Thompson Coburn client Rabo AgriFinance and its Regional General Counsel - North America, Philip Kirkpatrick, were recently honored at the inaugural Top Legal Innovation Awards, sponsored by Missouri Lawyers Media.
At an awards ceremony December 5 in Kansas City, Philip accepted an award in the “Law Firm Business Changes” category for Rabo’s unique collaboration with Thompson Coburn, which since 2016 has allowed the $10 billion agricultural lender to realize significant time and cost savings as well as a reduction in documentation errors by outsourcing its loan documentation and legal review process to Thompson Coburn.
“One of the key business elements of that was to ensure that we had a partner who was willing to be flexible with us, to leverage tech, to measure the relationship and also, quite candidly, that we trusted,” Philip said to Missouri Lawyers Weekly in his awards profile.
The collaboration is managed under a monthly flat fee and supported by three Thompson Coburn attorneys working onsite at Rabo’s St. Louis headquarters: Herman Schroeder, Chris Brumbaugh and Charles Nitsch. The arrangement has allowed Rabo AgriFinance to realize more than 10% savings in legal costs, achieve a 167% reduction in turn around time for initial loan legal reviews, and attain greater predictability over a once variable business unit, including the ability to develop predictability metrics that allow the business to better plan for high-demand periods of lending activity.
As part of the collaboration, Thompson Coburn regularly handles 35-60 loans each month for Rabo AgriFinance’s nine regional field offices on relationships in excess of $12.5 million. The team generates monthly reports to evaluate the process and measure results so adjustments can be made. Leaders of the Thompson Coburn and Rabo AgriFinance teams meet regularly to ensure the project is continuing smoothly and the outsourcing relationship is delivering against expectations.
Philip told Missouri Lawyers that the goal is to make sure the arrangement works not just for Rabo but also for Thompson Coburn, where he began his legal career. “This isn’t a one- to two-year relationship,” he said. “We look at this as very long-term.”
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