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The law firm panel starts with good intentions: the GC of a large company looks at the number of firms retained each year, realizes how fragmented the company’s spend is and reacts by kicking off a firm consolidation initiative. Everybody jumps on board, sweeping in the head of legal operations, senior lawyers, support staff, and perhaps finance and procurement. Several months (or a year) later, the legal team anoints a “preferred provider panel” of a smaller number of firms, and looks forward to deepening relationships, marked by eager and responsive service and across-the-board savings.

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