With the growth of the corporate culture, in-house lawyers became a common phenomenon. The in-house lawyer working on a fixed salary is supposed to take care of the daily legal issues arising out of the business of the company. When it came to litigation, as there is no other option, the in-house lawyer works as a liaison with the Court lawyer or Advocate. This has been the common practice till the Corporates had a different idea. Why not retain a law firm to provide them the same service which can be done by an in-house lawyer? In any way, the litigation has to be outsourced to a law firm or a practicing Advocate. From the same concept, came the idea of secondment where companies hire the service of a law firm which allows one of their lawyers to sit in the company full time while still in the rolls of the law firm. Within the scope of this arrangement of secondment practice, the law firm has the flexibility to send their lawyers on rotational basis. This allows the company to constantly remain in touch with a law firm for its daily run in with the law.
The companies who do not follow this practice of secondment, also adopt the practice of retaining law firms to perform the role of an in-house lawyer.
Both these has their own advantages as far as the company is concerned.
First of all, the expenditure of the company in retaining a law firm is much less compared to spending money for an in-house counsel. Apart from the expenses, the company saves on man power as well as labour and Hr related issues.
The other advantage is by hiring a law firm, the company gets the best possible legal advice as the law firm by being bound by the relationship will not afford to take the risk of losing a client by providing rank juniors. Without doubt, hiring a similarly experienced lawyer would entail huge expenses and dependence. Also the in house lawyer shall have his own limitations with respect to the various industries where he has worked in before while a law firm has a variety of experts experienced in specific areas of their work.
Even while having an in-house lawyer, companies do revert to law firms for high stake opinions and agreement draftings.
As, already stated, litigation will always remain the forte of advocates and law firms and companies have no option but to outsource the same.