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David Howard, deputy general counsel of Microsoft Corp. January 15, 2015. HANDOUT.

Microsoft Corp. is taking another look at how it works with outside law firms, placing a stronger focus on alternative fee arrangements, retainer payments, diversity and developing relationships with outside counsel that go beyond the billable hour.

The company’s legal department began using the new approach, dubbed the Strategic Partner Program, July 1 and has named 13 partner law firms so far, including Arent Fox, Covington & Burling, Davis Wright Tremaine, Fish & Richardson and Greenberg Traurig.

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