What does “legal interim management” or “temporary in-house lawyer” mean?

Legal interim management (LIM) or temporary in-house lawyer refers to the temporary deployment of one or several experienced, qualified lawyers with advanced specialist expertise for projects, to bridge special situations such as crises, for personnel bottlenecks and for the handling of special tasks or advisory functions.

The legal interim manager is available at very short notice and needs very little time to familiarise himself or herself with the project. Due to his or her great practical experience and qualifications, which often tend to exceed the necessary scope, he or she immediately starts contributing to the success of the project and of the company.

As soon as his or her work is done, the legal interim manager leaves the company without any further costs. The deployment of a temporary in-house lawyer reduces costs, as the required lawyers do not need to be kept permanently in the company and the legal interim manager is only paid for the work that he or she actually does.


What distinguishes a legal interim manager from an external lawyer?

Legal interim management does not focus primarily on planning and consulting, but on the operational realisation of the project, if necessary on-site within the company. The legal interim manager is highly management- and solution-oriented, assumes operational responsibility and ‒ thanks to long-standing in-house experience ‒ is intimately familiar with the structures, the business and sales models and the business processes in companies. In short, he or she knows what makes companies tick. This clearly distinguishes him or her from conventional external lawyers.

As a matter of principle, the LIM thinks and acts like an (internal) employee. Through the direct contractual bond, he or she is only and exclusively under an obligation to and connected to the client. In this respect, the LIM is different to an employed lawyer or partner who is primarily accountable to his or her law firm, through which he or she is merely indirectly contractually connected to the client.

Unlike an external lawyer who usually “only” provides guidance and might at the most “support” the realisation of a project via a mandate, the legal interim manager takes over operational responsibility and, if necessary, managerial responsibility until the goal is reached.

Usually, the conventional approach of a law firm consists of deploying its associates in a consulting function on behalf of clients, often under the supervision of a senior partner, in a way that ensures that the personnel and capacity are utilised as optimally as possible. In contrast, the business model of the LIM consists of deploying the most suitable qualified lawyer for the particular case in an operational function in a cost-optimised manner. Project-specific suitability has absolute priority.

The legal interim manager is carefully selected for the individual mission. Key factors include the practical experience as well as the specialist and social competence that the legal interim manager has gained in his or her previous activities and missions. For the success of a mission, it is also vital for his or her personality to match the specific setting in which he or she is to be deployed.

External lawyers are often mostly immersed in their daily business. In contrast, a temporary in-house lawyer makes sure that projects actually move forward and are rolled out according to schedule for the benefit of the company.


How can the company protect its confidential information when using a legal interim manager?

The agreement governing the legal interim management exhaustively regulates this issue by means of a non-disclosure clause. Moreover, a lawyer is in any case under the obligation to maintain confidentiality by virtue of the law and principles of the profession.


How much are the fees and ancillary costs of the legal interim manager?

The amount of the daily rate depends on the proven experience, specialist competence, responsibility and duration of the deployment of the legal interim manager as well as the status of the task and the hierarchical level.

Travel and accommodation expenses are normally charged in line with the client’s travel expenses policy. Travel time counts as working time and is subject to full remuneration at the daily rate or partial remuneration at half the daily rate, depending on the duration of the trip.

The temporary deployment of an experienced, competent manager usually pays off several times over due to the above-average performance, the contributed experience and the applied expertise.


How can the legal interim manager be deployed?

The legal interim manager can be deployed in various situations:

Bridging of (short-term) absences or personnel bottlenecks at management level and in specialist functions (e.g. an employee has left the legal department and the vacancy is to be filled during the hiring process, prolonged sudden sickness of an employee in the legal department, holiday stand-in).

Establishment and development of a legal department (e.g. the management identifies the necessity of an internal legal department and needs advice and support to establish a legal department, starting from the recruitment of employees to structures, processes and tools).

Bridging of special situations such as special tasks and projects (e.g. a company is to be acquired, but the legal department lacks the needed experience and specialist knowledge to manage the acquisition or to conduct a (legal) due diligence).

Crisis management where prompt action is required (e.g. the company is faced with a claim for damages, and exculpatory evidence needs to be reviewed and legally evaluated and internal employees need to be interviewed).

Timely realisation of important new projects (e.g. a trading company wants to buy and implement new software or migrate to cloud computing, but the legal department is not proficient in IT law).

Neutral, unbiased implementation of projects or management tasks that are likely to cause tension within the company or (potential) conflicts of interests (e.g. internal investigation in the case of violations of the code of ethics or (potential) legal compliance incidents).

Reinforcement of internal capacities for urgent internal or external projects, reorganisation, mergers and acquisitions, expansion, etc. (e.g. planning, organisation and implementation of the integration of acquired businesses in the company, support of the due diligence, restructuring of a company; in this context, termination and re-negotiation of contracts, merger or spin-off of companies, legally effective dismissal of employees).


What is the benefit of a legal interim manager?

• Quick availability (legal on demand)

LIM can usually be made available for a project start within 3 to 8 days.

• Implementation with high efficiency and productivity

An interim manager’s comprehensive experience, tried-and-tested skills in relation to your specific task, industry knowledge and pragmatic perspective of the implementation and effect of measures guarantee short roll-out times.

• Subject and success orientation

The LIM business model is based on the success of his or her projects. The knowledge and perspective of an external observer enables the LIM to maintain a degree of objectivity that allows for any cherished dead weight to be thrown off. The LIM is not exposed to any internal pressure and can take care of even “inconvenient” jobs.

• Calculable, fully variable costs

Only the actual work is paid for. Interim managers are not paid any severance, they pay their own social insurance contributions, they do not receive holiday or sick pay, and they are available for exactly as long as needed.


What details are taken into consideration when drawing up the agreement?

The following items in particular are clarified and settled when drawing up the agreement:

Specification of the tasks

Contract term and scope (hours/day, hours/week)

Reporting lines, authority to issue instructions and contacts

Fee, travel costs, travel time and expenses



Notice periods and extension options



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