Reviews of ‘Managing External Legal Resources’ by readers either posted on Amazon or sent direct:
- Professor Stephen Mayson , Professor of Strategy, Director The Legal Services Institute
Essential reading both for those who run in-house legal services, and for those who aspire to provide services to them
5 Stars – ‘A ‘must read’ for both sides of the GC/external relationship- Richard Burcher, Legal Pricing Consultant
This book represents a judicious blend of that hard-to-achieve balance between theory and practicality. It can be dipped into out of sequence, on an as-needs basis and as such it is an exceptionally accessible resource, either to browse or for guidance with a specific issue. The authors certainly known their stuff and the whole book affirms that at every turn. As noted by another reviewer, many law firm partners with responsibility for managing commercial client relationships would benefit greatly from reading it.
Unfortunately, the GC/external law firm relationship isn't always great. I recently wrote in a blog; We are long overdue for lawyers and clients to work together more collaboratively in order to take the relationship to a more grown-up place and away from the current paradigm which is at times redolent of a couple of pre-schoolers sitting in a day-care sandpit flicking errant dog poop at one another with their plastic spades.
One of the things I really liked about the book was its even handed, non-combative tenor which is the kind of measured and considered contribution that helps to pave the way for an improvement in the internal/external relationship, for the ultimate benefit of both.
An extremely valuable resource for GCs and internal legal, irrespective of your current level of experience.
5 Stars – ‘Highly Recommended but not just for the inhouse lawyer- C Gasparini
What every manager needs is a quick reference bible to which they can refer when the need arises. On a day to day basis there is not enough time to research the theory. What is needed is straight forward, succinct, highly readable, user friendlyadvice and guidance based on sound academic theory and hands on experience. Managing External Legal Resources provides exactly that. What is more, although intended for the in house lawyer, the principles can equally be applied to private practice so if you are a partner or manager in private practice don't be put off by the title. This is for you too.
- Young sol 83
5 Stars – ‘Excellent resource for in house managers!
This book is an indispensible guide for any lawyer that instructs and manages external legal resources. As a local authority solicitor entering my first management role, this book has really helped in providing a basis for running an in-house legal team. It is full of helpful and practical guidance, it is very accessible and clearly presented with supporting case studies and exercises. dealing with external resources. It is clearly written by people who have been in my shoes!
I would not hesitate to recommend this book to others!
- S Churcher
5 Stars – ‘Thoroughly Recommended!
I go back to this book time and time again and have shared it with many colleagues along the way.
This book provides practical tools that can be used every day in an In-House legal department. It has helped us develop interesting and engaging ways of providing
information to senior management.
A great addition to my desk!
- G. Birch , In-house lawyer
5 Stars – ‘In house lawyer Essential Reading’
This book is an essential guide for any lawyer that instructs and manages external legal resources. It is packed full of useful and practical tools, it is very accessible and clearly
presented with supporting case studies and exercises. By following the advice in this book you could save valuable time and money when dealing with external resources.
I would certainly recommend that every in-house lawyer has a copy of this book on their desk !
- S. Goulbourne , Ex senior in-house lawyer now private practice
The wide experience of both the authors within this specialist field is evident from their perceptive, practical and detailed analysis of the area.
The book is divided into an easy to read logical sequence that allows progression from the text to the useful precedent documents.
The well thought out precedents will enable all readers to benefit.
- Jill Greenfield , Ex in-house lawyer and now Practice Manager at Clear Law
5 stars – ‘An excellent buy’
This is an excellent book that I would highly recommend to anyone involved in managing external resources. The guide is hugely practical I
especially liked working through the recommended exercises which helped to bring relevance to my own business methods.
The advice is sound and easy to apply and the content succinct and informative. Reading this book gave me the incentive to review my current providers and a new found
confidence to seek alternative ones.
This book made me feel empowered to manage.
- Mrs. V. J. Robertson , In-house lawyer at Yorkshire TV
5 stars – ‘Really useful practical book’
This is a well-written guide. It has given me lots of ideas about the important issues for in-house solicitors and also how to practically manage
both internal teams and external resources. It also gives good tips about how to 'manage' internal clients. The exercises are good to work through too.Lots of
information and good tips - fully recommended.
- P. Rainford-Miller , Change Manager and Centre of Excellence BNFL
5 stars - ‘A goldmine of useful of information’
This is an excellent guide for anyone involved in setting up agreements with and managing external resources.
Although aimed at the legal profession, it contains some excellent practical guidance for small or large companies working with any external consultants who provide
specialist services - the `legal' context could easily be substituted for `design' and the guidance would still be wholly applicable. The authors, each demonstrably
expert in their own fields, focus their advice on forming good working relationships from start to finish.
This excellent value for money book is packed with concise, no-nonsense advice based on sound business principles and good practice - buy it!
- P Miles , Consultant
5 stars – ‘Vital Reading’
This is one of those books where you think 'how did we manage without it'? For those involved in managing external legal resources, it is
clearly a must-read. It is full of practical advice and materials, including questionnaires and evaluation forms.
- James O’Connell , Institute of Paralegals
5 stars – ‘very useful book’
Knowing which lawyers to hire and then how best to control them can save you thousands of pounds and a lot of stress.
Knowing how best to use external lawyers when you already have an internal team is also an art form.
This book offers useful advice from someone who's been there, done that. A really useful book.
I must own up to knowing and occasionally working with one of the authors, but my rating of the book wouldn't differ anyway. It's an excellent book on a difficult
subject whether one knows one of the authors or not!
- Ian White , Marketing Manager at Blandy and Blandy
4 Stars – ‘A book for in-house and private practice lawyers’
At last here is a book that gives an insiders view of in house legal services.
Practical and informative for those who are running an in house legal function and in need of guidance and a chance to better understand your clients if you are in
private practice. After all, if you don't understand those you wish to work with how can you hope to compete in today's fast moving marketplace?
Written by people who have walked the walk this really is an indispensable guide for both in house and private practice lawyers.
- 何伟/Wayne Ho 中国安徽合肥 Hefei, Anhui People's Republic of China
Here is a full review by 何伟/Wayne Ho 中国安徽合肥 Hefei, Anhui People's Republic of China
1. Well Communication with Our Internal Client
First of all, I definitely agree that the most important is “Seek first to understand, then be understood.” as cited. Clearly understand what the real situation is and what our internal client needs is the basis for in-house counsel to provide correct, appropriate, feasible professional service.
Nowadays, email is more and more used in our day work as a communication measure. Sometimes, our internal client only sends a short email to the counsel asking for advice, which doesn’t express the background information, subject matters and problems clearly. Such situation may happened due to different reasons, (1) client didn’t understand the background clearly; (2) lack of capacity in information expression; (3) misuse terminologies, and etc.
To full understand the matters you may provide advice on, counsel need further clarify dimness and unsure points by the way of not only email but also other ways, such as phone, formal or informal conference.
After getting the whole story, counsel should also provide legal advice in plain language to ensure that the client can fully understand what you suggested.
2. Clear Roles & Responsibilities (R&R) of Each In-house Counsel
Clear R&R is also very important for the communication with clients. In my practice, I always set out clear R&R among all in-house counsels. This is applicable when the organization has more than one counsel. Such R&R of every counsel should be delivered to every of our clients to make them understand which counsel is responsible for providing legal advice for their function or department.
It seems that R&R is only relevant to the governance of legal department. The fact is that R&R will improve the communication efficiency and effectiveness in following aspects:
(1) As mentioned above, clear R&R makes it more easier for client to find out who is the right person to seek legal advice;
(2) Long time involvement in specified function’s business can make the counsel deeply understand its business, culture, personnel and even potential problems;
(3) Meanwhile, it can have our counsel more professional in one or two fields, such as HR, Finance, contract and etc;
Note: I suggest that one counsel should only focus on one or two fields. Thus, they have enough time and energy to study legal issues thereof. However, for middle and small-sized enterprises this may be different because they do not have many counsels.
3. The Importance of Plain Language
Good communication skills are very vital for effective communication. Here, I want to emphasis plain language. In every legal system, there exists its own legal terminology. Our counsel should keep in mind that client is not specialist in law and they can’t understand the legal terminology we know. Therefore, to make your point understandable, counsel should use plain language which has equal meaning to explain what you want to deliver to your client.
4. One Team One Advice
It usually happens that different counsel gives different advices on the some issue. It is reasonable because different counsel may have different understanding on the some matters and applicable laws and regulations. However, from client’s perspective, this may impair the reputation and professional of legal team.
To avoid such bad result, firstly, we should have one counsel to provide advice on one matter and have them responsible for that. R&R above mentioned may help on this. Secondly, for important legal issue, the legal team should have its own internal group discussion mechanism. After discussion, the team should reach consensus on related legal matters. This can ensure that one team has one advice to largest extent.
5. Make Your Client Know You More
As between friends, the more you know each other, the easier to communicate. This is also applicable to the relationship between in-house counsel and internal clients. Therefore, it is very important to let your client to know who you are and what you can do for them.
In most of Chinese companies, the legal team is usually deemed to provide contract templates, review contracts only. This is not true. We do more than that. Thus, we should use every method we can to let them know of our existence and R&R. Training, newsletters, awareness week are feasible ways. Once they know more about the legal team, it will be easier to communicate with them.
Of course, all your idea listed in the attached files are useful to out daily work. Thanks!