Craig Silliman, executive vice president for public policy and general counsel at Verizon, Feb 2016
We have a lot of people in-house who are deeply embedded with the business, people who have a good general sense of the business, an ability to issue spot, an ability to support the business on what I’ll call a horizontal basis. By definition, when we’re bringing in outside counsel, we’re bringing them in as a vertical staff, as a highly specialized resource on one particular issue.
The best outside counsel understand they are the client of the in-house legal team, and should make that team look good.
When Big Law Business has asked general counsel over the last eight months where they’d like to see outside law firms improve, a good chunk of them have given the same answer: “Firms should learn more about our overall business.” Craig Silliman, executive vice president for public policy and general counsel at Verizon, has a different take: “One pitch that you sometimes hear from law firms is, ‘We want to be your strategic partner, we want to sit inside your meetings, we want to get to know the business, etc.,'” he said. “That is what our in-house legal team does. We don’t need outside counsel to do that.”