Here are the most effective outside counsel management tactics

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Chief legal officers and general counsels have shared their most effective tactics to manage outside counsel.

Altman Weil’s 19th annual “Chief Legal Officer Survey” found that the most widely used tactics are not necessarily the most effective. The consulting firm analysed 280 responses from GCs representing a wide range of legal teams and companies, including those with more than 50 lawyers and more than US$50bn in annual turnover.

The most used outside counsel management tactics were requiring budgets for major matters, as well as providing guidelines for billing, expenses, matter staffing, and matter management. Both were used by 80.8% of the study’s respondents.

Enforcing guidelines for billing, expenses, matter staffing, and matter management was the next most widely used tactic, with 61.5% of respondents using the tactic. The study also found that negotiating fixed, capped, or alternative fees was used by 59.6%, while enforcing budgets for major matters was used by 45.5%.

The study found that 43.2% of respondents performed data analysis of outside counsel spend, while 31% provided post-matter feedback to outside counsel. The least-used tactics were seeking feedback from outside counsel on law firm-client relationship (18.8%), formally evaluating outside counsel at matter closing (15.5%), and requiring a defined level of technology proficiency (6.1%).

When asked about what outside counsel management techniques worked best, enforcing budgets for major matters won, with 76.3% saying it was resulted in significant improvement in outside counsel performance.

Next was negotiating fixed, capped, or alternative fees (75.4%), followed by enforcing guidelines for billing, expenses, matter staffing, and matter management (75.2%), and providing guidelines for billing, expenses, matter staffing, and matter management (68%).

Those are followed by formally evaluating outside counsel at matter closing (62.5%), providing post-matter feedback to outside counsel (61.5%), and requiring budgets for major matters (60.4%).

The three techniques that were least effective in eliciting a significant improvement in the performance of outside counsel were seeking feedback from outside counsel on law firm-client relationship (59%), performing data analysis of outside counsel spend (46.2%), and requiring a defined level of technology proficiency (38.5%).