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The RollOnFriday In-House Lawyer Survey 2022 has launched.

It gives in-house lawyers the opportunity to spill the beans on the best and worst firms they instructed in the last year and what they value most in a firm.

In last year's poll, in-house lawyers said the most important attribute of the firms they used was not a good rapport, or fat bribes, but simply the quality of what they were told. "This is the worst of times and it is important that the advice is both right and achieves goals, as often that advice is fundamental to survival", said one in-house lawyer. 

Pricing, however, came bottom - only 4% cited it as the most important criterion. "We are willing to pay more for better advice," said one client, "otherwise we have to spend time re-doing the work or find ourselves with poor deals/regulatory trouble."

One gripe was over time-based billing, with in-house lawyers wanting firms to move towards fixed fees instead. “People talk about value billing but they always benchmark against time on the clock - a sort of reverse engineering," said one-house lawyer. "I am wholly uninterested in how long things take, only how useful they are."

And some clients in last year's survey said that firms should have less flashy offices to enable them to lower their fees. "I hope firms take on learnings from the pandemic," said a senior in-house lawyer in banking. "We don't care if you have chosen to lease fancy city centre offices - it doesn't benefit us so we won't be impressed when you increase rates because of it."


If you are an in-house lawyer then please have your say below:

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Comments

Anonymous 06 May 22 09:13

Hopefully this will be the antidote to all those smarmy fake prizes…

However it’ll only be that if you in-housers name names… 

Anon 06 May 22 09:53

Have to disagree with the senior banking lawyer’s comments on fees. Fees are simply driven by the price the market is willing to pay. Nobody is forcing you to go to the best city firms. Society is not obliged to provide you with a top quality team of high specialised and well-trained individuals ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice to work around the clock for you for the price of a mcchicken.

Anonymous 06 May 22 10:07

"I am wholly uninterested in how long things take, only how useful they are."

So says every in-house lawyer who outsources a document-heavy and complicated kitten-show and is disappointed to find that there is no easy way to fix it.

"I don't care how long you spent trying to fix it.  I'm just terribly disappointed that you couldn't magic me a solution. I will now proceed to complain about the uncommerciality of external counsel."

Swiss Tony 06 May 22 11:46

 

Love this.

 

One thing is important. 

 

MAKE ME LOOK GOOD.

 

 

The end.

 

Anonymous 06 May 22 12:17

Anonymous 06 May 22 10:07

If your work is just an expensive confirmation that this is hard, the in-house lawyer will not be impressed. He already knew that, that is why he instructed someone. And he instructed that someone to get a solution that he already knew would be difficult. 

So he would not be terribly disappointed that you couldn't just conjure a solution, but he will be disappointed you just confirmed it was hard. And then you billed him for your own kitten-show.

Anonymous 06 May 22 13:51

“So he would not be terribly disappointed that you couldn't just conjure a solution, but he will be disappointed you just confirmed it was hard. And then you billed him for your own kitten-show.”

Except the way it normally goes is this:

IHC: “[Bad thing] has happened! What can I do to fix it?”

PP: “I’ve looked at all the credible options and it’s unfixable.”

IHC: “I need solutions not negativity! What about [pie in the sky idea]?”

PP: “That most probably won’t work and it will cost a fortune. I wouldn’t recommend it but we can try.”

IHC: “Cost be damned! I need results!”

PP: “I did the thing. It took a long time and, as advised, it didn’t work. Here is my bill.”

IHC: “I’m not paying this. I said I wanted results! I don’t care how long you spent doing it!”

etc.

Anonymous 06 May 22 19:27

The upside of firms billing by the hour is that, in the event the work is quick, you don’t get billed extra for the risk that it might not have been quick.

Grass is greener, etc. 

Anonymous 06 May 22 22:33

"Guarantee me solution.

 

We both know that's not possible 

 

Ifs litigation with no guaranteed outcomes.

 

But my boss wants a certain outcome.

 

Protect me. Audit proof me please.

 

I can't bill 1800 hours a year now for a bonus.  I need to justify my existence."

Snake bite 06 May 22 22:50

Failed lawyers get the chance to spit venom at successful lawyers who can cut it. 
let us hear their twisted but bitter wisdom.  

Anonymous 07 May 22 22:18

@Anonymous 06 May 22 13:51

So you conflated "hard" with "unfixable" and still sent a bill. Well done. Do you even work with in-house lawyers?

I have, and the problems I have are rather different. Of course I got the hard problems and I fixed most of them, with a bill to match. Naively I thought all was well, and used them for one of the annual ranking lists. I was mentioned by name and it was rather mixed. All comments were anonymous, but I could recognise the tone: they said we did a fair job but our bills were too large. Our marketing people groaned, this was perfectly useless as a reference. Later the client moved all new projects to another firm, while I kept some old, slow projects. I knew the other firm had been courting the client, and they proceeded to drop the ball in a very expensive way that just escaped the headlines. 

So I thought the situation was ripe, and called the client to ask them if I could again use them as a reference for the ranking lists, and they said yes. I made sure to explain the system carefully and mentioned by the way that they could also comment anonymously on other firms too. This is business, but the client is petty. I am looking forward to this year's ranking list comments.

Anon 08 May 22 07:57

“Failed lawyers get the chance to spit venom at successful lawyers who can cut it.”

Bless. 

Anon 08 May 22 16:41

“Failed lawyers get the chance to spit venom at successful lawyers who can cut it.”

Yes, I am sure the global GCs and senior lawyers of multi billion pound household name companies are really regretting their career choices.  

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