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Pictured, from left, are Liam Brown of Elevate and Valorem’s Patrick Lamb and Nicole Nehama Auerbach.

Jeffrey Carr, general counsel of publicly traded chemical distributor Univar Inc., puts it bluntly. He currently pays about 100 law firms, and that is about 80 too many.

Carr told those firms about as much in an April 12 letter that included his vision for a brand-new relationship between Univar and its outside counsel. Central to that relationship, technically called a “covenant,” is this philosophy: Univar will pay its outside lawyers based on the value the company measures it has received, and that includes having the power to reduce compensation to its external legal services providers.

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