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Retain two firms in each country where your department has ongoing legal needs

The current general counsel of British Columbia Transmission Corp., John Irving, was previously the lead lawyer for CP Ships, Ltd., a company with legal needs in 88 countries. After Irving figured out in which of those countries CP Ships would need counsel, he “decided to limit the number of law firms used to two in each country – one generalist firm and one specializing in maritime law – negotiating volume discounts with each of these firms.”

This technique – a general firm and a specialist firm for your core legal competency in each important country – is described in LexPert, Vol. 9, Nov./Dec. 2007 at 61. Your department won’t win awards for convergence, but that is not important. You will serve your clients better with such a one-two punch (See my posts of Oct. 19, 2007; and Dec. 10, 2007 on how to find foreign firms.).