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O’Reilly Auto Parts, Jeffrey L. Groves, GC of Legal Services, August 2010

O’Reilly Automotive, Inc. is one of the largest specialty retailers of automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment, and accessories in the United States, serving both professional installers and do-it-yourself customers. Founded in 1957 by the O’Reilly family, the Company operated 3,421 stores in 38 states as of December 31, 2009.

Q: If you think about your best relationships with outside counsel over time, what are three important things other lawyers could learn from them?        
A: (1). Communicate timely.  (2). Good work within the budget is cause for repeat business.  (3). Surprise is not an option.

Q: And, of course, the follow-up: what are the top three things that lawyers could learn from your least successful relationships with outside counsel over the years? 
A:
 (1). That inside counsel hate surprises.  (2). That inside counsel don’t appreciate a dozen time keepers on a bill.  (3). That inside counsel don’t like bills to reflect a scope of work that was not approved.

Q: What’s the smartest thing a lawyer or a law firm has ever done for you outside of doing great legal work?
A:
  To tell me when I’m wrong and why.

Q: Are there any client service or business development trends you’re seeing among law firms that you think are headed in the right direction?
A: No, business as usual. 

Q: Are there other law firm trends that you’re seeing that you’d like to come to a screeching halt?
A:
 The list is old, not a trend, and is long and distinguished but involves general billing practices that create profit centers from that which should be overhead.

Q: Have you ever fired a major provider of legal services or have you ever had internal suggestions that you should fire a major provider?
A:
 Yes.

Q: Would it have been helpful if somebody other than the relationship partner proactively requested your feedback and then acted on it, perhaps annually? 
A: No. That is the relationship partner’s job.  I would prefer to keep the relationship partner fully invested in making sure we are getting the services we need.

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