Corporate Counsel: There can be only one
Little more than a year ago, Paul Smith, a partner at Eversheds, received a call from the irate head of a European law firm. Up until then, the European firm had regularly worked for Tyco International. Now, the caller informed Smith, Eversheds had just taken 37% of his Tyco business. What, he asked, did the Eversheds partner intend to do about it? As he recounts the story, Smith rolls his eyes at yet another example of a law firm failing to grasp some basic fundamentals of client service in the modern world. But the caller did have reason for concern. Smith had just led Eversheds' successful pitch to become Tyco's adviser of choice for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. At a stroke, the US security and fire business slashed its legal advisers for day-to-day matters in the region, such as commercial contracts and intellectual property, from a high point of 250 to just one. In early 2007, Tyco handed Eversheds a two-year mandate estimated to be worth more than £10m in total.
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