CIE Legal has provided advice to Fonterra (a multi-national dairy co-operative) on its disputes for several years. Jared Pereira, Fonterra’s Senior Corporate Counsel, explains why.
Best of both worlds
“We use CIE Legal for disputes because want the best of both worlds. Our experience is that smaller firms might be cost effective on the face of it, but they often don’t have the resources to step it up a level when we need them to. Big firms, on the other hand, rarely deliver top-notch service for smaller dispute portfolios like ours. With CIE Legal, we have the comfort of knowing the resources are there, combined with a focused, personal service.”
Partner Mark Waters, who Pereira describes as “cost effective and competent”, leads the team handling the disputes, which are outsourced to CIE Legal in their entirety. “With these disputes”, says Pereira, “I lean on them almost as if they are my internal counsel and that frees me up to do other things. I am totally confident that if there is an issue, they will contact me directly. I just know I don’t even have to think about it unless they come to me – that’s the level of trust that we have”.
“I need to deal with people I trust who will handle the matters in a sensitive way. They deliver on this every time. Not only do they liaise with the other party sensitively, but they also do that with my internal clients. In fact, my colleagues in Fonterra now work directly with CIE Legal and I know that CIE people look after my reputation internally through the way they deal with them.”
Pereira also comments that Mark and his team take responsibility for driving the work forward, saying “I get calls from Mark and his people more often than I call them. Mark keeps me honest and on track. They have good management systems and Mark actually prioritizes work for me and often he’ll say “don’t worry about that matter but I really need your view on this one”.”
Summarizing, Pereira says “I’m happy: they deliver fantastic output and punch above their weight.”