Vendor Management - Terms of Engagement
Standard practice is for corporate clients not to sign a law firm’s engagement letter. Managing up to hundreds of different terms of engagement is difficult irrespective of your role, but a burden more appropriately born by the service provider rather than by the client.
Beyond this standard practices vary. Some companies:
- Do not ask their service providers to sign an engagement letter. The Legal Billing Policy is the primary agreement. In this case the company engagement letter is a fallback position. If the firm insists it must have an engagement letter then the parties can sign the company client’s standard form.
- Provide an engagement letter at the outset of the initial engagement or on each engagement but do not ask the firm to counter-sign. In this instance you may wish to add a sentence along the lines of commencement of work or submission of the first invoice indicates acceptance of the company’s engagement letter.
- Require the legal service provider to sign and return the engagement letter.
From a practical perspective, I can testify from experience all 3 approaches work. Irrespective of the approach adopted an annual mailing with reminders with respect to recurring issues and highlighting any updates is advised.
The sample engagement letter in #opsinaboxlegal covers general instruction, prioritization, conflicts of interest, business ethics, diversity, document handling and marketing.