Harvard Business School
case study on legal procurement

Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) uses an innovative new approach to procuring outside legal counsel: it replaces relationship-based selection and law firms’ traditional time-based billing with data-driven decision making and an online reverse auction. 

In the case, GSK is hit with a potentially devastating suit and must hire a firm in time to respond. The recently hired (fictional) managing attorney, Sophia Keating, grapples with GSK’s approach. The GSK veterans assure her that the approach drives down costs and improves the quality of work by systematically increasing the rigor in the procurement process.

Still skeptical, Sophia runs the process of systematically analyzing and comparing the competing firms’ bids. This case also describes the process by which these tools were created and adopted.

The case study can be purchased directly from Harvard Business School.
To access GSK’s RFP material and case assumptions, also get the supplementary material.