Law Scribbler

Jeff Carr ends his retirement to join Valorem Law Group

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Victor Li

Photo of Victor Li by Saverio Truglia

In the end, Jeffrey Carr’s retirement from the legal industry lasted a shade under one year—or as Cher calls it, “an eternity.”

When we last checked in with Carr, he had just wrapped up his 21-year career at FMC Technologies, which included the last 13 years as general counsel. Carr was perhaps best known for creating the Alliance Counsel Engagement System (ACES), a method of hiring outside counsel that essentially reversed the traditional billable hour system by rewarding attorneys for accomplishing goals quickly and efficiently. Carr emphasized that, while he was happy to have time to race his vintage cars and travel with his wife, he was not hanging up his gloves permanently. Instead, he would take advantage of his downtime to decide the best way for him to continue pursuing legal innovation and pushing for changes in the legal industry.

Carr has chosen Valorem Law Group as his platform for change. The firm announced today that Carr has joined the firm as of counsel. According to firm founder Pat Lamb, his real title will be “prevention czar/big thinker/ideas guy”—a title that will reflect his advisory role at the firm as well as his commitment to leading the firm’s preventive law platform, ValoremNext.

“Jeff is one of a handful of GCs who, from my standpoint, has most impacted the profession over the last 25 years,” Lamb says. “We’ve never had a former inside lawyer in our ranks, and Jeff provides a level of insight into business that we’ve never had.”

Lamb, a longtime outside counsel to FMC Technologies, had hoped to land Carr for a while, but took a hands-off approach—at first. “I encouraged him not to make any decisions for at least six months,” Lamb says. “I kept my fingers crossed hoping that he would consider us. Out of any platform he could go to, I believed we were more philosophically aligned with his objectives.”

For his part, Carr says he was drawn to Valorem in part because of his previous dealings with them. “Pat used to say to me that he woke up every morning thinking about what he could do to get FMC Technologies out of this case today,” Carr says. “That was a refreshing view of legal services. It’s not ‘let’s win the case,’ but ‘how to reach their objectives as efficiently as possible.’ That’s the definition of value.”

To that end, Carr says he sees ValoremNext as the next logical step in his career. He says ValoremNext will advise clients on a panoply of issues, including regulatory work, products liability, securities, human resources and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Rather than fixing problems as they come up, the goal of ValoremNext is to fundamentally change the way a company acts, making it better and improving its reputation.

“I love to tell people that the best legal problem is the one you never have,” Carr says. “Pat is a true trial lawyer, a fantastic litigator. For me, it was pretty refreshing to hear someone who earns his livelihood solving problems after they happen to talk about preventing problems from ever coming up.”

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