In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

Ever wonder why general counsel fire outside firms?

A U.K-based market research firm put that question to a couple thousand in-house attorneys in 45 different countries. Out of the top five answers, three centered on the cost-to-value ratio and the other two focused on lack of client maintenance — one, particularly, on client maintenance when a key contact leaves the firm. The top reasons were published in American Lawyer:

• “They were doing a bad job: no results and a lot of invoices.”

• “Poor service. Lots of delay. When challenged, they were completely up front and just said [they] don’t have enough resources, which is pretty astonishing for an international law firm.”

• “It has to do with quality and price. We paid thirty or forty thousand euros, more or less for nothing. So, they had to go.”

•”The main client relationship [partner] left the firm. I find that often when partners leave, those firms neglect to contact clients to say we still want your business and we have signed a new relationship manager. They tend not to correspond with you. Yet the partner who leaves always contacts you from the new firm.”

•”There was a severe lack of relationship between what the bills were and what the value delivered was.”

So, here’s our question for you:

What are the main reasons you would fire outside counsel or have fired outside counsel in the past?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

  • Telecom’s group general counsel quit.
  • More shake-ups in News Corp.’s legal department.
  • The University of California, Irvine School of Law will open an in-house counsel certificate program next summer.
  • The former associate general counsel at GlaxoSmithKline talked about being acquitted of criminal charges last year.
  • Everything’s bigger in Texas: general counsel compensation is up 11 percent in the Lone Star State.
  • General counsels are increasingly sought out by CEOs for advice.
  • Follow us on Twitter for In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse
  • Want the latest on who’s been hired, fired or moving and shaking in between? Head to our Movers and Shakers page to find out.
  • For networking events and other happenings this week in Maryland, check out our calendar of events.
  • Get the very latest updates from our law reporters on Twitter: @TDRKristi, @Steve_Lash
  • Check out The Daily Record on Facebook.

Law blog roundup: Down year for Maryland copyright litigation


Welcome back to the roundup on this frigid Monday morning. Here are some law links to peruse while you defrost.

Law blog roundup: Bedbugs and baseball’s steroid era

Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens

It’s Monday again, but for Ravens fans, today comes with a cherry on top: Monday Night Football. Here are some law links to get your day started.

  • A weekend news release trumpeted that Billy Murphy would break his silence on the Jessamy-Bernstein race for state’s attorney at a press conference today. Looks like he already spilled the beans.
  • Are medical malpractice caps dead? One doc thinks so.
  • One American files for bankruptcy every 15 seconds.
  • Continuing their summer tour through New York, bedbugs have made their way into the Manhattan DA’s office.
  • Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens may have broken the law, but Bill James argues, so did Babe Ruth.
  • Laid-off attorney shopping her services as a cleaning woman.
  • In South Carolina, having sex with a client’s wife is a conflict of interest.

Law blog round-up

Welcome back to everyone who was out of the office over the holidays, and Happy 2010! A variety of legal news clippings to smooth your way back to working a full week:

Monday law blog round-up

Happy Monday!

Law blog round-up

Happy Monday!

  •  To put it mildly, fathers’ rights lawyer Dawn Bowie does not like the recent changes to Maryland’s domestic violence laws.
  • “But if I wrote an editorial to the Miami Herald decrying the fact that Obama’s health care plan includes feeding small children to lions, would they publish that too?” Ron Miller sounds off about an anti-health care plan opinion column.
  • Former congressman Dick Armey has left DLA Piper over backlash about his work to defeat the Democrats’ health care proposals.
  • All together now: correlation does not imply causation! (States with a lot of lawyers also have a lot of cocaine use.)
  • Break out the champagne: we went a whole week with no big firm layoffs.
  • Don’t leave an employer off your resume!

Are you kidding, Harvard Law?

According to AmLaw Daily, Harvard Law School is telling its students to consider widening their summer associate job search. To Baltimore.

Bloomberg, which first reported on the story, quotes assistant dean for career services Mark Weber as follows:

“If you are looking in D.C., consider Baltimore or Richmond,” he said. “If you’re looking in Chicago, try Milwaukee and St. Louis, too. You need to be casting a wider net in this market. “

Really? Baltimore? I can’t speak for Richmond, Milwaukee or St. Louis, but I can say that the Baltimore legal market, while probably in better shape than Washington or New York, is hardly immune to recession-itis. To my knowledge, no firms with a major presence here have yet canceled their 2010 summer programs, but there have certainly been layoffs, and several firms have postponed their 2009 first-year associates’ start dates. Where does Harvard think these developments will leave the would-be summer associate class of 2010? Even if no Baltimore firms call off their 2010 summer programs, how many of their summer associates can reasonably expect a job offer come August 2010?

One thing’s for sure: if students from the second-best law school in the country do listen to their dean’s advice and start taking a closer look at Baltimore, our home-grown law students will face stiff competition this fall in their bid for summer associate positions. I’m not knocking the University of Baltimore or the University of Maryland. But increased competition from anywhere would make it a tougher job market, and increased competition from Harvard students, even more so.

Hogan has a tough week

Hogan & Hartson has not been having a good week.

Last Friday, word got out that the firm had shown 30 senior associates the door. (I’ve made three calls to the firm since then to find out whether anyone in the Baltimore office was affected, but I haven’t heard back. Take from that what you will.)

Then yesterday, Above the Law posted a Hogan memo announcing that the current summer associates who get job offers in the Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia offices will come on board in the fall of 2011, not 2010. No word yet on Baltimore. (See above re: me not getting called back.) Hogan is not alone on this move, by the way.

It could be worse. This firm has canceled its on-campus recruiting for the fall and its 2010 summer associate program.

More layoffs at DLA Piper

Bloomberg News, citing Above The Law, reports that DLA Piper has fired 21 junior lawyers and 100 staff, citing “the worst economic period in generations.”

As we’ve reported in the last few months, the firm let 80 associates and 100 staffers go in February and reduced associate salaries in May. The firm mentioned those moves in a statement Wednesday confirming the latest firings, in which it concluded the light at the end of the tunnel was further than it had thought.

Bloomberg writes:

The firings were not performance-based, and those who lost their jobs will received [sic] severance benefits and outplacement counseling, the firm said in a statement today.

“It is increasingly clear that major improvements in the U.S. and global economy will not occur before 2010,” DLA Piper said in its statement. “While the firm’s financial position remains strong, a tightly-managed cost structure is essential to compete effectively during these uncertain times.”

Lend a Hand (or the Schooner Tuna solution)

I’ll admit, what made me click on the link in this blog post was the line:”This reminds me of the brilliant Scooner [sic] Tuna solution at the end of Mr. Mom.”

My love of Mr. Mom aside, I was intrigued when I was directed to LexisNexis’s “Lend a Hand” program Web site. Recently laid-off attorneys — from firms with 50 or more lawyers — can sign up for the program and receive free six-month profiles on Lawyers.com and martindale.com along with six months of free access to Martindale-Hubbell Connected and the Martindale-Hubbell Career Center.

That’s almost as good a deal as receiving fifty cents off your can of tuna.

Hat tip: Above the Law.