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As one of the signatories to last year’s open letter from 25 general counsel, I am naturally interested in what makes the law firm-client relationship work better—and I’ve watched with interest the results of the GC Thought Leaders Experiment.

Throughout the summer, AdvanceLaw—an organization helping us and 200 GCs identify top counsel—shared a number of findings from the experiment. One finding in particular jumped out at me. In an article about law firm panels, the authors point out that the quality of lawyers’ work improves when clients convene law firm summits. They defined a summit as a “one- or two-day meeting for key outside counsel from several firms to bond with inside lawyers, learn from business clients, discuss strategy and be recognized for strong performance.” This chart from that article sums up the difference summits can make:

The data shows that clients hosting summits receive better performance from their law firms. I was interested to see this—and perhaps a bit relieved, as we have been investing in summits for some time now. Since 2016, Mastercard has brought together key players from our principal law firms for live panels, presentations and face-to-face conversations with our company’s leadership. This annual event takes place here in our headquarters. The goal is for our law firms to get to know us better, so we host them in our own living room (and dining room).

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