Reducing Litigation Cost, Building Reputation And Promoting The Rule Of Law - Your Law Firms Can Help Make It Happen

Thursday, December 1, 2005 - 01:00

The Special Report and Special Sections in this month's issue are designed to help you achieve these three major goals. Your outside counsel are willing to help - and will frequently do so without charge, because they are not only looking for ways to partner with you, but also have similar institutional goals. Does your law department have plans for the achievement of these goals? If so, do those plans take into account the role that your outside counsel can play in the effort?

Reducing Litigation Cost

Much of the expense of litigation can only be addressed by changes in court rules, legislation or the composition of the judiciary. Our coverage of civil justice reform in this issue demonstrates that the law firms you and your insurers hire to handle your litigation recognize that they have an ethical responsibility to address defects in the justice system. They don't want to try cases repeatedly that recur simply because of systemic problems that can be fixed.Have you explored what your firms are doing to help you? Are you showing your interest by asking them about their civil justice reform efforts in your RFPs? Do you have a plan for effecting the necessary systemic changes and have you sat down with your law firms to make them part of that plan?

Building Reputation

Your company's reputation can affect judicial, legislative and regulatory outcomes and in a transactional context can influence the course of negotiations. When outside counsel represents your company, the best results can be obtained if they reflect the image that the corporation wishes to project. One example of the impact of your outside counsels' dedication to pro bono can be seen in the favorable reception that they get from judges before whom they have appeared on behalf of pro bono clients. Have you encouraged your firms' pro bono efforts? Are you demonstrating your interest by asking them about their pro bono efforts in your RFPs?

Promoting The Rule Of Law - The China Example

If your Company is not doing something in China today, it will be tomorrow.The long-term viability of this expanding market for U.S. goods and services depends to a great extent on China's acceptance of the rule of law. In his interview in this issue, John Smagula of Temple Law School describes its support for the rule of law through offering LL.M. and other programs for Chinese officials and practitioners and suggests that corporations and their law firms might wish to create scholarships so that Temple's China Program can further extend its influence. Apart from the Temple Program, a number of law firms are helping Chinese lawyers and other future leaders gain knowledge of the value of the rule of law in other ways as well.Are you encouraging your firms to make such efforts? When you are seeking law firms to represent you in China, do you show your interest by asking about those efforts in your RFPs?

How The Metropolitan Corporate CounselCan Help

It is important that other corporate counsel join with you in these efforts. You need their help to effect the long-term changes that can reduce litigation expense. You want other corporate counsel to do pro bono because this can help improve the image of corporations generally. You want other companies to support the rule of law because no one company can do the job alone.Because outside counsel play such an important role in these efforts, you need to encourage other corporate counsel to marshal the support of their law firms.

Because we reach almost 30,000 corporate counsel at 14,000 law department locations, we can help you build the support of a critical mass of corporate counsel for your goals. We can interview you and other corporate counsel leaders about your and their efforts to achieve these goals.In this way, our readers are provided with models that can help them sell their own programs to their managements. Corporate counsel should not be reluctant to step forward to present their programs to our readers. Going public will enable them to enlist allies in their efforts.Encourage your law firms and legal service providers to describe their efforts in our pages. This will encourage our readers to challenge their law firms and legal service providers to emulate them and thereby strengthen the total effort.

Al Driver, Editor