Virtually any attorney who has practiced law for more than 15 or 20 years, particularly in large national or multi-national law firms, will confirm that the legal industry does not remotely resemble its former stature. Demand for legal services is shrinking amidst a glut of attorneys and disruptive technologies and alternative service offerings are making the legal industry’s landscape more competitive than ever. For an industry that historically has enjoyed price inelasticity, the cost of legal services has migrated to the forefront of attorney-client relationship. As the industry continues to be reshaped, the individual relationship between a client and outside counsel is likewise transforming. With increasingly frequency, outside counsel is losing the status of an irreplaceable, cost-insensitive and indispensable advisor. Clients are comparison shopping to ensure that outside counsel is competently delivering optimal value for each hour billed at competitive market rates. In an evolving relationship where the market influence of each party is becoming more balanced, unspoken protocols, the rules of engagement and even the fundamental underpinnings of the attorney-client relationship which once were inviolable are now points of discussion and negotiation between a client and outside counsel. In the redefined relationship with outside counsel, every value conscious client should assess the factors driving the transformed relationship with outside counsel. By doing so, a client will make great strides towards ensuring that optimal value is delivered by outside counsel for each hour billed at market rates.
If you would like to learn more about the intricacies of the attorney client relationship transformation, download Legal Decoder’s White Paper, Outside Counsel Cost Management and a Transforming Attorney Client Relationship.