ACC Blog Series Focus: Client-Firm Management Of Litigation Work

Monday, February 28, 2011 - 01:00

The Association of Corporate Counsel has launched a second installment of the ACC In-house ACCess value-based blog series, "Client-Firm Value Conversations." Pairing client and outside counsel posts, the series is designed to examine the new balancing act that many lawyers are endeavoring to make happen in today's legal environment - one where outside counsel costs are under scrutiny and the billable hour is being questioned as a business model. This new blog pair explores how to improve the value returned using a different approach to managing litigation. Specifically, it chronicles the evolving relationship between the KAYAK legal team, a smaller-sized department at a growing company, and its outside counsel, Valorem Law Group LLC, a national litigation law firm specializing in value-based fee arrangements. For readers of ACC In-house ACCess, our new guest bloggers, Karen Klein, general counsel of KAYAK, and one of Valorem's founders and partner, Nicole Nehama Auerbach, share their best practices and discuss what has proven most effective in their partnership managing KAYAK's litigation issues. Posts from Klein and Auerbach address fundamental client-firm issues, such as creating value-based fee arrangements in the litigation context; determining metrics of value and which metrics matter; finding the balance of strategic roles and responsibilities of both parties; addressing changes along the way; and outlining the challenges of litigation management for a small law department.

Susan Hackett, ACC Value Challenge leader and ACC's senior vice president and general counsel, describes the series' second installment as an unedited look at the evolution of a successful relationship. "This latest series will help dispel presumptions that value-based relationships are not applicable in the litigation context and also debunk the notion that smaller law departments are not well leveraged to hire firms to handle work using value-based fees." Ms. Hackett adds, "Karen and Nicole have fostered a strong relationship and have embraced fee structures that were not a part of their experience earlier in their respective careers at larger companies and firms. In the weeks to come, their discoveries will show that value-based relationships provide a natural path for both inside and outside counsel. Significant progress can be made when the relationship is built on trust, value, transparency and aligned interests."

Beginning in March, Klein and Auerbach's relationship will be brought to life through weekly posts on ACC's blog, In-house ACCess. Following the KAYAK-Valorem installment, ACC's "Client-Firm Value Conversations" blog series will feature another pairing with unique insights on different matters, needs and perspectives.

The series will continue focusing on how value plays out in practical, everyday relationships across the gamut of clients and firms and their legal needs.