Integrate clients with their litigation: ChevronTexaco’s COBALT and its extranet

To engage clients better in the defense of the 10,000 lawsuits ChevronTexaco faces, in 2004 the company’s new general counsel, Charles James, created the ChevronTexaco Objectives-Based Litigation Technique, Corp. Legal Times, Vol. 15, Sept. 2005 at 37.

The initiative combines several useful features: (1) it defines the responsibilities of everyone involved in litigation – clients, outside firms, inside lawyers; (2) it pushes clients to involve their inside lawyers at the first sign of possible litigation; (3) it requires early assessment of a case (ECA); (4) it assures that clients commit adequate resources for the case, which means the case must be aligned with the strategy and goals of the client; and (5) it encourages post-mortems, retrospective look backs at resolved lawsuits to figure out how to reduce their cost and number. (See my post of Aug. 3, 2005 about Baxter’s Litigation Advisory Board.)

COBALT also has plans to create a Web-based, company-owned extranet. The extranet will help with document discovery, knowledge management, metrics, and generally fathoming litigation.

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