Eight Best Sourcing Posts of May 2009 from Law Department Management Blog

I've selected eight posts from my Law Department Management Blog that I suspect will be interesting from an internal sourcing group standpoint and hopefully valuable to many other Spend Matters readers as well. Here they are.

1. Auctions: pick the best bidder but for one dollar more than the second best bid May 28, 2009)
This is a way to lessen the likelihood that the prevailing bid is too low for the winner to perform well. This method increases the chance that a fixed-fee arrangement will succeed for both sides.

2. Four ways to look at concentration regarding a department's use of law firms (May 29, 2009)
The pattern of a legal department's use of law firms has several formulations. Commonly, concentration describes the number of firms retained, but there are other ways to convey different aspects, such as according to matters or only firms paid above a certain amount.

3. Try a double blind evaluation of law firm proposals (May 29, 2009)
The bias of pre-formed impressions makes evaluations of proposals from firms quite problematic. Evaluators in the legal department like or dislike some firms even before they read the proposal. One way around such favoritism is to conceal the identity of the firms in large parts of their proposals.

4. A possible benchmark metric: total lawyer hours worked per billion of revenue (May 22, 2009)
A company buys hours of attorney work from its inside employee lawyers and from its outside law firms. The total of those hours worked, when normalized per billion of revenue, gives general counsel another metric to benchmark against.

5. A suggested revision to the estimate that in-house attorneys work 1,850 chargeable hours a year (May 21, 2009)
All kinds of metrics and management decisions depend on reasonable figures for how hard internal lawyers work. The standard benchmark for what are referred to as "chargeable hours" may be too high.

6. The useful information you gain about your lawsuit if you negotiate an alternative fee arrangement (May 6, 2009)
If a law firm contemplates accepting lower fees now in return for the possibility of a results bonus later, that firm will size up your chances. How the firm, therefore, negotiates the bonus arrangement gives you insights into what they think the matter is likely to be worth.

7. Does the monthly rate of expenditures on cases rise faster the longer the case lasts? (May 6, 2009)
Everyone expects legal fees to skyrocket just before and during trials. But some people think that as cases drag on, the burn rate rises. Perhaps that is because cases that can be resolved are resolved, and the few that remain are difficult, present higher risks and rewards and require more effort.

8. A radical proposal -- divert bill-review time to firm-direction time (May 3, 2009)
If those who review bills rarely write off much time or give feedback to their law firms, why bother? Spend that review time telling the firm what to do, how to do it, when to do it and enjoy greater savings.

Rees Morrison

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