The Value-Able Law Department

Extract and demonstrate maximum value from Internal and External Counsel Services

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The current pressures on law departments, which are likely to intensify, rather than abate, are such that the law departments must explore new avenues to maximise the value that their companies realise from their investment in legal services.  

Managing Partner’s report, The Value-Able Law Department begins by identifying the key challenges that legal departments currently face and the impact this has on the expectations of law firm clients.

It then looks to provide innovative, realistic and simple solutions that can be cost-effectively applied in a post-recessionary environment. The report considers numerous issues including:

  • Defining and measuring the value of your legal department and external legal services;
  • Effective planning to identify and apply the appropriate internal and external resources;
  • The role and importance of metrics in demonstrating value;
  • Overcoming the "make-or-buy" dilemma - the choice of hiring lawyers or relying on outside legal service providers;
  • Increasing the  in-house role – taking on some of the services formerly provided by external counsels;
  • The importance of knowledge management, and the use of technology to provide quicker and more cost effective legal services;
  • Maximizing value through department organization and structure;
  • Controlling costs and compliance of an organizations of legal service;
  • Re-evaluating value of outside counsel through expertise, resources and capabilities;
  • Reducing costs and improving the product and service from external counsel; and
  • An in-depth look at Alternative fee arrangements.

This report features expert contributions, case studies, and insight into how legal departments and law firms are addressing these key challenges to increase the value they bring to their clients. 

These include: Wal-Mart, Hanna and Morton LLP, Sands, Anderson, Marks & Miller, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, Aronberg Goldgehn, The Prudential Insurance Company of America, KONE, Inc, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, United Technologies Corporation, Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, Raytheon Company, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, LiveNation, American Express, Motorola, FMC Technologies, Stock Equipment Company, and many more…


Chapter 1: Value - Some thoughts regarding a definition

Chapter 2: The measure of value

Chapter 3: Planning to identify and apply the appropriate resources

Chapter 4: Identifying the highest value of in-house counsel

Chapter 5: The role and importance of metrics

Chapter 6: The ‘make-or-buy’ dilemma

Chapter 7: Areas to consider for possible increased in-house role

Chapter 8: The knowledge management challenge

Chapter 9: Using technology to realise greater value

Chapter 10: Law department organisation and structure

Chapter 11: Cost control – Some possible approaches

Chapter 12: The value of outside counsel

Chapter 13: An overview of the identification and selection of outside counsel

Chapter 14: Unbundling the outside legal service to realise increased value

Chapter 15: The importance of consistent process

Chapter 16: Don’t select either the firm or the lawyer – Select ‘appropriate counsel’.

Chapter 17: Setting yourself up to succeed

Chapter 18: Prepare to defend your selection

Chapter 19: Managing outside legal resources to maximise their contribution to achieving business goals

Chapter 20: Fees and value

Chapter 21: Law firm structure and its impact on value

Chapter 22: Reporting by outside counsel

Chapter 23: Tracking your success and reporting about it

Check our Executive Summary and full table of contents here


Steven A Lauer
As principal of Lauer & Associates, Steven A. Lauer consults with law departments and law firms on the value of legal service. He assists them to better align and recalibrate the cost and value of legal service delivered to corporations and other business entities. Steve served as corporate counsel for Global Compliance Services in Charlotte, North Carolina, specializing in data protection and privacy for that hotline and compliance services company. Before that, he served for over two years as director of Integrity Research for Integrity Interactive Corporation, in which capacity he conducted research, wrote white papers and otherwise worked with clients and potential clients of the company on issues related to corporate ethics and compliance programs. Those two positions culminated Steve’s almost ten years in the compliance industry. Previously, he consulted with corporate law departments and law firms on issues relative to how in-house and outside counsel work together after spending over 13 years as an in-house attorney in the real estate industry, in law departments ranging in size from two attorneys to over 300 attorneys and as the sole in-house attorney for an organization, serving as its general counsel for over a year. He also spent over two years as executive vice president, deputy editor and deputy publisher of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, a monthly journal for in-house attorneys. For six years prior to becoming an in-house attorney, he was in private practice. From April 1989 until May 1997, Steve was an assistant general counsel for The Prudential Insurance Company of America. During that time, he held increasing responsibility for the management of legal affairs for the company’s commercial real estate investment units, especially in respect of environmental issues and litigation and disputes to which Prudential was a party. From March 1996 until May 1997, he was project director for the Prudential Law Department’s Outside Counsel Utilization Task Force. In that capacity, he designed and managed the preparation and distribution of 109 distinct work packages (or RFPs) by which Prudential restructured its purchase of legal services and the evaluation of hundreds of proposals submitted by over 130 firms to handle those packages of work. He organized a series of orientation meetings with the 22 law firms that won the most work under those RFPs and helped to organize and implement the Prudential Law Department’s Best Practices Conference in February 1997. Steve was the in-house environmental attorney in the Prudential Law Department’s Real Estate Section for almost seven years. As such, he managed all environmental litigation for the company’s commercial real estate investment units. He also organized a team of environmental litigation counsel (with which he met annually) to handle that litigation for those clients and he developed other litigation-management tools, including a litigation-policies-and-procedures manual. For several years, he was responsible for management of all litigation for those real estate units. He represented Prudential in several industry groups such as the National Realty Committee (now the Real Estate Roundtable), the ASTM committee that developed an industry standard protocol for environmental assessments, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the American Council of Life Insurance. Steve was a member of the task force that developed the Uniform Task-Based Management System codes for task-based billing for the legal profession. He has authored numerous articles on the relations between in-house and outside attorneys, the selection of counsel by corporate clients, the evaluation of legal service, litigation management and other topics relevant to corporate compliance programs and corporate legal service. He has authored Conditional, Contingent and other Alternative Fee Arrangements (Monitor Press Ltd., Sudbury, Suffolk, UK, 1999), Managing your Relationship with External Counsel (Ark Group, London, UK, 2009) and The Value-Able Law Department (Ark Group, London, UK, 2010). He has spoken at numerous conferences in respect of those subjects and organized conferences and seminars (including online seminars) as well. He is a faculty member of the Law Partnering Institute, a member of LawPartnering Advocates, a Participating Principal in the Managing Litigation as a Business and Managing Litigation Reference Model initiatives, vice chair of the Corporate Counsel Committee and vice chair of the Corporate Compliance Committee, both of the American Bar Association Section of Business Law and a Fellow of the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance. He co-founded and co-chairs the Open Legal Standards Initiative. He received a B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. Steve can be reached by e-mail, by phone in the United States at (973) 207-3741 (cell), or at his website.

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