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Managing In-House Relationships - Introduction
Managing In-House Relationship - Intermediate
Managing In-House Relationships - Advanced


We provide tools, training and consultation to help law firms retain and grow relationships with corporate clients; and to help corporate law departments effectively and efficiently manage outside counsel.

For law firms, we provide multi-level training, developed to match the experience levels of client-facing law firm lawyers, on how to understand the world of corporate in-house counsel.  

For corporate law departments, we provide training on how to effectively manage outside counsel to lower costs, drive efficiency, budget adherence and best practices in matter management.

For individuals, we provide career counseling on navigating and succeeding in the corporate environment

  • Targeted to Lawyers 6 - 10 Years in practice

  • Provides fundamentals of understanding the corporate structure and environment

  • Teaches basic tenets of successful relationship building.

Individual Coaching
  • On difficult client management situations

  • Budget disruption

  • How to renegotiate fee agreements

  • Delivering bad news

  • Setting expectations

  • Strategic career counseling

  • Targeted to Lawyers at Junior Partner, Of Counsel, Non-Equity Partner Level

  • How to constructively change the dynamics of the sometimes antagonistic relationship between law firms and corporate clients;

  • Demystifies the budget dilemma;

  • Trains practice management processes that create success;

  • Identifies alternatives to traditional hourly billing that speaks your clients’ language;

  • Prepares lawyers to become trusted partners and advisors to clients.

 "I've worked with Jill both as an in-house client contact and as a colleague and have witnessed her strategic brilliance in managing complex, high-stakes litigation to successful resolution and have benefited from her superb outside counsel management skills.  Whether your firm is seeking to establish or solidify a corporate clientele or you are an in-house counsel trying to thrive in the corporate world, Jill can take you to the next level."

Eduardo G. Roy, Founding Partner, Prometheus Partners LLP

"Jill is the real deal.  She has the background, skill and hands-on experience to help in-house counsel and their outside attorneys maximize their working relationship for the betterment of their client.  With her uncanny ability to be both direct and encouraging, Jill provides clear guidance and keen insight on how to manage and communicate the needs, interests and expectations of in-house and outside counsel.  Understanding that the practice of law is rapidly evolving , more competitive, stressful and expensive than ever, Jill tackles the “elephant in the room” and addresses head on the potential disconnect between client service and firm profits.  To her credit, she understands and preaches just the opposite:  with in-house counsel and outside counsel working together in partnership for the client, legal bills will be lower, firm revenue will increase and the practice of law will simply be more fun and rewarding for all."

Raymond C. Marshall, Partner, Sheppard, Mullin,Richter & Hampton LLC

"Jill's deep understanding of the complicated relationship between law firm counsel and in-house corporate counsel comes from extensive experience managing outside counsel for a mega-corporation for many years.  Jill used her strategic talents to rise to the corporate senior executive level all the while managing outside counsel in multi-billion dollar matters.  If your law firm is trying to get and keep more corporate business; or if your corporate law department needs help dealing with outside counsel, leverage Jill's expertise and watch your business grow."

Paul Garrison, Former General Counsel in the Oil & Gas Industry

"Through Jill’s experience working as an Assistant General Counsel for a prominent Fortune 14 company, she offers highly insightful expertise in assisting outside counsel to assess and create value for in-house legal teams. Having worked with Jill on various matters when she was in-house, I can personally attest that she fully appreciates the pressures and demands required of an in-house lawyer, and can help outside lawyers navigate the political landmines indicative of these environments. If you are looking for someone with a strong playbook for best practices in winning and keeping Fortune 500 business, Jill is the person you want in your corner."

David F. Michail, Managing Shareholder, Metlawgroup

"As the discussion within the legal profession regarding business development shifts from 'landing clients' to 'retaining clients,' it often goes no further than the importance of billing rates and the need for alternative billing arrangements.  But developing and maintaining strong client relationships requires outside counsel to do far more than simply focus on the bills.  Similarly, the understandable (and necessary) focus of in-house counsel on rates and fees sometimes causes a lack of attention to the many other aspects of the relationship with outside counsel critical for ensuring the company gets the most effective and efficient representation.  Jill brings to this discussion a unique perspective shaped by years practicing in-house with a large corporation; a position in which she developed a keen understanding of the many factors that affect – for better or worse – the selection and retention of outside counsel.  Through her strong relationships with the many attorneys with whom she worked in their roles as outside counsel, Jill also learned of the challenges and frustrations with which outside counsel had to deal in providing the best legal services consistent with the needs of the company and the needs of their firms.  Jill’s well rounded perspective and understanding give her the ability to assist clients on either side of the table.  Her direct and matter-of-fact approach ensures useful, practical, and specific guidance that can help in-house attorneys and outside counsel understand the needs of the people and entities with whom they work and to meet those needs in a manner that facilitates a mutually beneficial and long-lasting professional relationship."

John Hyland, Partner, Rukin Hyland Doria & Tindall LLP

"I have known and worked with Jill for many years and have seen Jill's exemplary strategic skills first-hand. Her insights into the inner workings of the corporate power dynamic are keen, and her extensive experience in managing outside counsel uniquely qualifies her to guide others to success. She is now offering her services to law firms and in-house counsel, and she can help elevate your practice with her skills and insights."

Gary T. Lafayette, Owner, Lafayette & Kumagai

"Understanding the perspective of in house  counsel is of critical importance for several reasons.  First, as an outside lawyer the better you understand the needs of the client, the better your pitch will be.  Secondly, understanding the political and human dynamic of the internal working of the in house staff is of critical importance.  Finally, it is imperative to have a clear idea of what the client actually wants and how the in house lawyer can help you craft a win-win scenario.  I have worked with Jill Dessalines on large matters and her insights and understanding of how to maneuver in the opaque world of in house departments proved invaluable.  Her judgment and insights will be beneficial for any firm or attorney who is or wants to operate in the world of in house lawyers."

Dan Johnson, Founder, Dan Johnson Law Group

"My firm hired Ms. Dessalines to conduct an analysis of our time and billing practices before submitting our lodestar to the Court for further scrutiny.  Ms. Dessalines was thorough, remarkably efficient and detailed in her analysis.  At the hearing, the Court thanked counsel for engaging Ms. Dessalines and complemented her professional skepticism.”

Peter E. Borkon, Partner, Bleichmar, Fonti & Auld, LLP

  • Targeted to Law Firm Management and Equity Partners

  • Positioning your firm for more business;

  • Changing the client management formula;

  • Delivering the impactful pitch;

  • Making the right connections and the importance of firm culture;

  • Deciphering C-Suite power dynamics;

  • Being prepared for inevitable change.

Corporate Counsel Training
  • Matter management on rules of communication, staffing, legal practice management processes, and billing policies

  • Budget adherence including historic input, task-based budgets, updates, course corrections and recalibrations

  • Building relationships with business leaders, establishing credibility, anticipating business concerns, adding value and communicating effectively.

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