as legal ones.

Nov
15
2022
Too often the adversarial nature of litigation leads attorneys to abandon civility in favor of over-aggressive tactics and ad hominem attacks; however, professional courtesy, when practiced, has enormous advantages both inside and outside the courtroom. Here, Anna Sanders both provides examples of attorneys sanctioned for unprofessional conduct and profiles attorneys who do practice civility. One of the shining examples of civility features Baylor Lawyer Melissa Smith. Way to go, Melissa!

Nov
9
2022
When corporate legal departments need to cut back, writes Hugo Guzman, they are most likely to contain costs by moving work in-house, aided by innovative technology. Guzman also identifies alternative fee arrangements as an effective cost-cutting strategy, with participating departments saving up to fifty percent.

Oct
24
2022
Legal departments need legal technology, but often, writes Cassandre Coyer, departments select technology as it becomes necessary to relieve bottlenecks, rather than as part of a cohesive plan to innovate. As a result, some departments find themselves with incompatible softwares or higher integration costs— though a more strategic approach would have ensured that counsel had the right tools from the beginning.

Oct
6
2022
Legal technology can do more than increase efficiency: according to a 2022 report, prioritizing technology leads to a wide range of benefits for legal departments, including better litigation outcomes. Even so, many of the 270 departments surveyed lag behind in automation and data management.

Oct
5
2022
Corporations want their legal departments to be cost-efficient, especially during economic uncertainty. Here, Cassandre Coyer argues that legal technology is the key to cost efficiency. However, investing in legal tech is only half the battle. Many legal departments have the right tools but fail to use them at full capacity.

Sep
8
2022
Conventional wisdom among legal departments favors law firm consolidation— decreasing the number of firms hired as outside counsel in favor of a smaller group. When done well, consolidation can create stronger relationships between the corporation and the remaining firms; done poorly, it can end in higher rates and low-quality work. In this article, Phillip Bantz discusses the right way to consolidate.

Sep
1
2022
Attorneys have a reputation for being bad with technology; Trudy Knockless writes that in order to serve their purpose, corporate legal departments must understand data management and the tech that goes with it. There are inherent risks to collecting and storing data, and legal departments that lack technical knowledge cannot address those risks or adequately advise their clients.

Aug
23
2022
Legal departments must respond to new challenges, but it can be difficult to collaborate with a C-suite that doesn’t always understand. In this article, Philip Bantz discusses the findings and recommendations of a report by Kearney, a consulting firm that deals in large part with the legal departments of media companies. In its report, Kearney advises legal departments of all kinds to simplify inefficient processes in favor of streamlined, deliberate operations.

Aug
18
2022
In the past two years, corporate legal departments have consolidated the list of firms they hire as outside counsel, paying more money to fewer firms. The firms that remain benefit tremendously from the consolidation trend, and they would like it to continue. Here, Andrew Maloney discusses high-value clients and the ways firms attract them.

Aug
15
2022
Corporate legal departments continue to hire outside counsel, but according to this article by Phillip Bantz, the variety of firms hired is decreasing. Instead of maintaining relationships with a large number of practices, legal departments are opting to approach the same, smaller set of attorneys every time— and pay them more. Costs may rise again, Bantz writes, when the smaller group recognizes its new bargaining power.

Aug
2
2022
It pays to know the data, and a 2022 report from Lex Machina holds special insight for insurance litigators, noting a 47% increase in insurance cases from 2017 to 2021. In this article, Michael A. Mora advises insurers to increase their resources, in-house and otherwise, in response.

Jul
28
2022
Legal departments are sometimes at odds with the business at large, with the perception that they are only cost centers and drags on efficiency. This article is a summary of a webinar, linked in the piece, where legal department leaders discussed how to define and provide value to companies, emphasizing the role of data and verifiable improvement.

Jul
25
2022
In this article, Trudy Knockless discusses the 2022 Enterprise Legal Management Trends Report, which analyzes data from corporate legal departments. This year’s report shows an increase in spending towards hiring outside counsel— driven, Knockless posits, by corporate dependence on large firms with higher hourly rates. The report also notes an increase in M&A work, as well as a rising percentage of legal business conducted under alternative fee arrangements.

Jun
29
2022
Bruce Proctor spent the first five years of his legal career as a litigator; now he’s the general counsel of LIXIL Americas, and he values the experience and skill set that litigation gave him. In this interview with Lit Daily, Proctor shares how litigation experience— his own and his team members’— brings value to the legal department.

Jun
3
2022
Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez is a project manager for GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines. In this interview with Amii Barnard-Bahn, he discusses professional projects— how to define, begin, end, and measure the success of a project, and the role that legal departments play. He also examines different styles of project management, noting that the right plan may involve more than one strategy.

May
17
2022
In March of this year, the U.S. Department of Justice filed for sanctions against Google as part of an ongoing antitrust lawsuit, alleging that Google coached its employees to copy in-house counsel on business emails for the purpose of shielding correspondence under attorney-client privilege. In the emails under controversy, employees copied in-house counsel, labeled the email as “privileged,” and included a form request for legal advice; however, in roughly 140,000 instances, the copied attorney never responded to the request. Though District Judge Amit Mehta called the practice “eyebrow-raising,” he also expressed doubt that Google engaged in sanctionable conduct.

May
16
2022
In this article, Dave Edelheit urges General Counsel to transform their legal departments, leaning into artificial intelligence and other digital initiatives. Edelheit acknowledges that transformation may cause short-term disruption but argues that the return on investment is high enough to justify any temporary inconvenience— with the right tools, a legal department can increase productivity while cutting costs for the company.

May
2
2022
Remote communication is, understandably, on the rise in corporate spaces, and as more and more employees work from home, trade secrets become less and less secure. This article makes practical recommendations for companies that may need to protect their data, suggesting simple steps to take now to prevent theft and the litigation theft might provoke.


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