The Washington Post

Capital Business recently hosted a roundtable with several chief legal officers to discuss the challenges their departments are facing. Here are excerpts from that conversation:

(All photos by Jeffrey MacMillan)

“Five to 10 years ago, costs were out of control because they weren’t being managed. I don’t know if a lot of companies back then managed their legal fees like they do [now] ... If you know more, and you’re more efficient, you use outside counsel less. So we do a lot of shared services work, HR work and small contracting rather than use outside counsel.”

— Brian Miller, general counsel of AES Corp.

“We’re willing to take on more risk because we need to bring in business. You need to be aggressive and get that business or there isn’t a future. You can have a safe approach and no business. Or you can take on more risk.”

— Karen Litsinger, general counsel of Mirixa Corp., on a startup managing risk in an uncertain economy

— Michael Wu,

general counsel of Rosetta Stone

“It’s not just about getting a discount, it’s about a partnership ... A willingness to work with me on alternative fee arrangements, and transparency on fees.”

—James Williams, general counsel of Liquidity Services, on what he looks for in outside counsel

—Ona Dosunmu, general counsel of the Brookings Institution

—Manik Rath, general counsel of LMI Government Consulting

Catherine Ho covers lobbying at The Washington Post. She previously worked at the LA Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Wichita Eagle and the San Mateo County Times.



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