Us partner hits out at demands to connect up

A LEADING US law firm has hit out at in-house counsel who are demanding law firms connect up to their computer systems.

Sullivan & Cromwell partner Michael Lacadara told a seminar on in-house counsel that the firm was faced with many clients all computerising at the same time.

"We have had clients ring us to say, 'We are bringing in a new email system. If you don't link with it by a certain time, we'll find a new law firm.'"

Lacadara said that security was a big issue.

"In litigation where you are going to file a crucial paper, security is paramount," he said. "There are many lawyers in our firm who would be very reluctant to share certain information when what they are going to say to general counsel X would be shared with firm Y."

He added that in about five per cent of cases when dealing with a client, human contact was vital and should not be lost.

"In that five to 10 per cent of the time, there is real value from being in the same room with someone – the tone of voice, the expression, the pauses, the raised eyebrows are all important.

"There is something about lawyers that is different from a lot of services like advertising where you just need to see some information and make a choice.

"Like other counselling services, it is a process that takes human time."