way, and then store it so it can be retrieved later. Also look at automated options that make the
capture and future retrieval and manipulation of this information easier.
Tap into External Sources
If you are facing a new matter and your company has no relevant existing information to review,
tap other sources—like other inside counsel—to discuss their experiences and expectations. You
can benchmark value with other companies and ACC members, keeping in mind, of course,
applicable antitrust and confidentiality rules or regulations.
Obtain Law Firm Input
After you have gathered all of your existing sources of information about the scope of the matter,
you must determine whether you are going to assign the matter to a law firm without further
input on scope. This is a key decision. If you as the client already have the core information on
scope of work to be performed, then you may determine that you do not need to involve law
firm(s) in the scoping process. But if your efforts to scope the matter produce gaps in what needs
to be done, or if you are hiring a firm precisely because you have limited experience with this kind
of work (and they’ve done it many times over for many different clients), then you should consider
involving the firm(s) being considered to perform the work in the scoping process. Doing this may
also produce greater “buy in” and commitment to project plans and budgets if the firm(s)
ultimately assigned had a hand in crafting these plans.
From a client’s perspective, effective scoping and cost conversations with law firms often occur
when multiple firms are involved before the client choses a firm. In this context, these discussions
can validate basic assumptions and price points when multiple law firms independently gravitate
around a similar set of activity assumptions and/or budget figures. For an illustration of how this
pre-assignment scoping and cost projection is effectively done, see the resources below.
“General Electric Company: Successfully Using Alternative Fee Arrangements for
Complex Intellectual Property Litigation,” ACC Value Practice (Feb. 2010), available at
www.acc.com/legalresources/resource.cfm?show=776846 (Illustrates strategic use of
competitive bidding among known and trusted firms).
“How to Prepare a Litigation Plan and Budget,” ACC Value Practice (Nov. 2009), available
The scoping process asks “what needs to be done” and “what is the most effective way to perform
the work”—and thus, begins to outline a plan for effective execution. Critical to this process is
identifying tasks that are “marginal” and which may not add sufficient value to justify doing them
(i.e., must we take the deposition of every person with even miniscule knowledge of the