June 23, 2006
Sensitive Trial Moment No. 6: "Subsequent Remedial" Advice.
Here's a simple way to get a litigation client to stay on with your firm for non-litigation work. Trial lawyers are constantly making mental notes about how lawsuits either arise or are made complicated and expensive by imperfect if legal conditions which need corrective action at the client's shop. These defects usually lurk in day-to-day business practices. It could be a confusing employee handbook, a potentially faulty environmental storage practice, or ambiguous language in a standard contract or purchase order terms. Early on in the engagement, and after you have considered the subsequent repair rule, inform the general counsel about the problem or imperfection (which is usually dead-on obvious to everyone) and tell her that other departments in your firm would be glad to help fix it. If the client doesn't need or want your help to fix the problem, that's fine. The point is that you are looking out for your client in the long-term--in the non-litigation areas of its business--and that your firm cares enough to say something and offer to help.
Posted by JD Hull at June 23, 2006 08:34 AM