1 paper synthesizes the authors’ longer Report on the Power of
Partnering, written with the encouragement of NAMWOLF (the
National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms).
The complete Report is available at www.scharfbanks.com and
www.namwolf.org. In developing these recommendation, the
authors gratefully acknowledge a distinguished Advisory Group
including James K. Grasty, Vice President and Assistant General
Counsel, Merck & Co, Inc.; Stacey Gray, Stacey Gray, P.C. Monica
Holland, Partner, Davis Polk; Denise F. Keane, General Counsel,
Altria Group, Inc.; Dionna (Deedee) Litvin, Assistant Counsel,
Merck & Co., Inc.; Julie S. Mazza, Corporate Counsel, DuPont;
Maria D. Melendez, Partner, Sidley Austin LLP; and Robert N.
Weiner, Partner, Arnold & Porter.
2 See, e.g., report of the August 7, 2016 American Bar Association
Showcase Program, sponsored by the ABA 360 Commission
on Diversity and Inclusion, featuring General Counsel
approaches to outside counsel diversity. https://bol.bna.com/
3 See, e.g., 2014 Report of the NAWL Annual Survey of Retention
and Proportion of Women in Law Firms, www.nawl.org/ (select
“Resources” from drop-down menu, then “Publications,”
“Surveys,” and “February 25, 2014 Survey Report PDF
4 Every NAM WOLF member is annually certified by the National
Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) or the
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and is
Martindale Hubbell AV-ranked.
N. NATE SAINT VICTOR (
is an Executive Director in Morgan Stanley’s Legal Department
where he counsels on the design and distribution of alternative
investments and other financial products. Previously, he practiced
investment management law at Davis Polk. Saint Victor mobilizes
resources for innovation and change within the legal profession
through his leadership positions with the Alliance of Securities and
Financial Educators (ASAFE), the Council of Urban Professionals
(CUP), Legal Outreach, NAM WOLF, and the New York City Bar
Association. In 2015, he completed an appointment as the Chair
of Morgan Stanley’s Legal and Compliance Division Diversity and
STEPHANIE A. SCHARF (
email@example.com) is a partner
with Scharf Banks Marmor LLC, a women-owned law firm nationally
recognized for the quality of its legal work and business counseling.
The firm represents global enterprises, publicly held companies
and private businesses in complex litigation, corporate compliance,
employment, intellectual property, and life sciences. Before forming
her current firm, Scharf was a partner in the litigation practices at
Kirkland & Ellis and Jenner & Block. She is a former President of the
National Association of Women Lawyers, and author of the recent
ABA report, “First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the
ANTONIO C. CASTRO (
a managing partner of Zumpano Castro, LLC, and chairs the firm’s
Commercial Litigation group. With more than 20 years of experience
and fluent in Spanish, Castro has handled litigation and arbitrations
in the U.S., and in Central and South America.
A Checklist for Collaboration with
NAMWOLF Firms and Majority Firms
1. INITIATING THE COLLABORATION
■ ❏ Choose outside counsel firms. List why each selected firm was
chosen—for what capabilities.
■ ❏ Confirm that the client and the outside counsel firms share the
same understanding of the value that each firm brings. State
which particular persons have communicated that understanding, and to whom.
■ ❏ Set an early date for the client and key lawyers from each firm to
meet in person at the beginning of the engagement.
■ ❏ When staffing any matter, outside counsel should strive to ensure
their team of lawyers is diverse.
2. STRUCTURING THE COLLABORATION
■ ❏ Identify which specific client representative is in charge of overseeing the engagement.
■ ❏ Identify the areas of principal responsibility and of support work
for each firm.
■ ❏ Identify which firm partner is in charge of overseeing the collaboration of his/her firm’s work.
■ ❏ Identify who will have ultimate decision-making authority on the
matter in a given area; and who will have overall decision-making
authority for the matter as a whole.
■ ❏ Determine how the client will assess the value of each firm’s contribution. Will it be a combination of quality of work, timeliness,
specialized knowledge, cost, and/or other factors?
3. ONGOING COMMUNICATION
■ ❏ Determine how often the lead lawyers from each firm will meet
(at least by telephone) with the client.
•Set regular times for meetings/required attendance by each firm.
•Determine that the frequency of meetings is appropriate for the
nature of the matter.
■ ❏ Determine who will provide a written agenda for meetings, which
sets out strategy, ongoing tasks, and assignments to firms.
■ ❏ Determine how often the outside firms meet (at least by telephone) to discuss ongoing activities.
■ ❏ For fast-moving matters, hold quarterly in-person meetings with
4. CLIENT CHECK-IN
■ ❏ Determine when the client will “check in” with each firm about
how the collaboration is proceeding.
■ ❏ Determine if the client will solicit “360” views of how management by the client is proceeding.
5. MID-TERM/END OF ENGAGEMENT REVIEW
■ ❏ For longer-term engagements, set a date for in-person or midterm review. Conduct end of engagement review/lessons learned.