Cave: In my world, diversity tends to take
care of itself, because we have an international company and we’re all over the
world, and so we’re dealing in lots of different cultures, and our employees are very
One of the things that is important to
me, however, when I’m looking at law
firms is their sense of social responsibility,
in particular the pro bono work that they
do. If I have a suggestion to a law firm, it
may be about getting involved in a particular area of pro bono; it always makes me
feel better if they take that to heart.
Eigo: How about the intangibles, like
Weiss: You definitely want your counsel
to be a zealous advocate for your interests,
but we see a lot of repeat sellers and lenders
and even buyers out in the marketplace.
Often, our outside counsel is the face of
the transaction. That’s who the other side
walks away from thinking of when they
think of Cole. So while we obviously want
to get a deal, we want to do it in a way that
it doesn’t feel like it’s good cop/bad cop.
We don’t treat it as a zero-sum game, and
we expect our outside counsel to have that
same attitude when it comes to working a
Bedside manner, and the way you hold
yourself out because you are a reflection of
the firm, is very important to us.
Eigo: Are you looking for alternative fee
arrangements? Flat fees or blended models?
Cave: I’m looking to get the best value,
and so we’re always looking for alternative
ways. I’m always leveraging to keep hourly
rates down or not increasing above a normal pace. Then we do lots of work that is
Eigo: Do you scrutinize legal bills more
than ever before?
Weiss: No, not dramatically. This is probably going to be music to the audience’s
ears, but we don’t scrutinize bills that
much. It’s not because we’re lazy and it’s
not because we’re not looking to get the
best possible deal. It’s because we demand
a lot of our outside counsel, and we want to
be treated as if we’re your only client, even
though we know we’re not. Part of the way
you get that level of service is to pay them
what they’re worth. We demand a lot of
outside counsel, so we want them to feel
Of course, it’s not a gravy train. At the
end of each year, we see what we paid each
firm and discuss with them what a possible
volume discount should be from their standard rates in the next year.
Eigo: Any last piece of advice?
Hubbard: The most important thing is
substantive knowledge. I really need someone who knows the answer or is willing to
talk through the answer, and is willing to
give some options. I do not need a treatise
on the fire code issue. I don’t need to know
how fire codes first began and the importance of them in society. I also need someone who really understands our industry.
I would encourage people, when you are
finding your niche market, to focus on
Tim Eigo moderates the event. Gia Altreche, of Lewis Roca Rothgerber, introduces the speakers.
some industries and really understand
Loo: I agree. And don’t be afraid to tell me
that you think there’s another lawyer at a
different law firm who you think is better
for us; we’ve had that happen on a few
occasions, and it just raises my level of con-
fidence in you.
There are times when I know firms
don’t have the expertise, and they have to
do research. I really appreciate it when they
write off that time, and I don’t have to
approach them about it.
Weiss: It’s very important that outside
counsel knows why we engaged them in
the first place, and it’s in large part
because we’re very busy doing other
either legal or non-legal stuff. If outside
counsel can understand that while there’s
one of us but maybe 15 or 12 or 10 or
however many people you have on your
bench, if you are to run everything
through me, that creates a roadblock that
doesn’t accomplish the goals of why we
hired you in the first place. The advice I
would give would be, if it’s a routine mat-
ter with no significant issues, maybe run
with it and just let me know. If there are
significant issues, let’s talk about them,
but don’t just give me a pile of informa-
tion and expect me to identify what those
issues are. That’s why we hired you.
Cave: My advice would be to be flexible
and work with us; tailor how you provide
service in a cost-effective way. If we get into
some issues or questions down the road, be
willing to compromise. Firms that do that
earn my business many times over. AZ AT