Ran across a fictitious letter written by a fictitious general counsel to a fictitious law firm he just retained. The letter sets forth his expectations for the new firm; and was crafted by Bob Denney of Robert Denney Associates as one of his famous Legal Communiqués. Although it is nearly a year old, it is so right on in terms of what law firms must be tuned into for servicing clients I wanted, in the interests of brevity, to cover it in two posts.
The letter starts off by setting forth what this in-house attorney expects from the firm:
- He doesn’t want the responsible attorney to be a “Lone Ranger”, but expects to be served by a competent team at the level and experience needed; and the attorney needs to ensure that he is providing “quality control” and has a qualified partner to be his backup when he is not available;
- He wants the advice to be objective, and aimed at solving problems not creating additional ones, while anticipating and preparing to overcome any future problems;
- He doesn’t want to be kept in the dark (like a bat or mushroom), and consulted on matters of strategy, timing and expense. Oh yeah, and NO surprises;
- He expects everyone on the team to be responsive, courteous and show respect to everyone in the company they come in contact with. And “If we think something is important then” IT IS; and
- He expects not only that all legal deadlines will be met, but “we also expect you to meet – or even beat – our business deadlines.”
Actually the letter could be turned around and used as an affirmative assertion by law firms to new clients as to how they will handle their matter. It would be impressive if firms did so.
Next post will address the fee and billing expectations and a final caveat, if his expectations are not met.