May 01, 2012

Landing the Big Fish: Small Firms Representing Big Companies

Kathleen Balthrop Havener

"Never count yourself out.” If you read no further in this article, hear this message from Cathy Lamboley, a lawyer with C. A. Lamboley Consulting, LLC, and former senior vice president and general counsel for Shell Oil Company, who graciously granted an interview for this article. “If you’re comfortable with the lawyers and you know they can handle your work, nothing would stop a Fortune 500—or even a Fortune 50—company from hiring a small firm.” In other words, in this as so many other things, “It’s all about the relationships.” While Lamboley was general counsel at Shell, 100 percent of Shell’s intellectual property work was handled through a firm with no more than eight or ten lawyers. If, in that small firm’s judgment, the matter required the depth of a larger firm, with Shell’s agreement they would bring on a larger firm, but the small firm remained in control.

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