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We couldn’t help but be impressed with E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company when we reviewed its application for Best Legal Department. The Wilmington-based chemical giant has set the standard for minority representation, among both its in-house attorneys and outside counsel. And over the years it’s continued to up the ante. But DuPont isn’t a one-note legal department; we were impressed by its well-established, pioneering partnerships with a select group of preferred law firm providers, and its ability to continually refine that relationship. DuPont is on a mission: to drive diversity not only into its department, but into the legal profession as a whole. It’s not enough that 33 percent of the company’s 165 attorneys are women, or that 33 percent of them are African American. It’s equally important to DuPont’s legal brass that its 42 preferred outside law firms are diverse, too. “We [export] our diversity objectives to the outside firms,” says general counsel Stacey Mobley. “With a diverse staff you’re going to get a more innovative, complete, and creative solution.” DuPont doesn’t take no for an answer. When outside counsel complained to Ramona Romero, manager of law firm partnering, that qualified minority and women candidates were hard to find, DuPont brought applicants to the firms. It has sponsored minority job fairs across the country for more than a decade. In December the company also pledged, along with four other Fortune 500 companies, to place an aggregate of at least $16 million of business with minority-owned law firms in 2006. DuPont’s not just about being diverse. It wants to keep qualified professionals in-house and at its firms once they’re hired, too. That’s why it established women and minority counsel networks for attorneys both at DuPont and at its preferred outside law firms. Network meetings feature success stories and speeches from experienced lawyers who provide guidance and a sounding board for concerns. But diversity isn’t the only place we think DuPont leads the pack. It’s almost obligatory to talk about how the department manages outside counsel. By now everyone knows how DuPont slashed its outside firm roster in 1996. But there’s more than only numbers at work here. Just as DuPont asks its outside counsel to look like its legal department, it wants its preferred legal providers to act like its legal department, too. To that end, it’s implemented an “act as one” policy that compels otherwise competing firms to play nice on company matters. The philosophy “may not resonate with the managing partner, but [it] distinguishes [firms] in the minds of DuPont,” says Thomas Sager, assistant GC and chief litigation counsel. It’s pretty simple in execution. DuPont rewards firms that cooperate with others on company matters by awarding them more DuPont work. Sure, the legal department isn’t perfect; while its lawyers volunteer for lots of worthy causes, the company’s organized pro bono effort didn’t impress us as much as the other finalists. And DuPont lawyers may go a bit over the top touting their accomplishments � just check out the Web site. But there’s substance behind the talk. The DuPont way � giving firms business in return for loyalty and cooperation � means that the company can extract such concessions as alternative-fee arrangements with long-term partner firms, including discounted flat fees, and contingency compensation pools. This ultimately drives down costs. Mobley says that the DuPont way of doing things is good for the legal profession, too. It’s allowed the company to contain costs, keeping a constant operating budget of 0.9 percent of the company’s total revenue since 2000, while still receiving a high-quality work product. It’s also shown firms that it’s possible to work together to achieve success. “We want to develop a strategic relationship with our firms,” says Mobley. “They collaborate . . . one firm trying the case, one firm doing the basic research. We put the pieces together.” Company: E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

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