Creating law firm panels takes time and expertise, and panels often fail to deliver. AdvanceLaw has worked with several Fortune 500 companies to create different-in-kind panels that improve service quality, encourage innovation, and enfranchise law firms. This is the elusive win-win.
AdvanceLaw collaborated with DXC Technology (a Fortune 200 company) to create a law firm panel to meet its goals of quality legal service and cost-savings while enfranchising its firms. As noted in American Lawyer and Modern Counsel, DXC selected firms not based on pedigree or incumbency, but actual performance. Most firms selected (in the US and internationally) belonged to AdvanceLaw’s wider group of pre-vetted firms, and this panel handles the bulk of DXC’s legal work, including its most important matters and portfolios.
Beyond a novel selection process, AdvanceLaw is active in panel management to foster firm enfranchisement, serve as a triage point for new matters, and measure performance. New matters are referred to AdvanceLaw for analysis of which panel lawyer is best fit, and feedback is collected. The high-performers don’t just earn a greater share of work from DXC, but from the other 250 AdvanceLaw GCs as well. As DXC’s GC notes, “We become a super-reviewer within the AdvanceLaw network, with disproportionate market return to firms that truly deliver for us.”
This initiative contributed to DXC’s GC being named Most Innovative General Counsel by the Financial Times, as well as AdvanceLaw and DXC being shortlisted by the FT for innovation. More important, this panel has led to improved client service, cost-savings, and a group of highly enthusiastic firms. As DXC’s general counsel remarks, “We want these firms to wake up every day excited about DXC, and that won’t happen if they’re treated like widget suppliers. They are counselors; they are a part of our team.”
Leaders in Convergence and Panel Creation
GC of Fortune 200 DXC reinvents panels with AdvanceLaw
AdvanceLaw’s seminal white paper on how to create strong panels
GC of Fortune 500 Peabody on how AdvanceLaw helped with her panel
Project Zipcode and Convergence
Honeywell partnered with AdvanceLaw to retain top outside counsel as part of “Project Zipcode,” which was about intelligent sourcing and measuring results. It was recognized by the Financial Times for innovation, and contributed to Honeywell winning FT’s Most Innovative In-House Legal Team award. One business unit GC noted Honeywell “loves partnering with AdvanceLaw,” which is a “pipeline to discover excellent firms.” More recently, AdvanceLaw and Honeywell assembled a small panel of innovative firms to handle Honeywell’s most important legal matters.
Portfolio Company Sourcing Solution
In addition to identifying outside counsel for TPG as legal needs arise, AdvanceLaw has worked closely with the private equity firm to create a counsel sourcing platform that is currently leveraged by nearly 20 of its portfolio companies. The portfolio companies retain top counsel through AdvanceLaw who are keen to earn strong performance feedback, as performance drives a greater share of work from both the AdvanceLaw and TPG networks. This platform has resulted in the Financial Times recognizing TPG for innovation in the Driving Transformation in Business and Industry category.
Outside Counsel Data Analysis
AdvanceLaw has collaborated with several Fortune 500 companies, including Clorox, to review outside counsel metrics and practices, and suggest innovative strategies (and firms) to drive results. Through these data exercises, and more broadly across the entire membership, AdvanceLaw learns about client legal needs so it can identify the best outside counsel for key matters and portfolios.
Creating a Litigation Mini-Panel
To drive strong client service, innovation, efficiency, and outcomes, Unilever worked with AdvanceLaw to find top litigation counsel to handle future and ongoing legal matters in key litigation areas. Ultimately, Unilever U.S. and AdvanceLaw created a “mini-panel” of go-to firms (selected from the wider AdvanceLaw panel) with whom to form relationships. Unilever thereby received the market benefit of AdvanceLaw: firms driven to excel given the potential of more work from 250 GCs. Unilever also uses AdvanceLaw to identify counsel outside of litigation, as needs arise.
Law Firm Strategic Partner Panel
Partnering with Fortune 500 Peabody, AdvanceLaw created a panel of firms to handle the company’s legal work. The aim was to overcome common pitfalls (e.g., rubber stamping incumbents, RFPs that alienate, not identifying truly innovative firms, missing helpful redundancies), while using tools to drive success (e.g., piloting firms, measuring diversity, two-way feedback, tying feedback to retention). AdvanceLaw continues to be involved with sourcing, evaluations, and relationship-building (including an annual law firm summit).
Diversity Mentorship Program
Over one hundred GCs and senior in-house counsel have signed on to AdvanceLaw’s diversity program, serving as mentors to associates at firms within the AdvanceLaw network. As A.B. Cruz III, former Chair of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association notes, “As a long-time member of AdvanceLaw while GC at various companies, I am delighted AdvanceLaw is using its deep relations with GCs to kick off a major, industry-wide, diversity mentorship program. This kind of solutions-oriented program can move the dial both in-house and at law firms.”