Rees Morrison sees the value of "Three litigation cost controls: motions, depositions, and attendees at court conferences and depositions:"

As published in Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 16, July 2008 at 39, the steps are (1) permit no motions to be made without your approval; …

Among the several other cost-control measures they advocate is to try to get signed witness statements. Those statements are “easier, better, more effective and often achieved at a fraction of the cost” of a deposition. According to them, “Only truly material witnesses should be deposed.”

As a third method to pare litigation costs, “Rarely is there a need for more than one attorney to be present at court conferences or depositions.” …

All good ideas. As a plaintiffs’ attorney, who is rarely paid by the hour (and thus for whom time is money), I can tell you that we watch our budgets by not filing too many motions, by trying to have written discovery answer the basics, and by generally using one attorney.

That said, my goals are not just the opposite of defense counsel’s but are substantially different in character. I’m trying to build a coherent trial record and case theory that supports my claims and smokes out potential problems. Defense counsel, in contrast, is either trying to poke holes in my theories or is trying to drive me into the ground (or both).

The former can be done on a lean budget; the latter is a bit harder. Note: the latter works far, far, far less frequently than defense lawyers and defendants believe it will. You can bet that, if I took a case, I already judged it as having some inherent strength, which means you likely can’t bury it even if I screw it up.

My biggest recommendation would be for general counsel / in-house counsel and their litigators to sit down, early in a case, and figure out their goals. That does not mean choosing between "giving in" and "fighting it." "Fight it" means diddley-squat in litigation, yet I hear that all the time; of course it can be "fought."

The questions are much more complicated than that; if your litigator can’t explain why it’s more complicated, then you should start demanding they explain how they’re looking out for your strategic interests and not just churning the hours.