While pitching to general counsel (GCs) is hardly a foreign concept for private practitioners, an elite group of GCs for fast-growth companies has invited a pre-selected list of law firms to bid to host its events.
The Disruptive GC group, a 40-member group of GCs that currently meets informally every quarter, plans to change the schedule to monthly formal sponsored events with law firms and has put those out to tender to around 15 to 20 advisers so far, based on a mixture of recommendations from within the group and law firm approaches.
The first event will be held this month with Baker McKenzie on the topic of ‘international consumer terms across borders’. The event is described by Matthew Wilson, legal director, northern and eastern Europe at Uber and co-founder of the group, as a ‘breakfast huddle’ and will be a debate format with a mixture of Baker McKenzie lawyers and members of the in-house lawyer group.
Speaking to Legal Business, Wilson said: ‘We have done four or five tenders now and the response has been overwhelming. We had four really strong proposals for the consumer event. And all of the firms that responded are interested in maybe two or three other events.’ Other topics coming up include ‘Initial Public Offering (IPO) readiness’ and ‘Going to the USA’, which will be sponsored by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
‘We want to come up with an agenda of events which is specifically organised for our group,’ added Lisa Gan Tomlins (pictured), GC at online furniture retailer Made.com and co-founder of the group along with Wilson. ‘Rather than just attending a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) talk by X law firm that is for all their clients, we are talking to law firms about doing a GDPR event that is more focused on companies of our size and with our challenges.’
Seedrs chief legal officer Karen Kerrigan – part of the group’s four-member executive committee alongside Wilson, Gan Tomlins and Christine Cordon, GC at British luxury travel company Secret Escapes – drafted one general request for proposals (RFP) which left instructions deliberately vague to allow for law firms to come up with their own ideas.
‘I drafted the RFP and I said: “we don’t want drinks and PowerPoints” – that is not helpful for us. We need an environment where people will collaborate and be stimulated by what the law firm has to offer.’
For more on Kirkland’s City finance practice, read ‘To the hilt – Meet the US firms going all in to dominate the City’s leveraged finance scene’ (£)