Source of article 2's Company - Magnus Insights.

Many years ago when we were first starting Magnus, we learned a lesson, the hard way, about trusting clients, even prior clients, or their associates, when making research plans. We met with a client from our prior employer, at his request, and we came up a research plan for one of his cases. After the meeting, I sent a proposal, and because the attorney was busy and traveling, I communicated with the associate attorney working for the lead attorney – the prior client. He confirmed the research plans and assured us that everything was on track. Time was tight and we needed to recruit the mock jurors – something that costs money – so we advanced the money and started the recruit. About 2 days into the recruit and our research preparations, a call came in from the irate lead attorney who said “No, I didn’t authorize this – stop, do no work.” He had finally looked at the contract sent to him, via fax in those days, and he pulled the plug. We had spent, on his behalf, over a thousand dollars of our money by this time. We’d reserved conference space, and invested considerable time. The associate was apologetic, but there was no getting the project back on track. We learned several lessons and changed our policies accordingly. Lesson 1 – talk to the boss. Don’t accept an assignment based on talking with anyone but the boss. Lesson 2 – even with prior clients, get it in writing. Lesson 3 – don’t use your money – use the client’s money. This experience, and one other, were instructive in building our policies related to beginning engagements. These things made us more rigid, and have created additional challenges. Lesson 1, in particular, is difficult. Our clients are busy; catching the lead lawyer long enough for a telephone call can be difficult, and sometimes, it is impossible. In today’s world of email communications we can at least ensure that the boss is in the loop. And, by getting it in writing, and not using our money to fund the research, communication gaps do not impact our bank accounts.