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Title: Vice President and General Counsel, U.S. Location: Irving Age: 50 Texas Ranger Rule There’s nothing like being in the right place at the right time. For Ron K. Barger, a meeting in 1996 regarding the newly formed Archon Group investment-management company was the right place. As the story goes, someone said: “Do we know anybody who could be general counsel?” Barger said: “I’ll do it.” And they asked him for his r�sum�. Barger had spent 17 years with Strasburger & Price. Joining Archon was “the next step for my career,” he says. “I think lawyers enjoy challenges. I enjoyed the opportunity to go more to the business side and create something from scratch.” Barger decided to build his legal department following the Texas Ranger rule: “One riot, one ranger.” He hired roughly one lawyer for each business unit and created a 10-lawyer department largely by hiring attorneys who had been in private practice. “People coming in from an outside environment are very focused on client service,” he says. He has found the expertise he needs in firms more than in other legal departments, he says. One of those experts is Carleen Richards, director of legal services under Barger. She credits him with winning buy-in from Archon management to install electronic billing and ArchonConnect, a proprietary package for online collaboration with outside counsel. “It permits many more people to be involved in the transaction in a quicker manner,” without battling voice mail, Richards says. As Barger was building his department, he also was re-examining Archon’s extensive list of outside firms. “We had used over 250 firms, [with] legal fees in excess of $30 million a year,” he says. So he sent requests for proposals, sat down with 77 firms and finished with a list of 40 approved firms. Those firms are reviewed every year. How do they get fired? “We find your work is not acceptable, or something happens to the firm,” Barger says. One firm has dropped off the list because of conflicts and relationship issues. Once a firm is on the list, though, Barger strives to create a long-term relationship. Legal fees are down by 50 percent, which Barger says is only partly because of the RFPs. But it’s not just about saving costs, he says. The RFP process, he says, helped create controls for firm retention, as well as budgeting and monitoring of fees and other costs. “It really allowed us to streamline our process, educate the firms and create efficiencies in the way we are being represented in the U.S.,” Barger says. Those kinds of results are exactly why Archon management can’t bear to think of living without Barger. COO Ken Murphy sums it up: “I don’t think you’d replace Ron with one person. He’s somebody that people throughout the organization lean on.”

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