SKINNY jeans are one thing, but a skinny legal team? That's exactly what Levi Strauss is hoping for.
The jeans manufacturer has radically cut the number of law firms that it uses down to just two, in some serious (legal) weight loss.
According to reports in Corporate Counsel magazine in the United States, general counsel Hilary Krane said that in addition to yielding improved work at a lower cost from their external counsel, the deals Levi's have now demand better performance from the in-house team.
In ay last year, Levi Strauss chose law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to handle all of its worldwide legal work, except for global intellectual property cases. Just a month later, it handed its IP work to Townsend and Townsend and Crew.
Both firms are now being paid flat fees, Corporate Counsel reports. So the company is using alternative fee arrangements for 100 per cent of its routine outside counsel spend.
The flat fees, while not disclosed by figure value, were worked out by a review of historical spending trends and planned work for 2010, the Krane said.
According to a global finance and governance counsel who was interviewed by Corporate Counsel, the move by Levi Strauss had cut the company's outside legal spend by about 20 per cent.
Krane said the simplicity of flat fee billing has freed up her in-house team from having to negotiate fees with firms, as well as their having to keep track of administrative things.