"We are going to vigorously defend actions, but we're going to do it with integrity and fair dealing, which is the way we would prefer if we have an adversary," Willis says.
For outside counsel, Interstate's modus operandi is unique compared to how other companies work, says Walter James, a Colleyville solo. The company is always looking for the right way to do things in a moral and ethical sense, he says.
"It is different, too, because there are certain times where you would love to advise them and do advise them that, "Look, if you do it this way, it may save you some money,' or, 'You know, it may do this, or it may do that," James says. "And, you know, they always come back to, 'Is it the right thing to do? Is it the moral thing to do? Is it the ethical thing to do?' "
When picking outside counsel, Holmes says, the lawyer must understand and be able to work within the standard. Holmes asks: Can they listen and hear what Interstate is saying, and can they get on the same page with the company?
"We want our outside counsel to join with us in really hitting the objectives and not necessarily winning the way many people might deem winning," Holmes says.
Ultimately, Holmes says, practicing the Golden Rule makes economic sense, too. Having access to courts is "awesome," but it's "generally not the most cost-effective way of resolving folks that have different perspectives," Holmes says. The company works on the front end to stay out of court, he says.
"So, we spend a lot of time really working with all of our business groups on trying [to find] the right way from the beginning. And, where we do have difference of opinions, we try to work to get resolutions done before we have to get into the litigation arena, whether that's through arbitration or litigating in any court dispute.
"So that's, for a long time, shaped what we do," he says.
Toward that goal, Willis says, Holmes has "done amazing things" in his leadership role at Interstate and within its corporate standard.
"What he's done from a culture perspective around servant leadership and living our corporate mission and philosophy has been amazing," Willis says.