Our company engages in the manufacture of landing gear portions for commercial airplanes and recently, the company was awarded $50,000,000 five-year subcontract for landing gear parts for next generation of commercial airplanes. Our company has never involved in any litigation cases or had an in-house counsel. This paper aims to define the criteria for selecting counsel to represent our company in reviewing the 50-page contract from the legal department of the airplane manufacturer. This contract presents a set of new challenges for the company owing to the limited experience of the company and therefore, the need for the preparation of this proposal. Covered in this proposal will be the criteria followed in obtaining the legal counsel representation, analysis of the factors that were considered during the selection process, and the process of selecting of "first-cut' and "final-cut' lawyers and law firms. Finally, the paper will propose the type of business terms for the legal counsel based on either short-term or long-term relationships.
The Selection Criteria
The process of selecting a legal counsel for our company followed a deliberate and careful process based on the examination of unique capabilities, academic and professional qualifications, legal experiences, and compliance to legal requirements (Caryl, 2011). Furthermore, the bar participation and association of the lawyers or law firms was also analyzed. The selection process involved the identification of potential lawyers from adverts, personal referrals from practicing lawyers and reputable lawyers. Second, the proposed lawyers were contacted by telephone and mail, discussed our problem with them, and sought the available options. They were contacted for purposes of developing initial impressions before deciding on any appointment. Third, the investigation process for the proposed lawyers was done by obtaining as much information as possible. This entailed searching the lawyer and their law firms on internet search engines, investigation of their websites, analysis of their professional writings, and developing initial impressions (Caryl, 2011).
Fourth, the proposed counsels were gauged to ascertain whether they could meet the requirements of our selection criteria. According to our requirements, the proposed counsel needed to have a minimum of 10 years' experience in commercial business, particularly within the aviation industry, provide proof of experience in representing similar cases within the aviation industry, fall within the competitive range in terms of hourly rates and retainer, and be complaint with the rules and regulations of the Aviation Administration. Finally, the proposed counsels had to be highly networked with other relevant companies within the industry.
Important and/or Least important factors during the selection process
A number of factors were critical during the selection process and this included the networking ability, experience, qualifications, and legal compliance. Networking ability was critical because it enhances our company's competitive ability in the industry because our counsel can be hired to represent other firms within the aviation industry thereby enhancing the legality of our product. Understanding and compliance with legal requirements within the industry would position our company at an ideal situation when it comes to legal representation (Cheeseman, 2010). Lastly, coupled with exemplary qualifications, experience matters and hence, it is a crucial factor for the establishment of our legal foundation and credibility of our counsel.
Similarly, the factors that were allocated less importance was the retainers and hourly fees the hourly legal fees, terms of contract and negotiability of the contracts. Hourly fees and retainers are negotiable items, and hence, they can be decided upon depending on the results of the contract. Additionally, our contract is worth millions of dollars and as such, paying for legal fees would not be a huge problem to our company. Concerning the relationships and terms of the contract, these items can be decided based on results, good faith, and through associations. As such, they were not allocated much weight during the selection process.
'First cut' and 'Final Cut' Lawyers and Law Firms
Our selection process led to the review of four lawyers/law firms during the first round. These lawyers/law firms were selected following the criterion outlined in the selection process. Majority of information for these firms that made to the 'first cut' was obtained from internet searches and from legal libraries. These four lawyers and/or law firms included the following:
Krause Aviation Specialists and Law Firm
This law firm has many subsidiaries across Dallas and concentrates in mass disaster and tort litigation in the aviation industry. It has vast experience in the industry that has been acquired since its inception in 1952. Majority of members in this law firm held senior positions in the Plaintiff Steering committee in addition to representing most of airline disaster victims all over the world (Krause, 2011).
Quinn Kenneth P.
Quinn is among the most sought and top ranked lawyers on aviation practices and matters in Washington. He once held the position of Chief Counsel at FAA and was a counselor to the Transportation Secretary. Mr. Quinn is currently the Secretary and General Counsel at the Aviation Safety Foundation and publishes editorials and legal journals.
Clifford Law Offices
This law firm is primarily involved with the representation of families of aviation disasters and aviation crashes, handles difficult aviation damages, and product liability claims. Mr. Clifford is popular for obtaining a verdict worth $28.2 million for an elderly lady and as well, a $15 million settlement for a resident of Chicago (Clifford Law, 2011).
Ferachi Michael D.
Ferachi is currently the managing director of McGlinchey Stafford PPLC and specializes on commercial litigation, construction litigation, commercial finance litigation, and aviation representation among others. He is also a renowned law lecturer on various litigation topics.
Law Firms/Lawyers that made to the 'final cut'
The selection and search process led to the identification of two law firms for the final cut. These were Krause Aviation Specialists and Law Firm and Clifford Law Offices. This selection was based on experience, performance, and relevance to the aviation industry. These two law firms were proposed for final consideration for selection in representing our company.
Based on continuous research, detailed telephone interview, and mail interviews, I recommend Krause Aviation Specialists because of its vast experience and highly qualified team of legal representatives. The Law firm is also highly networked with contacts in different parts of the world. The law firm is also largely known in the aviation industry due to its exemplary reputation and successful representation. Finally, the company is primarily concerned with commercial activities as compared to Clifford Law Offices that is primarily concerned with representing clients.
Proposed Business Terms and Relationships
The terms of the contracted will be negotiated depending on the prevailing rates of similar services within the industry. Renewal or renegotiation will be done on a contractual basis and will be guided by good faith and equitable working relationships. I support long-term contracts based on mutual performance and strong relationships. I believe that Krause Aviation Specialists will provide our company with high quality legal services and networks that will be critical in enhancing our competitive advantage.
Caryl M. (2011). Client's Ten Commandments of Retaining Counsel. Retrieved on October 31, 2011 from http://michaelcaryl.com/Services/JustforClients/CLIENTSTENCOMMANDMENTS/tabi d/1709/Default.aspx
Cheeseman, H. R. (2010). Business law: Legal environment, online commerce, business ethics, and international issues (7th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Clifford Law. (2011). Clifford Law Offices of Chicago. Retrieved from http://aviation.cliffordlaw.com/lp/aviation-accident-law-firms