Bradley attorney Wendi Campbell Rogaliner was quoted in Healthcare Risk Management on best practices for risk managers who are involved in selecting outside counsel for hospitals and health systems. Decision makers must consider a multitude of factors when hiring outside counsel, including fees, availability, experience and whether it seems like a good fit culturally.
It is important to choose an experienced lawyer with demonstrated subject matter expertise, and a reputation and presence in his or her field, said Rogaliner. However, it also is important to dig a little deeper, and to interview potential candidates to make an informed choice, she says.
Additional factors to consider in the interview process include the ability of the attorney’s law firm to staff the matter appropriately. For example, a solo lawyer with undeniable expertise and an impeccable reputation might not be able to efficiently staff a large-scale project, she explained. Appropriate staffing drives efficiency and fees. Healthcare organizations do not want to pay partner-level rates for associate and/or paralegal work, she added.
Other topics for discussion in the interview should include the lawyer’s ability to create, communicate, and justify reasonable budgets and timelines, Rogaliner said.
Another important factor is the lawyer’s responsiveness, she said. How often does he or she communicate with clients, and what is their personal policy on response time for client phone calls and emails?
“The lawyer’s general demeanor and ability to be collaborative are important considerations, regardless of the task you’re hiring the lawyer to handle,” Rogaliner added. “An attorney can be a zealous advocate, firm and aggressive when necessary in support of your position, but at the end of the day, he or she should also be personable, responsive to your organization’s culture, and able to collaborate with you as an external member of your team, to ensure that your organization’s goals and priorities dictate the way a matter is handled.”
The complete article, “Choose Outside Counsel Carefully; Avoid Common Mistakes,” appeared in the March 2020 issue of Healthcare Risk Management. (login required.)