More than 200 law firms are maintaining profiles on the tool, called GE Select Connect, which helps GE’s internal legal teams select outside counterparts to work on matters, a report from Bloomberg Law
The profiles feature law firm expertise, primary contact information, previous feedback from GE lawyers, diversity and staffing levels, hourly rates and discounts given to GE in the past.
Moreover, GE has negotiated special agreements with these law firms providing for special rates and other possible benefits over a specific period, the report notes.
The tool is available to about 800 in-house GE lawyers, a group which would be a considered a biglaw firm if it were not an in-house group. Among these 800 lawyers, as much as 80% have the power to hire outside counsel directly.
“When you think about it, we didn’t have a good tool to help our attorneys make informed decisions about their selection of counsel,” Dan Hendy, the associate general counsel at GE who oversaw the creation of GE Select Connect, told Bloomberg
“We didn’t have a good mechanism to communicate the type of (pre-existing) arrangements that we had… if there was a volume based discount or complimentary hours that may have been available, or the ability to use low cost secondments,” he added.
Hendy bills the new tool as a “good way to collaborate” and a “great marketing platform” for the multinational giant’s partner law firms. He said that GE Select Connect “makes being a preferred provider at GE more meaningful”.
Nonetheless, the tool is not meant to be used by the GE in-house teams for the most important legal matters and mergers and acquisitions.
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General Electric’s legal operations is so large that it has made its very own “Yelp for Lawyers” for internal use of its in-house law firm.