The results of this survey depict the inherent problems in the relationship between law firms and their in-house clients with great clarity.
On one hand, many law firms are concerned that rates are “sliding down” or “stagnant,” and it is taking a longer time before they get paid, according to John T. Lay, Jr., an attorney at Gallivan, White & Boyd, who presided over the survey as chair and is the group’s president-elect. In fact, firm respondents said delay in processing bills, unreasonable rate levels and staffing limitations are the biggest challenges in working with in-house counsel. On the other hand, general counsel are looking for quick evaluation and resolution of their cases – and want to keep costs as low as they can. Corporate respondents say their greatest challenge in working with outside counsel is unpredictability or improper management of costs and expenses.