A Global Company With An Indian Outpost And World-Class Quality Management

Thursday, November 1, 2007 - 01:00
Novus Law, LLC
Raymond E. Bayley

Raymond E. Bayley

Editor: Please tell us about your background as a partner in a major professional services firm before you undertook to establish Novus Law, LLC.

Bayley: I was the managing partner of business process outsourcing at PricewaterhouseCoopers. At the time that I had that role we were independently ranked by several analysts as the leading global outsourcing organization in the world. I also served on the management committee of the firm, which was responsible for overseeing the 70,000-person United States operations of the firm. Following the sale of the PricewaterhouseCoopers outsourcing business to IBM I became the CEO of a professional services firm that had large scale operations in India.

Editor: What prompted you to launch a new venture, totally outside the mainstream? What was the need that you foresaw? When did you launch the venture?

Bayley: I have spent my 30-year career providing professional services - mostly taking over large complex service delivery operations from corporations and delivering those services back to corporations more effectively and efficiently. During the course of my business career, I recognized the large unmet demand for high quality, lower cost legal services that corporate legal departments have. Novus Law is an organization that was designed by and for lawyers based on more then two years of research and over two hundred in-depth interviews with various professionals in the legal industry - general counsels, law firm partners and associates, and law school deans and students. Amongst our findings, general counsels reported that the most important issue they face is cost control, however only to be realized without any degradation in quality or security. As a result of our research, we found what we considered to be a truly unique opportunity to bring more than 30 years of legal, business process, quality management and technology expertise together to create value for Corporate America in a way that had not been done before. We launched the venture two years ago in 2005.

Editor: Why did you choose India as the venue for your enterprise?

Bayley: India plays into a much larger strategy for us. We didn't choose India and then decide to build a professional services organization around having lawyers working in India. When we thought about the rigorous process control, quality management and technology needed to do routine legal work exceptionally well, lawyers in India came to mind because, in addition to their excellent legal skills, they excel at following rigorous processes, employing quality management techniques and using sophisticated technology. There are more than 200,000 law school graduates in India every year who have studied the common law system, whose educational and professional language is English, and who are service oriented, technology driven, intellectually talented and motivated to serve global businesses. That is why we chose India - based on our desire to deliver the highest quality work possible at a cost that is lower than what is available today in Corporate America.

Editor: What types of services are you performing for corporate law departments?

Bayley: We provide clients in the U.S and 37 other foreign jurisdictions, including the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with all kinds of formulaic legal work such as: document review for litigation, investigations or transactions; contract review and management, and corporate secretarial work. Our lawyers in India all have a considerable amount of corporate or law firm experience. Some are licensed to practice law in the United States, others are licensed to practice law in the United Kingdom and others are licensed to practice law in India. So everyone that touches client work in our organization is a bar-certified lawyer.

Editor: Who runs operations on a day-to-day basis?

Bayley: My partners, senior managers and I are responsible for running our business daily, with some of us located in the United States and others in India. In the United States, one of my partners, a former PricewaterhouseCoopers business leader, some of our senior managers and I lead our client relationship, quality and service delivery strategies. Our partners in India include a United States business executive who has lived in India for the last 15 years and oversees our business operations, and a United States lawyer, who is a Cornell Law School graduate with experience practicing for many years in Washington, DC, and who is responsible for overseeing our service delivery operations.

Editor: How is Novus Law governed?

Bayley: We have surrounded ourselves with senior legal talent at several levels. Our investors, who are all individuals, elect our board of managers which is responsible for the governance of our company. This board is made up of AM-Law 100 partners, the former associate dean of a top ten law school, a professor of business strategy from a leading business school, and other leaders in the business and legal industries. We also have a board of advisors that includes two former Fortune 500 general counsels as well as other leaders in the legal and professional services industries. Our board of advisors is responsible for helping us with our strategic direction and advising us on issues affecting the legal industry. Although we have operations and provide services around the world, we are incorporated in Delaware.

Editor: How do you maintain quality control?

Bayley: We have a rigorous quality management program that is based upon globally recognized quality standards. We use Lean Six Sigma methodologies and we are an ISO 9001:2000 compliant organization. We also have a certified Six Sigma black belt on our team whose full-time job is to measure and improve quality.

One of the methods we use to enhance quality is to map all of our legal and business processes in great detail so that we can provide a reliable and consistent work product and rigorously control the delivery of our services. This also allows us to continuously measure and thus improve the work that we do. For example, in document review for litigation we have mapped five major and 78 sub-processes, including more than 900 individual activities. In document review we also have 18 independent quality measures that occur during any one document review. They are all statistically based, auditable, and are all focused on continuously improving our document review process. We have done similar work in other areas as well.

Editor: Have you found that your principal supporters are corporate legal departments?

Bayley: Corporate legal departments are the biggest buyers of routine legal work from global legal services firms like Novus Law. Corporate legal departments have sought us out because of the need to reduce costs without sacrificing quality, confidentiality or security. Because all of our client corporations are global, they are also more comfortable buying services on a global basis. Recently, more and more law firms have begun to express interest in our work, especially a few visionary law firms that are exploring globalization for several reasons including: the need to meet client demand for higher quality, lower cost legal services; the recognition that by working with an organization like ours they can achieve true differential advantage in the competitive market for United States legal services; the need to compensate for associate attrition by having us do their routine legal work; the need for bench strength, which is too expensive for any law firm to carry today, and the need to achieve faster turn-around times in processing legal documents. Our corporate and law firm clients also recognize that because routine legal work is our only business, we are making investments in legal training, processes, quality management and technology that go far beyond what they are able or willing to spend.

Editor: You mentioned that you do legal work for countries other than the U.S. Are they all common law countries?

Bayley: We are doing both common and civil law work. We have begun to do some foreign language work for clients that have a need for document review in multiple languages. We have associates in London and Paris to facilitate this work and are currently exploring options in the Far East.

Editor: Whom would you typify as your "ideal client"?

Bayley: The types of companies or firms that benefit the most from working with a company like ours are those who seek the kind of close working relationship that may be better described as a "strategic business partnership." Each company or firm working with us has said that they want us to be an extension of their legal department or firm. This in turn helps us to better anticipate our clients' needs, manage quality and provide better and more efficient communication between our organizations. The relationships that we have with our clients are fundamentally different from that of a normal supplier/ buyer relationship.

Editor: Has the organization changed over the past two years from the original business model?

Bayley: The business model has not changed very much from the way that we envisioned it originally. We're really not a provider of legal services out of India as much as we are a global legal services company that has an operation in India, as we do in Europe, the UK, and United States, so we can move our work around in a way that we can deliver the highest quality work product at the best possible price. With that being said, the majority of the people that work in our organization are in India today. One of the things that has changed is that we originally thought we would provide a far broader set of services, but we came to realize that we would be far more effective and create more value for our clients if we focused on fewer, well-defined services that we could provide exceptionally well.

Editor: What do you see as the future of your organization?

Bayley: Just as my partners and I have built businesses in the past, which were based upon well-defined services that were provided at world-class levels, and broad and very deep business relationships with a relatively few number of organizations, our objective at Novus Law is to do the same with those corporations and law firms that understand the unique value that we can provide for them. Being all things to all people will not allow us to create the kind of value or provide the world-class services that we want our clients to be able to rely on and Novus Law to be known for in the legal industry.

Please email the interviewee at rbayley@novuslaw.com with questions about this interview or call 1-877-NovusLaw.