Deciding whether a start up should retain an interim GC/lawyer or outsource to a traditional law firm to help with legal or strategic issues is interesting. But weighing up whether to use in-house lawyers, whether on a perm or temp basis or to outsource to a traditional or now a NewLaw firm is a dilemma that even large organisations and in-house teams face.
What any entity should consider, is what skills are required, at what level and, of course, pricing. It is then a question of getting the optimum outcome and in some cases mix of in-house / outsourced / interim lawyers for the business. It is where mistakes can easily be made, often in the recruitment of too junior people for budget reasons. That's where the use of data analytics is a really interesting development as a tool to deploy to help in deciding which route to take. It may be worth playing around with budgets and consider retaining a lawyer on a part time basis rather than a junior lawyer on a full time basis.
Whichever route the C-Suite or In-house team takes, good management of any legal resource, especially external legal resource, is essential, particularly regarding pricing and knowledge transfer. With pricing, it is not easy to contain the external spend although notably Rosemary Martin got Slaughter and May to agree to a truly fixed price deal on Vodafone's sale of its stake in Verizon. She has been quoted as saying it was a very high fixed price but it gave Vodafone certainty. It is important to note, there are many options available and C-Suites and In-house teams have considerable negotiating power to ensure they obtain the solution that works best for their business.
“You have to be very competent and have good judgment and ability to prioritise. You deal with multiple stakeholders. Issues come very quickly and are often multi-jurisdictional, depending on the type of business. There is no time to train and supervise and review – the lawyer must be able to hit the ground [running].”