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Unusual history between a law department and an e-discovery service provider

A paragraph about the law department of Qwest Communications, winner of Corporate Counsel’s Best Legal Department of 2008 award, intrigues me. A consultant worked closely with the legal department of Qwest for four years. “Qwest lawyers helped [the consultant] create a company, Falcon Discovery, that coordinates the company’s electronic discovery.” This approach may be superior to creating and maintaining an in-house discovery team.

But my main point goes in a different direction. Evidently, Falcon Discovery is now a freestanding startup. My question is whether Qwest’s law department monetized its investment in the new company (See my post of June 15, 2008: legal department patents and IP rights in inventions.)? Large law departments can provide the equivalent of seed money, not to mention pilot programs and references, for fledgling companies. Legal OnRamp may be an example of such an investment underway right now. In those entrepreneurial situations, law departments deserve a quid pro quo.