The Covenant with Counsel, issued as part of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Value Challenge, sets forth 16 commitments by clients and 17 by outside counsel. Eight of them fit together as pairs, as golden rules for relationships, as reciprocal commitments. My list of them is in order of the client commitments.
“Define our objectives in the engagement and advise you if they change” (Client 1) meshes with “Learn your business and strategic objectives and apply that understanding to your matters” (Firm 1).
“Use value-based terms to reward success and efficiency” (Client 3) meshes with ”Proactively offer value-based alternative fee structures” (Firm 5).
“Understand that budgets may need to be revised for unforeseen events” (Client 4) pairs with “Provide budgets and estimates for specific engagements upfront and advise you immediately if there may be any material changes” (Firm 6) as well as “Understand that we are responsible for our budgets and estimates and that our experience forms a basis for accuracy” (Firm 7).
“Designate one lawyer to serve as our relationship manager” (Client 8) complements “Designate one lawyer to serve as our relationship manager, whose time will not be billed for this role” (Firm 4).
“Be flexible and accommodating in dealing with potential conflict of interest issues that may arise.” (Client 9) matches with “Not ask for blanket conflict waivers and discuss with you any client or issue conflicts” (Firm 12).
“Provide training opportunities for your associates by discussing creative arrangements up front (Client 10) echoes “Train our associates efficiently and effectively without imposing additional and unwarranted costs on you” (Firm 10).
“Support our own as well as your pro bono and diversity activities” (Client 15) joins with “Continue our commitment to pro bono and diversity activities” (Firm 15).
“Ensure our legal team ‘walks this talk’ (Client 16) has its counterpart in “Ensure every team member working on your projects walks this talk” (Firm 17).