When he was senior corporate counsel for Sherwin-Williams Co. back in 1994, Mark Smolik figured out that the Cleveland-based paints company was bleeding money on outside counsel in Brazil, where its business had expanded through acquisitions. 

Armed with a financial analysis showing that the company could handle the work in-house and save a bundle, he went to the CEO and proposed opening a legal outpost in São Paulo. The CEO was sold. But then the exec blindsided Smolik.

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