In a move which underlines the firm's growing flexibility on fees, Slaughter and May is not charging the Prudential for helping draw up its best-practice guidelines for outsourcing. The firm hopes the loss leader will put it in pole position for future outsourcing projects with the financial services giant.
Slaughters has advised the Prudential for several years, but last year it recognised that it was not winning outsourcing work. As part of its aggressive push into that market, it is seeking to cement long-term relationships with key clients and this project forms part of the new strategy.
Robert Sumroy, who became a partner at the firm from 1 May this year, is drawing up a set of standard forms as part of a general 'toolkit' for the Prudential's head of outsourcing Robert Holt. Sumroy said that the idea was not to impose standard forms on outsourcing deals, but to keep "a step ahead", with a series of basic terms that could be "massaged" on specific deals.
"Robert looks for a long-term, value-added relationship with his lawyers," said Sumroy. "Likewise, we don't bill by the hour, we bill in terms of value to the client."
He added that the firm was "comfortable" doing the work for little or no money in the knowledge that it would be well placed to win work later down the line.