Articles Posted in In-House Counsel Are Not Rooting Out the Waste in Law Firm Work


As former general counsel and legal innovator Jeff Carr tweeted the day after the above headline:

“OMG!… Wait, didn’t this story run in 1998, and 2001 and 2008 and 2014 and, well every year there’s a survey? Oh well, might be a slow news day.”


This is old news. Really old news. Though I guess it doesn’t hurt to run a survey for current, empirical confirmation.

According to a corporate general counsel group called “In the House” and, 73% of in-house counsel believe their legal department are spending too much on their outside counsel.

Chris Colvin, head of “In the House”, offered some context:

“He noted that the survey was sent to in-house counsel before the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus began. He said he expects the number of in-house counsel who think they are spending too much on outside counsel would increase if the survey were done today.”

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See update below about 3M lawsuit against a re-seller of its N-95 masks alleging “price-gouging” filed April 10, 2020.*


1. Conventional law firms design waste into their work — charging by the hour, over-staffing, assigning inexperienced attorneys alongside qualified ones, and avoiding substantial technology adoption.

2. In-house counsel — whose number and influence have grown in the past 40 years — have not used their companies’ purchasing power to fix this problem. So it persists.


On March 28, in the anchor’s set-up to a business news show’s interview with Mark Cuban, I wondered if I’d heard it wrong:

Was Mark Cuban really criticizing 3M Company for price-gouging and the like on 3M’s N-95 surgical masks (“so-called because they block 95% of very small particles”)?

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic?

No — not 3M directly.

Mark Cuban was alleging that 3M had failed to use its influence to stop distributors and other third parties from price-gouging and the like on 3M-made N-95 surgical masks.

His point: 3M could use its purchasing power with respect to these distributors and other third parties to bring a stop to this problem … if it wanted to do so.

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