Phyllis weiss haserot
Phyllis weiss haserot

President & Founder

212 593-1549

Collaborative Culture

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As the delivery of legal service to corporate clients undergoes major change and is subjected to considerable pressure to cut (or at least control) costs, the need to create a cooperative working relationship between inside and outside counsel – the ultimate partnership – becomes ever more critical. The rules – written and unwritten – must be created for each specific relationship. With our process and many years of experience in both the in-house and law firm realms, we can help you create the ultimate “collaborative culture.”

Law departments and law firms both seek broad, mutually reliant relationships (“partnering”). How do you achieve that?

Two Cultures, One Ultimate Goal

Corporate legal departments and law firms have different economic orientations. The former are directly responsible to their clients for cost-efficient delivery of legal service. Law firms must be financially secure to serve their clients. Their common goal is good results for the client. Lack of adequate communication on business issues such as strategy and billing are bound to cause friction. In many instances, insufficient attention by outside lawyers to costs, staffing and scope, and pressure by clients to reduce legal budgets has led to a misalignment of interests between clients and firms.

Forging the Common Ground

With heightened pressure for cost containment, clients want:

In line with their professional and financial responsibilities, law firms want:

These disparate objectives can be reconciled by working to:

Ultimately, doing so will create a client/counsel culture of confidence, communication, consensus, cooperation, good value for efforts, recognition and great results.

It's not just about money.
It's about results.

Client/Counsel Partnership

No cookbook explains how to create an effective and satisfying working partnership. It depends on the individuals, their organizations, the type of matters to be handled, and the business client's and law firm's respective expectations. The specifics can and will vary, but the process for arriving at them applies across the board. We can help guide client and counsel to identify that optimal collaboration. Either the legal department or the law firm can initiate the process to define the relationship, but both parties together must shape the specifics.

Process Components

The process has five components:

  1. Identify issues with both parties
  2. Prepare for the meeting – all materials, surveys, analysis
  3. Run the meeting discussions:
    • What is and is not working
    • Facilitate discussion and mediation of issues
    • Approaches to improve the working partnership
    • Develop recommendations
  4. Prepare post-meeting summary and carry out follow on assignments
  5. Periodic review and update; and
    (Optional) Train the client to run periodic follow on meetings

Consultant's Role

In-house and outside attorneys are busy with the legal work. In addition, each may not be sensitive to the other's perspectives on many issues. Relationship issues may not receive due attention as a result. As a neutral party familiar with the environment and the issues, we will help you establish the process and then facilitate the relationship-building meeting between client and outside counsel. This is a combination analysis, best practices and implementation meeting.

Our Added Value

We save you time, effort, and the need to re-invent this wheel.

Getting Started

The Collaborative Culture program is facilitated by Phyllis Weiss Haserot and former in-house counsel. Call 212-593-1549 or e-mail Phyllis at for a confidential exploratory discussion on how to make this work for your firm.