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Pre-empt competitors from retaining the law firm you might want

Frank McCormack, Head of Legal Services for Balfour Beatty, makes a point about “large projects” where competitors each seek legal representation (all I can imagine are lawsuits against an industry or several companies vying to buy one company). Commenting in Global Counsel, Sept. 2003 at 30, McCormack says that “we are happy to consider ‘front-loading’ fees, in effect we pay a deposit to secure the people we want.”

This practice, which I have not heard of, reminds me of situations where law departments retain many law firms in order to bar them, through conflicts of interest, from representing competitors