Picking The Right Law Firm

April 6, 2014
Entrance Gate of Sejong University, Seoul, Korea

Entrance Gate of Sejong University, Seoul, Korea

From a legal risk management perspective, it is important to use  the correct law firm .  Whether the company is large or small and whether it has an in-house Law Department or not, picking the right outside law firm is essential.This is especially true if the company does not have in-house lawyers and opts to pick an outside general counsel. There are many law firms to pick from. But only a few really can add value and really benefit the company. The company or organization needs to ask various questions when looking for law firms that can add value.

  • Does the law firm understand my business or is it willing to try and understand my business?
  • Is the law firm willing to operate like a “building contractor” and let me know if other specialized law firms (subcontractors) are needed?
  • Is the law firm willing to make a commitment to my company by becoming a “partner”?
  • If I am picking an outside general counsel, does the firm have general, broad capabilities to handle my issues, and if so is the firm willing to “audit” the legal processes of my operations?
  • Can the company or its in-house lawyers work comfortably with the outside law firms? Will they help me for the long term?
  • Is the law firm willing to work with the company managers on a regular basis?
  • Will the law firm, operating as an outside general counsel, be willing to interview and select other outside law firms on select matters, if needed?
  • Will the law firm be willing to become a go-to law firm by offering reasonably priced solutions to my legal problems, such as using a blended rate or success fee, or do the partners think they can all charge $1,000 per hour?
  • Am I comfortable with the law firm or do I think the law firm is talking down to me? 
  • What is the law firm's value add?

In other words, is the law firm willing to become your partner? Will it invest significant resources in becoming your go-to law firm? Will it add value? The most important aspect of a law firm is its value add proposition.  Will it in fact add value to the company or not?  Will it protect the company's brand? Will it become a willing and effective partner?

Most law firms have an inflated value of worth.  They all think they are special and deserving of work.  However, a company or organization needs to ask the serious questions listed above.  At the end, if the firm does not add value, don't use it.


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