In-House Counsel

ACC hails virtual law firm Axiom among its ‘value champions’

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More corporate legal departments are cutting costs through greater use of nontraditional legal service providers and boosting in-house capabilities, the Association of Corporate Counsel reported this week.

The ACC announced the 12 winners of its 2013 ACC Value Champion initiative, honoring innovative legal departments and in-house counsel/law firm client service models that have successfully increased efficiency and cut legal spending, according to a press release. Among those honored for their commitment to fixed-fee billing methods, technological advancements, and greater collaboration among clients and co-counsel law firms are: Mondelez International and Axiom, a virtual law firm from which lawyers work remotely or at clients’ offices; Nike Inc. with Seyfarth Shaw; and “Hot Fuel Group” (a high-profile case with 13 defendants) with Shook, Hardy & Bacon.

Legal departments of corporations such as Office Depot, United Technologies Corp. and Bank of America were noted for employing alternative global pricing strategies with outside counsel and reducing the number of outside firms they hire, which resulted in better relationships with their partner firms, according to the release.

“The ACC 2013 Value Champions send a powerful message about what general counsel value most in law firms,” Veta T. Richardson, ACC president and CEO said in the release. “The legal marketplace is changing and more and more corporate lawyers around the world are both driving efficiency in their own departments and moving beyond the billable hour.”

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