Kelly Law Registry - One Of The Stars Of The DuPont Legal Model

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 - 01:00
Kelly Law Registry
Meron I. Hewis

Editor: Please describe your position with Kelly Law Registry and how this relates to your firm's being a Primary Service Provider (PSP) as part of the DuPont Legal Model.

Hewis: Currently, I am Kelly Law Registry's Account Manager for all business with DuPont Legal, and other major clients of Kelly Law Registry (KLR), a specialty service of global workforce solutions provider Kelly Services, Inc. I joined KLR in September 2002 and am based in the Philadelphia office. For the past six years I have managed the DuPont account as well as the contract employees who work on litigation discovery projects on behalf of DuPont. I am on site at DuPont on an average of two or three days a week, helping them find alternative cost-saving solutions in regard to legal staffing. I also work with different DuPont Preferred Law Firms across the country.

Editor: From a Primary Service Provider's viewpoint, what is it like to be a part of the DuPont Legal Model?

Hewis: It's great being a part of the DuPont Legal Model. Being a service provider allows us the benefit of working with the Primary Law Firms and the other service providers within the network. Through this network I have made many contacts across the U.S. with whom I have built good relationships. A benefit of the network is receiving referrals from each other, but also to provide referrals to other people that you know and trust. For instance, if I have a client in Philadelphia or elsewhere around the world who needs local counsel in another part of the country or world, I can refer them to someone within the DuPont network.

Editor: How often does DuPont have a gathering where its PSPs and PLFs participate?

Hewis: It varies. Every year in March or April the engagement partner and the account manager from each law firm or service provider within the network attend DuPont's annual meeting. It is usually a two-day event so everyone can get together and learn what's new and happening with DuPont and with each other. Once a year there is also a DuPont Marketing and Referral conference. This past year the meeting was in St. Louis with at least one person from each law firm or service provider in attendance. We heard different in-house counsel from other corporations discussing what they would like to see law firms contribute to them, whom they like to work with and why. It is also a bonding session for everyone to get to know one another better. In addition to these two meetings DuPont has their products liability group meetings, litigation and patent seminars, etc. Recently, representatives from the DuPont PLFs and PSPs attended a Corporate Leadership award dinner given by CPR honoring Tom Sager, DuPont's General Counsel, as well as Amy Schulman, General Counsel of Pfizer. So, we all get together a few times a year and it is nice to see everyone.

Editor: How long has Kelly Law Registry been a part of the DuPont Legal Model and to what do you attribute this long-term success?

Hewis : We have been a part of the DuPont Legal Model for approximately 15 years. We started as the Wallace Law Registry, which Kelly purchased a while ago. The relationship has endured because Kelly has constantly provided substantial cost savings to DuPont. We've done so in two ways - through the use of temporary lawyers and paralegals performing document review in complex litigation matters and by providing DuPont with more substantive contract lawyers and paralegals in the patent, trademark and litigation areas. Sometimes DuPont's budget does not permit the hiring of permanent employees or the particular assignment is of short duration, but the work still needs to get done. So, we've been able to provide them with quality talent that can offset the costs of paying a law firm to do the work. Kelly was honored this year with the 2008 DuPont Challenge Award which recognizes accomplishments to the DuPont Legal Model.

Editor: How comfortable are corporations with the use of temporary employees in the discovery process?

Hewis : The more innovative corporations have accepted this process for years. There are still corporations that are reluctant to do so. A lot of corporations resist this cost-savings measure because their internal and outside counsel have a view that temporary attorneys are not of the same caliber as law firm associates. This is not an accurate statement. In fact, many of the Kelly attorneys being staffed on our document review projects were trained by big firms; they were laid off because of changes in our economy and the new business model that is being deployed in law firms today. Some have also had very successful legal careers and want to continue to work in the industry in some capacity and chose to work with Kelly.

Editor: There are certain legal areas such as M&A that are currently out of favor, but I would think that those lawyers could adapt to other practice areas and be equally proficient. Do you find that to be the case?

Hewis: Absolutely. Document review work pertaining to electronic discovery entails reviewing documents for confidentiality and privilege. Any lawyer is able to perform this work whether he or she has done M&A transactional work or real estate, etc.

Editor: How has your business model evolved with the changing economy?

Hewis: All legal departments are under pressure right now to provide additional cost savings. Kelly recently deployed an innovative program to provide additional cost savings for many of our clients and specifically for DuPont. We recently opened a litigation discovery center in a building which is owned and operated by Kelly and is a part of our corporate campus in Troy, Michigan. We refer to this as our "Onshore Project Facility." The advantages that this center provides are that we are now able to staff litigation discovery matters with U.S. attorneys on U.S. soil at rates that are competitive with off-shore facilities.

Editor: By keeping this work onshore, what advantages are there for a U.S. corporation?

Hewis: Security is certainly substantially higher and easier to control and access for visiting the litigation discovery center is easy. There are flights into and out of Detroit from most major cities almost every other hour. Traveling to India or the Philippines to do a site visit, to verify security, to meet the staff and legal associates face-to-face is difficult, time consuming, and expensive. Traveling to Michigan requires a short amount of time and is less expensive. If travel is not permitted, video conferencing is available as well. Our center operates in a U.S. time zone. We find that to be beneficial because if you have changes in your discovery, you can be in touch with our center immediately to notify our people of changes. There is no delay; you don't have to wake up in the middle of the night to do training calls or answer questions. Our employees were educated in the U.S., all of the attorneys are licensed in the U.S. and they understand the U.S. legal system, including such issues as attorney-client privilege. Many foreign countries do not recognize the same level of attorney-client privilege as the U.S. does, and sometimes that can cause errors in the document production. When you have the work done in the U.S., you don't have to worry about export control issues, which prevent some legal matters from being sent overseas. There are no language barriers and quality control is more accurate. In general it is easier to manage and oversee.

Editor: Are there any other advantages for a U.S. corporation sending a project to your Litigation Discovery Center in Troy vs. off-shore?

Hewis: Yes, corporations are helping to create jobs here in the U.S. This is good corporate citizenship that can be used by corporations to improve their image. It is good from a marketing/PR standpoint for them as well.

Editor: How difficult is it for Kelly to provide quality temporary attorneys at the Litigation Discovery Center in Troy, MI?

Hewis: It is not difficult at all. Kelly has had a very longstanding history in the Detroit area of staffing large projects for the auto industry, and there are very good law schools in this area, which provide excellent candidates. Additionally, as we discussed earlier, there are changes in the economy that have meant that there are additional qualified attorneys available to staff these projects today, but that has never been an issue for us in that area. We have an outstanding team dedicated to the legal business there with remarkable success in staffing legal projects. For instance, our Troy team recently staffed a project with a very short turnaround with over one hundred legal professionals. They are excellent at what they do, and we have no difficulties in this area.

Editor: Do lawyers then come to Troy just for this temporary work from other parts of the Midwest?

Hewis: We haven't had the need to do that. The qualified and experienced talent pool living in the area has made our staffing quite seamless so that we have not had a need to source candidates from other cities. The only time we've ever had to bring in staff from outside Troy/Detroit was in connection with foreign language review. For example, if a staff of say 20 is needed for a Japanese language review, we may have to reach outside the area to source qualified candidates. Other than that, we've never had the need to recruit people from other states.

Editor: Has DuPont taken the opportunity to utilize Kelly's Litigation Discovery Center?

Hewis: Yes. We've actually had several projects that have produced high-quality work and substantial cost savings for DuPont as well as other corporations. We currently have several ongoing projects for DuPont. Additionally, there are innovative law firms that have recommended and utilized the center because they have realized the benefits of providing high-quality service and cost savings for their existing clients with the security of a domestic review. We have had several law firms fly out to Michigan to provide training, then later work with individuals by phone and hold daily or sometimes weekly meetings with our staff as the production moves along. They introduce this to their clients by underscoring the cost savings they can have by having contractors do this work instead of their associates. The trend we are seeing is that law firms are looking for cost savings for their clients with project management expertise by introducing them to these new solutions.

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