Really interesting article [‘What Associates Should Know About In-House Rates and Efficiencies‘] by Gina F. Rubel was published overnight (7 April 2015) on The Legal Intelligencer website – discussing the two types of efficiencies that law firm associates should become familiar with – contains a gem of a quote from an in-house general counsel that I wanted to share/pass on.
First, to put some context around the quote below by Gino Benedetti, as Rubel states:
“There are two types of efficiencies with which lawyers need to be familiar. The first is general efficiency, which is the state or quality of being efficient and the actions designed to achieve optimal results. The second is economic efficiency, which requires optimal production and distribution of a firm’s resources.”
And while both are extremely important to in-house counsel, the following quote in the article by Gino Benedetti, General Counsel of SEPTA, should give some indication to private practice law firm associates which of the two bears more commercial importance to their in-house clients:
“Associates should understand that every case does not require a full-court press,” said Gino Benedetti, general counsel of SEPTA. “Associates add value when they think creatively by identifying the core issue in dispute and focus their case work on things that impact that issue. Often, associates work on an aspect of the case that does not have any meaningful impact on the ultimate outcome. So, associates should appreciate that their time may be less expensive, but that does not justify inefficiency. Associates should communicate often with the partner or the client directly so that the client’s objective is understood and the work is driven by that objective.”
If you haven’t already, I’d like to suggest you go over and read the entire article. It’s full of sage advice from several in-house GCs.
In the meantime, if you are a private practice law firm associate, the next time your supervising partner asks you to undertake a task on behalf of your client why not ask yourself which type of the two types of efficiency you are going to bring to the task…?