David Eveleigh Of Obamacare's Serco Group, On LPOs, Legal Cultures, And Choosing Outside Counsel
by David J. Parnell, Contributor
Dated May, 17, 2016
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Serco Group plc is a U.K. based outsourcing company that is perhaps best known here in the U.S. for winning the Obamacare contract. With approximately 100K employees, 4.6B in revenue (in 2015), and operations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and North America, Serco has its hands full where legal operations are concerned.
In 2014, the outsourcing giant hired on former BT Global general counsel, David Eveleigh, as part of a "corporate renewal program" to help streamline their legal department and sort out over-billing accusations by Britain's Serious Fraud Office. Eveleigh started with BT Group – Britain's largest telecom provider – in 2001 and moved up the ranks to General Counsel, BT Global Services. Named as "In-house lawyer of the year" by The Lawyer and his Global Services legal team having won the magazine's prestigious "In-house legal team of the year" award, he is recognized as one of the architects of BT Group's lean, innovative, and outsourcing friendly in-house department, which now boasts among its services BT Law: an in-house team that provides legal services to external clients.
Today we hear from Eveleigh, Serco's GC, company secretary, executive committee member, and a known proponent of streamlining and outsourcing, about his thoughts on working with law firms, choosing lawyers, LPOs, and changing legal culture, among other things. Below is a revised and edited version of our exchange.
On The Most Salient Pressures He's Facing as a General Counsel
Parnell: What are the most salient or top pressures that you are experiencing right now as a GC?
Eveleigh: There are the push and pull dynamics in our kind of work. Lawyers tend to be pretty good at the "pull" side of things – the transactions, the crisis, the reactive stuff. If you are an okay lawyer and you have turned up, are relatively empathetic, then you can help on the reactive stuff. If you help your internal customer show the benefit of focus, solutions, compliance, detail, and working hard, you get more and more "pull." It becomes self-perpetuating. You get invited to help out with more and more transactional fires. The challenge with that is that you get more and more stretched. You don’t have enough resources and you are not taking the business forward enough, and you’re not spending enough time with the "push" side of things.
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