How to Get the Best Advice From Your Outside Counsel - From Someone Who Has Been on the Inside

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In-house lawyers rely heavily on their outside counsel to give them legal advice that is concise, clear and up to the minute, making the relationship one of great importance. Indeed, it is outside counsel’s job to do his or her best to make the in-house lawyers look good in the eyes of company management by providing thoughtful and insightful advice. In order to accomplish that goal, outside counsel needs to take the client’s business goals into consideration when offering advice and guidance. In-house lawyers are almost always too busy to sit down and undertake the thorough analysis necessary to consider all legal ramifications to a particular problem or set of circumstances. As such, it is incumbent on in-house lawyers to communicate what the potential impact is on the business for each assignment they allocate to outside counsel.

Outside counsel may know a lot about the client’s business, but the reality is, they do not live and breathe it in the same way that in-house lawyers do. This is true even if the company has worked with a particular lawyer for years. Companies are dynamic, and in today’s fast-paced, instant information and ever-changing business environment, a company must be nimble, flexible and immediately responsive to market forces. No outside counsel can possibly know the nuances of market changes and business pressures on each of its clients. Likewise, no outside counsel knows the inner workings of a company as well as in-house lawyers.

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