Last week I wrote about the fictitious client letter sent to the recently retained outside law firm, wherein the general counsel sets forth his expectations. As noted in that post, the “letter” was brought to us by Bob Denney in one of his Legal Communiqués. ’s Legal Communique, wherein the law firm is admonished/warned about not meeting the client’s service expectations.
This week I will look at the general counsel’s fee and billing expectations, which include:
- stick to the agreed-upon budget;
- Ensure that the bills are “accurate, free of errors and inconsistencies and adhere to the agreed-upon formats and protocols”;
- invoice regularly (thereby helping the client with its cash flow);
- (If applicable) since our policy is to minimize hourly fees in favor of fixed fee or incentive fees, if you misjudge the time spent on our matter, that is your problem since we do not “pay for inefficiency by outside counsel”;
- Besides these basic requirements/expectations, we expect your firm to build on our relationship by “delivering enhanced service.” Ways to do that include utilizing current technology, maintaining knowledge management systems (and presumably, if the letter were sent today, it would include legal project management), and keeping us up-to-date with law alerts, newsletters, CLE seminars, etc.; and
- Periodically seek client feedback meetings regarding both the quality of the work product and the service provided.
Finally, our company has not retained your law firm simply because of its expertise. There are other firms and lawyers equally qualified to handle our legal needs. Your firm was retained because we believe that you will serve us well and meet and “perhaps you will even exceed our expectations.”
As noted previously this client letter was fictitious, but make no mistake, clients expect to be treated as outlined here, even if they do not expressly commit it to a letter. Without a doubt both Denney and I agree on that.