Ensuring that you receive the greatest value for what you spend on legal service requires that you maximize your control of the effort. Project management represents a powerful tool that you can deploy in that effort. Both in-house and outside counsel can apply it and it holds great promise in efforts to rein in costs.
Disputes and litigation, on the other hand, decrease a party’s control over its legal exertions. Not only does a dispute or litigation involve (by definition) at least one other party whose ultimate interests are diametrically opposed to those of the first party, but other factors contribute to the reduction of control. Uncovering information and evidence relevant to the matter, whether for purposes of establishing one’s own argument or in order to respond to the other party’s demands, often is an open-ended effort. In litigation, the presiding judge holds ultimate control of the pace and direction of the case.
To maximize your control over your fate – and the cost of legal service in that regard – you should put more effort into avoiding disputes and litigation. While maxim may seem self-evident to in-house attorneys, its implications merits increased attention, for the costs of not doing so can be hard to ignore. Resources devoted to preventing disputes and litigation (many if not all such efforts would come within the scope of what is called “compliance”) yield much more value than efforts devoted to defending the company’s position in a dispute.