Selecting and Managing Outside Counsel

Negotiating the Complex Business, Financial and Legal Issues

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Course Materials

This seminar will review what corporate counsel must know to select and work effectively with outside counsel. The panel will present their insights and perspectives on negotiating fee arrangements and monitoring performance and billing practices of outside counsel.


As economic forces drive corporations to more aggressively control legal costs, general counsel are carefully considering new approaches to selecting and managing outside counsel.

A 2007 survey of corporate counsel indicated that corporations are actively monitoring outside counsel, including requiring budgets, status reports and a summary of achievements on a regular basis and demanding discounted rates and minimum levels of experience for associates.

Managing outside counsel involves tricky billing and time-keeping issues and possible disagreements over legal strategy.

Listen as our panel of in-house attorneys offers strategies and best practices for corporate counsel in selecting and working effectively with outside counsel, including negotiating fee arrangements and monitoring performance and billing practices.



  1. Selecting outside counsel
    1. Cost/benefit analysis
    2. Objective criteria
    3. Competitive bids
    4. Conflict waiver
    5. Effective engagement letters
    6. Negotiating fee arrangements that reward performance
  2. Managing outside counsel
    1. Execute written agreement outlining expectations and fee arrangement
    2. Establish metrics to determine effectiveness and efficiency
    3. Establish efficient review processes
    4. Regularly evaluate work performance and identify areas needing improvement
    5. Require detailed budget and billings
    6. Monitor bills for non-approved charges and inefficiencies
    7. Monitor hourly rates and expenses for reasonableness
    8. Document and electronic data preservation
  3. Resolving conflicts
    1. Disagreements over legal strategy
    2. Performance concerns
    3. Personality differences and/or communication issues


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • How does the distressed economy impact the use and selection of outside counsel?
  • What issues should the general counsel consider in evaluating whether to hire outside counsel and how to select the right outside firm for the work?
  • What are the best practices for inhouse counsel in managing and working with outside counsel, particularly dealing with disagreements over strategy?


Linda M. Kearney
Linda M. Kearney
Managing Associate General Counsel

She manages litigation nationwide for WellPoint’s UniCare/HealthLink subsidiaries. She was also responsible for...  |  Read More

Kirk W. Watkins
Kirk W. Watkins

Attorney at Law
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice

He has worked with corporate counsel on complex litigation matters for over 30 years, including innovative alternative...  |  Read More

Rees W. Morrison
Rees W. Morrison

Rees Morrison Associates

He has consulted to more than 250 law departments during the past 21 years to help them better manage themselves and...  |  Read More

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