Managing litigation is something some in-house counsel do nearly every day, but for the more transactional-focused in-housers it can seem akin to learning a foreign language. For some companies, litigation is part of business and there are established processes from intake, to litigating and possible settlement or ADR alternatives. Other companies rarely encounter litigation and, when they do, they can upend the daily flow of the business and its law department in general. Fortunately those who have experience with managing litigation are happy to share their thoughts. And, on a side note, don’t think litigators can’t thrive in-house, especially if they have experience in speciality areas.
“A few weeks ago I received a note from the general counsel of a small legal department at a relatively new company that was involved in its first material piece of litigation. Yuck. She was a bit lost on how to manage it all and asked if I had any pointers. I did. As someone whose career started as a litigator and who came to the general counsel role through the litigation side (rare), I managed a lot of litigation and I understand how risky, painful and frustrating litigation can be for in-house lawyers. Additionally, if you are not someone who spends a lot of time with litigation, it can be a bear to manage and keep from becoming a runaway time-suck and money pit. I have written about what to do when you first receive a lawsuit, how to explain litigation to the business, and in-house counsel’s role during trial, but I have overlooked a truly important task, i.e., how to manage litigation.”