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A law firm that takes on a major block of work might set up an office near the client’s executives

A chapter in Robert L. Haig, Ed., Successful Partnering Between Inside and Outside Counsel (Thomson Reuters/West 2009 Supplement), Sec. 78:21.20, describes a long-term relationship between ServiceMaster and Hinshaw & Culbertson. In 2002, the company and the firm agreed that Hinshaw & Culbertson would handle work for a subsidiary based in Memphis. The law firm did not at that time have an office in Memphis. To satisfy the client, the firm agreed the lead partner would spend approximately two days per week in Memphis, at the firm’s expense.

If a portfolio of matters taken on by a law firm is sufficiently large, it is quite sensible for the firm to establish an office, or at least a regular and substantial presence, near its primary client’s executives (See my post of April 23, 2007: value of outside counsel proximity; and March 19, 2007: arrangement with distant firms on travel costs to match nearby counsel.).

For the same reasons that nearness matters for external counsel, co-location with key clients matters for internal counsel (See my post of Feb. 5, 2006: proximity; Feb. 12, 2006: proximity of lawyers on the same floor of a law department; July 31, 2005: general counsel who have their offices near their lawyers; June 7, 2006: dueling best practices about contiguous lawyers; Nov. 13, 2006: co-location with clients; Nov. 25, 2005: locations of corporate counsel; and June 20, 2008: GE and co-location of its Pacific lawyers.).