Law Department Counseling
Marc Mayerson has worked with some of the most sophisticated in-house law departments in the world, and this experience provides him with the experience and insight to offer key consulting guidance on legal department operations. This work includes helping manage litigation against a company, advising on e-discovery and records management, and employed-lawyers and corporate officer liability insurance. Protecting the company and its officers and directors while ensuring that insurance assets will be accessible -- and securing accessing to insurance-company financial support -- are key elements in successful crisis-management programs.
As a pioneer in the use of computers in large-scale litigation, Marc has assisted law departments in case management, particularly as to mass-tort litigation. For example, one client was facing thousands of claims across the country about a pharmaceutical product. More than 1000 lawyers were engaged nationally in defending the matter; firms submitted invoices on paper; management was not in a position to understand the legal spend; no one was able to tell the shape of the ongoing litigation; and defense costs and potential settlements were to be submitted to insurance companies for reimbursement. In a three-month period, Marc led the transformation of the entire process.
Marc designed a standard billing protocol for all the firms to use that divided all the work into eight categories, split further by jurisdiction. In addition to writing the guidelines and achieving buy-in from the outside law firms, Marc dispatched colleagues to train the principal law firms on the new billing structures; webinars were conducted for all the law firms for which in-person training was not provided. Simultaneously, Marc led the RFP process with electronic-billing vendors to be the new platform for all law firms mandatorily to use to submit bills. (To our knowledge, the project ended up being the largest ebilling matter ever undertaken by the vendor.)
To ease the burden on the law department's review of the legal bills, a legal outsourcing company was hired with a dedicated group charged with reviewing the bills submitted by the firms. Written guidelines were provided to the bill reviewers as to what acceptable billing was. Marc dispatched a colleague to provide a half-day training to the bill reviewers more generally on pharmaceutical-liability mass tort litigation.
The bill reviewers had a two-tier process to eyeball every bill, and then the bill was made available for final review by the responsible in-house counsel. Firms could appeal any denial of a portion of a bill, undergoing an iterative process of review and discussion (with a complete audit trail).
Once in-house counsel approved the bill, if the particular bill was for an amount above that counsel's payment authority, a second tier review was provided by a more senior law department official. Once the bill was then finalized for payment, the insurance companies were notified that the payment was going to be authorized (against the expectation of reimbursement from the insurer), and the insurers were given controlled access to review the approved bill before it was sent to accounts payable.
Concurrently, a specialist litigation consulting firm was retained to create monthly reports using the billing and case data to provide the senior in-house counsel with an overview of the entire legal spend on the matter -- and where costs were increasing.
This monthly report provided a good snapshot of the costs, including whether any particular firm was having unusual amounts of its bills rejected for payment. The consulting firm tied the case-load, matter-management system and the legal-billing system with the company's own internal sales data to understand and project how many possible plaintiffs were in a jurisdiction (because they received the pharmaceutical product) against how many actual plaintiffs had filed suit. In other words, in-house counsel could understand in which jurisdictions money was being spent, how far through the potential cohort of plaintiffs was the spend in a particular jurisdiction, and which jurisdictions were left with unasserted claims.
In other words, the entire process was re-engineered to create normalized data so that the law department could discuss with management what was being spent, for what reasons, with what controls, and what the projections were. Ultimately, nearly $1 billion dollars in legal fees were run through this system.
Marc Mayerson had the breadth of experience in large-scale litigation, computer technology, insurance recovery of litigation costs, negotiating with insurance companies, protecting management from shareholder suits, and the trust of the in-house counsel to envision the entire system and lead its execution.
Marc also counsels companies on electronic discovery (e-discovery) and records management. He has advised on instant messaging, voicemail systems, and implementation of litigation holds. Because Marc understands the technology -- and can stand up in court and defend decision-making to a judge -- Marc is able to provide sound counsel on the most defensible approaches. Further, Marc has spoken to industry groups on moving from the defensive storage of documents to implementing a knowledge-management system to harvest business value from the materials being retained.
The Mayerson Firm PLLC can provide fresh eyes and sound counsel to law departments.
Finally, as an expert in insurance, including legal-malpractice insurance, Marc has provide advise on "employed lawyers" insurance policies, which are intended to protect in-house counsel from the risk of being sued for alleged breach of duty. This type of insurance has become more important as more and more claims are being asserted against in-house lawyers. As an experienced policyholder lawyer, Marc Mayerson has advised individual in-house counsel on the scope of coverage and the risk faced in today's contentious litigation and enforcement environment.