engagement letters based on alternative
fee arrangements, a Short-Form Request
for Proposals, a checklist for initial conversations with outside counsel, guidelines
for discussions with outside counsel and
decision trees that outline the use of the
tools. Although some Rockwell Collins
attorneys initially feared that firms would
resist alternative fee-based engagements,
and thus would have to be dropped,
outside counsel proved able and willing
to engage in alternative fee arrangements.
Rockwell Collins now uses AFAs on all
new matters over $50,000.
“We didn’t use RFPs before, but now
use them very successfully to create competition. The firms really had to sharpen their
pencils, and we have better goal alignment
and focus on value of the legal services
being provided by outside counsel versus
billable hours,” Chadick says.
Most of Rockwell Collins’ alternative fee
arrangements now are based upon success
fee arrangements; some include a firm fixed
price for a scope of work as well. Chadick
defines success in multiple ways: Did the
firm achieve the desired results? Were they
strategic thinkers and responsive to input
and needs? Was the work done efficiently
and did they demonstrate good execution
acumen? How well did they perform the
work in terms of cost and schedule?
The Lean team also built in vehicles
for continuous improvement, including
effective feedback loops to ensure candid
conversations about lessons learned; these
lessons are documented and actioned.
The reports are available for reference in
selection of counsel for new matters.
“At the end, this opportunity for discus-
sion and learning emphasizes that our
system is performance-based and that we
will reward firms where they should be re-
warded,” says Chadick. “It focuses them on
what success looks like through our eyes.”
“In the end, the Law Group was success-
ful in re-engineering its processes due to the
hard work and dedication of all of the mem-
bers of the Law Group and Seyfarth Shaw’s
guidance on how to apply Lean principles to
the delivery of legal services.” vc
The Sherwin-Williams Company and
Deep Collaboration Positions Outside Firm as True Business Partner
Although the Sherwin-Williams Company
had worked with Bob Eddy at Cleveland-based Gallagher Sharp for more than 20
years, implementing a national counsel
model has deepened their collaboration
into a true business partnership.
“We had successfully implemented the
national counsel model in such various traditional areas as product claims and mass
toxic tort, but this is the first time we used
the model to defend product defect/war-ranty claims for highly technical coating
products,” says Ron Tamburrino, associate
general counsel for litigation at Sherwin-Williams.
Tamburrino, who began the project in
January 2011, explains that these coating
products are used for bridges, heavy equipment and military applications. “They’re
applied to objects that are exposed to the
elements,” he says.
The legal department at Sherwin-Williams saw an opportunity to lower
costs and increase efficiency by applying
the national counsel model to these claims.
Rather than having to educate new counsel
in every new case filed regarding the intri-cacies of the organization, technical issues
involved with the products and the projects
where the products were often used, selecting a single national counsel would greatly
“This is the first time we tried to approach these cases with nontraditional
national counsel rules,” Tamburrino says.
Claims involve highly technical and
nuanced factual and legal issues. Eddy
and other Gallagher Sharp attorneys
attended specialized technical training
side-by-side with in-house counsel and
key business unit employees to develop
industry certification. They gained
specialized expertise about the products,
their technical issues and performance