Both parties agreed to review the fee arrangement at six-month intervals to confirm that it continues
to be viewed as successful for the in-house law department and the firm. The program was successfully
implemented for 18 months, resulting in reduced legal costs and improved budget predictability, and was
discontinued only because United Retirement went private.
RFPs of outside counsel, legal project management and value-based billing arrangements are now part
of daily work at United Retirement. The company has used structured risk sharing, fixed-fee, capped and
collared arrangements and hold-back structures. Value-based billing, in-sourced legal work and project
management techniques have helped the legal team prove its value to its internal client.
• Outside counsel spend reduced by 65 percent over first three years.
• Improved budget predictability due to 83 percent of legal expenses being in value arrangements.
• Risk Chart for lease negotiations provides continuity and consistency of risk identification.
To overcome the challenge of too few resources during a time of
company expansion, ZS Associates’ six-person legal department
had to be smart. They took a multifaceted approach using several
value levers, pairing specialized in-house counsel with offshore
attorneys and using value-based fee arrangements with legal process
outsourcers to predict expenses, even when workloads grew.
This enables them to do more with less, while increasing quality
ZS Associates is a global sales and marketing consulting company. Prior to beginning its value journey,
the legal department focused primarily on client contracts. Steeply increasing demand for legal support
occasioned a change in the way department members worked. The department devised a new mission
statement that emphasized the expertise its six attorneys and two paralegals could bring to appropriate
legal work — “to provide pragmatic, responsive, value-added and cost-effective legal solutions, while
balancing risks and rewards” — then set about finding efficient solutions for everything else. Their value
journey ultimately comprised four phases.
APPLYING VALUE LEVERS
That journey began with a re-casting of the department’s mission, which focused on its desired
transformation. The legal team was divided into “expertise centers,” each managed by a senior attorney.
An offshore legal team of two Indian attorneys was created to support the onshore senior attorneys and
helps to address legal needs more promptly and efficiently.
Its internal teams in place, ZS Associates began the process of outsourcing routine legal tasks by sending
out a request for proposal seeking fixed-price bids to support contracting, corporate, forms, HR and