Outside Counsel Guidelines (OCGS) are commonly used these days, but comprehensive and clear guidelines are hardly universal. In this piece from Corporate Counsel Business Journal, Brenda Hansen, a senior consultant with Epiq who has drafted many OCGs, offers useful advice for developing effective guidelines.

This includes many specific recommendations such as Be Clear & Simple; Be Mindful of Differences (Practice Areas, Global); and Enforce and Provide Feedback. There are also broader recommendations such as using OGCs and an instruction manual, not an engagement agreement, which are very different documents. “The engagement letter outlines the terms associated with representing the Company (i.e. conflict process, liability, IT security requirements and pricing); and the guidelines explain what is expected in the operational aspects of the relationship – invoicing, staffing of matters, what constitutes billable work and cost management methods (i.e. accruals, budgets),” Hansen says. Finally, she talks about setting the tone for the relationship. “The overarching approach to OCGs should reflect your company and legal departments’ goals and culture,” writes Hansen. “They are a tool to enhance the relationship and are not meant to be adversarial. Rather, the OCGs should create an opportunity for discussion and partnership with your firms.” Read more at CCBJ.