In-house counsel at the world's largest convenience store chain analyzed legal spend data to find that real estate costs comprised a disproportionate share of the project budget, and the work was non-standardized. She asked us to help with cost predictability, process standardization, and reduction of delays in new store openings and deals that are terminated.
We began with an audit of the processes underlying their leasing matters, which encompassed outside counsel, the in-house legal team, and the real estate development team. We created a detailed, 15-page process map that enabled the team to see where it could improve on efficiency, find the right people to do the right job, and cut down on unnecessary tasks. This allowed us to work with the retailer to negotiate and close deals more quickly on a fixed fee basis per deal, resulting in lower legal costs. We coupled this process improvement initiative with the implementation of our SeyfarthLink web-based collaboration platform that allowed the legal department insight into the performance of our attorneys, and their real estate representatives in the field. Through disciplined tracking of key data points involved in each transaction (including closing dates), deal cycle time, and legal spend, we were able to report out on trends and statistics that provide the client valuable information about the nature of their portfolio, including information that could be taken to their C-Suite.
Our solution reduced total outside legal spend by 19 percent in real estate. In addition, the number of terminated new store deals declined from 25 percent to near 1 percent. Our work has been recognized for innovation and client value by the American Lawyer, Financial Times and the Association of Corporate Counsel.