Partner Matthew Whitley for Law360

3 Tips to Avoid Being on the Outs with In-House Counsel

  • December 13, 2016

A common misunderstanding among trial lawyers is that the life of in-house counsel is “easy.” Being married to an in-house lawyer, I can assure you it is not. Companies today are demanding more and more from their in-house lawyers. That is especially true for in-house litigators, who are often tasked with handling a nationwide docket of cases. “You have to be where next week?” is a standard question in our home (followed closely by “Whose turn is it to go to soccer practice?”).

Managing a large docket is not all that makes the job of an in-house litigator so complex. While outside counsel usually has the luxury of a clear objective (win the case!), in-house counsel often have to juggle competing goals. Winning is certainly important, but so too are keeping litigation costs under budget, managing publicity, minimizing distractions to the business units, and establishing policies that will reduce future litigation. To make matters more complicated, different people in the company will inevitably view these goals differently. An impugned business manager named throughout a complaint may wish to clear his name at all costs, while a CFO looking at a huge law firm bill may prefer that certain stones be left unturned. In-house counsel has the thankless job of trying to balance these competing interests.

Excerpted from Law360. To read the full article, click here.