Hourly rates were at the top of the agenda of the first meeting of core members of the Commerce & Industry (C&I) Group, the Law Society-recognised body of in-house lawyers, who met on 20 February to discuss best practice and firms' fee arrangements.
"There's a disconnect between value added and prices charged, and that disconnect needs to be bridged again," said Nils Breidenstein, BAE Systems general counsel for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and co-chair of the focus group. The meeting is just one of several initiatives that the C&I Group has put in place under a two-year plan that focuses on networking, careers management and best practice.
The group will also set up several focus groups to concentrate on topical issues, including corporate social responsibility.
One of these initiatives is the rolling out of a mentoring scheme aimed at supporting the needs of junior lawyers from smaller companies.
Under the programme 25 general counsel will be handpicked to provide guidance to junior lawyers from different companies.
The mentored lawyers are required to have less than five years' PQE and be working within a legal team with fewer than five lawyers.
The scheme will be rolled out in March following a six-month pilot programme, which ended this month.
Deepak Malhotra, C&I Group chairman and Western Europe general counsel at InBev, said: "This is about offering something to give these in-house lawyers a chance to be mentored by people who aren't in their company. The rollout of the mentoring programme is the cornerstone of our careers management guidelines."