British Petroleum’s law department has identified 15 to 20 outside law firms as core to its legal business. According to Jim Neath, BP’s assistant general counsel litigation in Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 14, May 2006 at 64, that score of firms is paid the largest share of the company’s outside counsel budget (See my post of today on Schering-Plough’s convergence Core Team.).
In addition, “Each year these firms are evaluated on more than 30 performance criteria, including case outcomes, litigation and project skills, cost, diversity and success in key relationships.” The reference does not say who completes the evaluations, but BP meets with each firm to talk over the firm’s “scorecard”. BP shifts more work to firms that are “most closely aligned with company goals,” which I take alignment to be expressed as higher scores on the rating system.
“We are told by these firms that the rigor and transparency of our process are unique.” (See my post of March 30, 2006 on partners fawning and flattering their client lawyers.)