Departments” ACC Leading Practices Profile (Mar. 2009), available at
■ Conduct early case assessment to lay–out a strategic road map. Many legal
departments use a formal “Early Case Assessment” process to front-load fact
investigation and strategic assessment with respect to a new matter. The commonly-cited benefits include: better lawyering as the matter progresses when the desired
end-point is more clearly in focus; stronger interactions with the client when the
options are assessed more concretely; and better management of outside counsel
resources when the matter and budget assumptions are laid out in more detail.
■ Adopt better approaches to budgeting, forecasting, and invoice review.
Regardless of who is responsible for budgeting, forecasting, and invoice review—
in-house lawyers or other managers—there are tried and true approaches that legal
departments have used to make these processes more effective. These include use of
templates, data analysis to determine what the client is purchasing and what it
should cost, and proper assessment of compliance with client–billing guidelines.
The following resources provide additional insight on these approaches, with
practice examples from actual law departments.
“How To Adopt a More Effective Invoice Review Process,” ACC Value Practice (Oct. 2009),
“Value Practice: CIGNA - Nailing the Basics,” ACC Value Practice (July 2009), available at
D. Step Four: Educating Outside Counsel and Inside Counsel
Having great policies or procedures that exist only on paper is of limited use. Recognizing this,
leading legal departments have worked to educate counsel (inside and outside) on how to operate
more effectively to help achieve the legal department’s goals. These educational efforts can take
the form of a “kick off” meeting to elaborate on a big new initiative (like an outside counsel
management program), or they may occur periodically as part of an annual review. Beyond
conveying information, these efforts are often cited as a way to emphasize management’s
commitment to improvement and as a way to strengthen relationships between inside and outside
counsel. The following resources provide some additional guidance on educating outside and