Juno Legal

In-house Legal Sharing: Formal expectations

Hayley Cassidy, Chief General Counsel at BNZ shares a useful document for communicating expectations with law firms.

At last year’s In-House Legal Summit, Hayley Cassidy, then General Counsel at Nikko Asset Management and now Chief General Counsel at BNZ, shared the document she provides to her external legal services providers to make her expectations of them clear. We think this is useful and worth sharing. We welcome other teams to share useful guidelines and documents with us so we can share them across the wider profession. We are also profiling Hayley in our July Juno Counsel to find out how she is enjoying her new role.

Formal Expectations

Given this is the first larger piece of work for which we have appointed your firm, we will be formally measuring performance against the following metrics: 

  • compliance with agreed deadlines

  • compliance with cap, including an assessment of value provided within that cap

  • training and education provided to general counsel as relevant throughout the process

  • demonstrable commitment to appropriate staffing levels and fair workloads for staff

  • advice is easy to understand, pitched towards management

  • invoices are easy to follow and clearly set out the work undertaken and the rate charged to that work

  • juniors attending meetings are welcome but their attendance is not charged unless discussed prior

  • out of scope work is indicated early, estimated and agreed before commencing, is reasonable and obviously out of scope

  • an interest in the overall business objectives is shown

  • communication is consistent and regular, preferrably in person, otherwise via email

  • attendance at meetings whether external or internal show a commitment to being part of the [our business] team, rather than "external"

  • make efforts to understand, and appears to respect the values and culture of [our business], particularly when dealing with overseas teams

  • flexibility and innovation of approach, an ability to see beyond the strict legal requirements and provide alternative options taking into account and advising on market practice and the risks associated with the proposed course of action ("commercial" approach)

My aim for this relationship is to come away with an increased level of trust and confidence in [your firm].