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by Alex Brown Director, Operations A2L Consulting How do you determine value?   This weekend, while my oldest child was in Boston at a gymnastics meet, we thought this would be the perfect time to “renovate” her room back home. My youngest daughter wanted to help but also wanted to negotiate her fee to do so. I came up with many reasons for her to find value in helping: the good of the family, experience, and enjoyment, but none of these provided the proper balance of cost and value to her. Finally I told her that she will be able to destroy something that belongs to her big sister, without any concern for retaliation. This brought her on board, and in the end she not only loved it but she also had the added benefit of being able to tell her sister how much fun it was to destroy her room and how destructive the work needed to be.   As litigators, you have a similar job of having to persuade your client about, say, the importance of using expert witnesses or the need to bring on a litigation support team. This is always a delicate conversation because there are so many factors in play; emotions, money constraints, and inexperience, to name a few. For years, the use of expert witnesses has been an easy sell for the most part. But the importance of litigation support (i.e. theming, visual presentations, trial technology/hot seat operators, and mock trial exercises) is not universally accepted, so it can be more of an uphill struggle to convince clients of the need for these things and even harder to persuade them of the value. But why? It’s clearly not the cost, since that normally runs anywhere between .5  percent and 5 percent of the legal fees in a big case. So the sticking point is the need for these services.

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  by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting I have recently interviewed dozens of in-house counsel from large companies. One subject that continues to come up fascinates me and reflects the changing practice of litigation-focused law. As my litigator turned litigation consultant colleague Ryan Flax says, "they call it the practice of law, but no one is practicing." That is, with so few trials occurring, the normal go-to litigators at big law firms are just not going to trial like they used to, and thus are not getting the practice that they used to get. Since that's true, where does one look for trial experience now, and will there be a shortage of experienced trial lawyers soon at large law firms? Let me offer some observations and five solutions.

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  by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting One month ago I wrote an article titled 9 Things Outside Litigation Counsel Say About In-house Counsel, and we recently included it in our free In-House Counsel Litigation Toolkit e-book. It is a popular piece read by several thousand people so far. Today's article looks at what is being said by in-house counsel about outside litigation counsel. I've spent a lot of time talking with in-house counsel from large companies over the past two months. They have a lot to say about outside litigation counsel that I don't normally see reported in the popular press.

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  by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting In recent years, I have seen in-house counsel become increasingly involved in litigation. Gone are the days when in-house would simply hire the top name litigator and hope for the best. Today, in-house counsel help determine trial strategy, they closely manage budget, they assist in choosing litigation support consultants, and they sometimes take a leadership role on the trial team. However, since trials are relatively rare and not many in-house counsel are trial lawyers themselves, how are in-house counsel supposed to effectively contribute in a litigation environment beyond simply managing the purse-strings? Enter this new and free book, The In-House Counsel Litigation Toolkit, a first of its kind for A2L Consulting. We have published more than a dozen wildly popular books over the last several years that have been collectively downloaded more than 100,000 times. However, this new 172-page book is the first A2L book designed for in-house counsel and their outside counsel. It contains 50 hand-curated articles focused on litigation and the role of modern in-house counsel.

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  by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting Earlier this week I published, 25 Things In-House Counsel Should Insist Outside Litigation Counsel Do. I realized something important while writing that article and while participating in follow-up discussions with readers and colleagues. It's an important realization as I think recognition of it might just lead to better litigation results and money savings for in-house counsel. Here it is. Because of the current state of the relationship between most in-house counsel and outside litigation counsel, outside counsel are not asking for budget for everything they believe would help win a case. This is leading to short term savings and longer term major expenses.

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  Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting The relationship between in-house counsel and outside litigation counsel has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. Technology and the Internet have been the driving forces for many of the changes.  Technology growth has forced outside litigation counsel into a quasi-technology consultant role in the way they deal with e-discovery and case management. Technology has made litigation more complex as the underlying subject matter of cases has become more complex. The availability of information via the Internet has made in-house counsel a more savvy shopper and a better informed manager. Technology has surely changed the way outside litigation counsel tries cases and has forced trial counsel to be trial-technology savvy. There are many more examples of how the fast flow of information is altering the balance of power between in-house and outside counsel, but you get the idea. Reflecting these changing times, the 25-point list below offers useful best-practices that in-house counsel should be demanding from outside litigation counsel.

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by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting A little more than a month ago, I surveyed our readership and asked, "how does in-house counsel hire outside litigation counsel?" Six possible answers were presented in random order. In-house chooses the lowest priced firm from a group of approved firms. In-house hires the best litigator based on prior experience. In-house hires the best litigator based on their reputation. In-house hires their litigator friends and former (or future) colleagues. In-house hires the litigator most likely to generate a win. Finally, a write-in field for other responses answers Having worked in the litigation industry for more than 20 years and seeing favoritism trump skill plenty of times, I expected some cynicism to show through in the answers provided. However, even with that expectation, I was still very surprised with the results.

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