Numerous reports suggest the in-house lawyer is “rising,” with companies opting to retain more and more legal work within their law departments, and decreasing the amount of work they disseminate to outside counsel. In fact, it has been suggested that in-house lawyers are morphing into the role traditionally held by outside lawyers, and are assuming all such components of the role, which, when possible, can include recovering attorney fees for actual legal work performed.
Recovering attorney fees is that extra win for the victorious litigant, whether provided by statute or governed by contract. It leaves the client’s bank account intact (at least partially) and gives the prevailing attorney additional gloating rights. For the in-house lawyer, recovering attorney fees can also occasionally turn the legal department from a cost center to a quasi-profit center.
Hear a fascinating discussion on when in-house lawyers can and should collect attorney fees, and when they are not available, such as when the in-house counsel is functioning in the traditional role of overseeing outside counsel’s work.
As the legal profession changes and corporate legal departments retain more of their work, understand why in-house should take advantage of statutory or contractual attorney fees provisions, notably for the litigation they handle internally. In so doing, the in-house lawyer may find a number of benefits, such as approval to commence litigation that they may have otherwise shied away from because of the possibility to recoup attorney fees and the benefit of essentially obtaining payment for the legal work performed.
Daniel Wiig, Esq. and Matthew Maron, Esq.