10 Tips To Strengthen Relationships with Outside Counsel

When footwear-maker Wolverine World Wide was in need of a law firm to handle its trademark work, General Counsel Ken Grady set out on a lengthy search to find the right outside counsel. Grady's team spent a year investigating potential law firms, and then another eight months getting to know Seyfarth Shaw--from its paralegals to its office culture to the individuals who would be staffing Wolverine matters--before finally choosing the firm to handle its trademark portfolio. It was no easy undertaking, but Grady knew it was necessary. He wasn't interested in traditional hourly billing, and he worked with Seyfarth to develop a flat fee billing arrangement that incentivizes the firm to deliver savings to Wolverine.

"In order for an arrangement like this to work, you have to have at the foundation trust between both parties that we're in this to work together over a longer period of time, and we'll deal with each other in a fair and equitable manner," Grady says.

3. Build trust--at all levels

"Trust works both ways," Feingold says. "You want to trust outside counsel to do the right thing, and you want them to trust you to give them the right information, come to them when needed and not be shopping around for other outside counsel."

6. Remember: You're the customer

"The No. 1 thing you have to remember is that you're the customer," says Brad Blickstein, a corporate legal department consultant. Keeping this in mind will likely make it easier for you to openly communicate your needs.

Associate Editor

Melissa Maleske

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