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Top 10 ways to manage outside counsel

The successful management of the relationship with outside counsel often involves a delicate balance between cooperation and oversight. External law firms generally offer special expertise, an independent perspective, and sheer numbers to address challenging problems. In-house counsel contributes to team coordination, experience, and a thorough understanding of the needs of the corporate client. How can in-house counsel ensure that they are effectively managing outside counsel? The following 10 recommendations are a good start.

1. Create clear outside counsel guidelines – and follow them

Legal departments must not only create clear guidelines for their firms, but also must consistently enforce them. The best practice is for external law firms to confirm agreement to the guidelines in writing, with any additional terms in a mutually agreed addendum (no side agreements). A good legal department management system can help streamline the monitoring of compliance with agreed guidelines (no. 10 below). 

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