Today, some of my perspectives on the revised Tyco/Eversheds legal services agreement, arising out of a discussion with some of the firms’ principals. Part I is here.
Here we go:
— if firms want to wait until a proposal like this is perfect before doing it, it is never going to happen.
— there clearly is an importance of trust between firm and client before venturing off like this. No agreement, however well conceived and drafted, can foresee all issues that will come up.
— the advantage a first mover like Eversheds gets from this is that after they the sign up Tyco to version 2.0, they are already working on 3.0. Other firms are probably still discussing alternative billing in the abstract. How do you ever catch up?
— if a firm like Eversheds can integrate other smaller and more geographically focused firms on a project basis with technology and consistency, does the law firm of the future need to be in all places at all times? Do mergers or expansions therefore become more targeted and strategic? Note that Eversheds has no offices in North America.
— An arrangement with some of the key attributes of Tyco/Eversheds provides a level of commercial understanding for firm lawyers that is difficult to duplicate otherwise. It also provides these same lawyers with closer client contact that other firms either don’t get or are unwilling to share deep into the service team.
— There is a consistency and quality of service that is an essential part of the DNA of an arrangement like this.
— More firms may have to consider incentives related to preventing disputes if they want to be entrusted with ongoing litigation assignments.
I appreciate the time taken by Stephen Hopkins, Diana Newcombe and Martin Hopkins of Eversheds to talk about the evolving Tyco relationship. I expect more corporate clients to try out some parts of this approach if they want to improve legal services delivery in a way that can be quantified and incentivized.