Without Effective Evaluation, All May Be for Naught

Without Effective Evaluation, All May Be for Naught

Mr. Lauer writes: Absent good communication, in-house and outside counsel's ability to work together effectively to represent their mutual client will suffer. Establishing good channels between the in-house and outside attorneys is necessary at the start of their relationship. Assuring that they understand each other, by developing or confirming that they share common understandings of the words that they use , must occur at the start as well. Shared expectations regarding the work that the latter performs at the direction of the former will serve as a useful calibration for the work going forward.

In order to assure that the client realizes the most value from the legal service, though, whether in the context of a single, one-off assignment or as an element of an ongoing relationship that covers multiple (even many) matters, in-house counsel must establish an effective means of evaluating outside counsel and the latter's work and communicating the results of those evaluations to outside counsel in a manner that will conduce toward improvement in the relationship and the work.

In fact, the evaluation of outside counsel might be as important as the initial selection. A failure to properly evaluate outside counsel and to communicate the results might irreparably damage the relationship and the work. On the other hand, the benefits of effective evaluation will serve counsel well immediately in respect of the current assignment and they will manifest themselves fully more and more over time. [footnote omitted]

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