Craig D. Mills, Shareholder in Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s Litigation Section, was quoted in an article in this month’s print edition of InsideCounsel that focuses on strategies that in-house counsel can use to reduce their legal spend.

“In-house counsel should insist that their outside counsel fill out early case assessment forms within the first couple of weeks with some kind of case strategy because if you set a goal early on, you can pursue it,” Mills says, a best practice that is also prominently featured in call-out box in the article. “The client I have that does the best with that has two forms we fill out at the beginning, and then we have to send them a monthly update. They pay us to fill these forms out because ultimately it saves them money. If the expenses on a case start going through the roof, they notice it right away because of the monthly updates, and they can put the brakes on and re-evaluate the case.”

In addition, Mills explains that conducting performance reviews might lead some in-house counsel to reduce the number of firms with which they work and even to working with smaller firms in less expensive regions than New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

“If you concentrate all of your work with half a dozen firms instead of 60 firms, then outside counsel are going to know you that much better because they’re going to be working with you that much more frequently,” says Mills. “There’s trust. They know your business. There’s a deeper commitment. The relationship means more to both sides.”

Mills continues, “The law firms you have deep relationships with will be a lot more willing to suggest some of the more creative risk-sharing arrangements. Whenever you’re able to put more work with a single firm, you’re going to leverage the volume for greater discounts.”

Mills also addresses the issue of in-house counsel continuing to give the most high-profile and high-risk cases to bigger, more expensive firms.

“That’s partly because of the impression that if they’re the most expensive, they must be the most competent, and to some degree, it is a self-preservation step by in-house counsel,” Mills explains.

Read the full article – “Strategies for Leaner Legal Departments: Part 2” (InsideCounsel, March 26, 2013)