A Conversation with Current and Former In-House Counsel - What Works, What Irks

May 1 2018 | Committees

Written by Shannon S. Holtzman, Business Litigation Committee Chair

On April 26, 2018, the Business Litigation Committee presented an interactive panel discussion with current and former in-house counsel Renee Masinter (Entergy), Tom Hamrick (Huntington Ingalls Industries), Jade Brown-Russell (Caesars Entertainment 2010-2014), and David Reisman (Bisso Marine 2007-2017).  Panelists discussed and answered questions on topics such as selection of outside counsel, pet peeves, budgeting, billing, and best communication and reporting practices.  Some of the useful tips included:

  • Before bidding for work, investigate the matter and its importance to the client.
  • Have a basic understanding of your client’s business and corporate structure.
  • In-house counsel understands the challenges associated with formulating a litigation budget; consider identifying the assumptions underlying each part of your budget and use high and low ranges.
  • In-house counsel must be informed and kept up to date so that they can respond to their clients’ questions about litigation matters.  Make sure that you know how often your client wants to receive periodic reports and their preferred format.
  • Give your clients at least thirty (30) days’ notice in advance of a settlement conference or mediation.
  • Avoid surprises or, as Tom Hamrick put it: “Your failure to plan is not my emergency.”

The panel discussion was followed by a reception with wine, beer and appetizers sponsored by Liskow & Lewis.  The Committee thanks Renee Masinter, Tom Hamrick, Jade Brown-Russell, and David Reisman for sharing their time and valuable insights.  The Committee also thanks Liskow & Lewis for sponsoring and hosting the event.

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