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John Knox Village

Legal project management collaboration


Related Industry:


Related Service:

Legal Operations 
Client Success

"Both parties are establishing a budget and both parties are working to achieve that budget. So that’s a really a great way to do business." - Dan Rexroth, President & Chief Executive Officer, John Knox Village Care Center


John Knox Village, one of Missouri’s largest retirement communities, sought to engage a new legal service provider to achieve more value for the dollar. Husch Blackwell sat down with the company’s leadership to listen to their needs, learn about their business operations and develop a comprehensive plan that would address JKV’s current and future legal needs in the most efficient manner possible.


The retirement community’s leaders concluded that the company needed to achieve greater predictability, transparency and value in its legal spend.  With a mission to provide the best possible care and service to its own residents, the company sought to explore the efficiencies that might result from consolidating its outside counsel roster. Initially, Husch Blackwell’s conversation centered on a series of fixed fee options with carve-outs for larger projects, but this idea was dropped because the company’s leadership decided the proposal had too many caveats and stipulations. The company wanted a comprehensive arrangement that shared risk and aligned incentives to control costs and increase value. To facilitate development of such a proposal, the company’s leadership team agreed to share with the firm the company’s historical legal spend by practice area.

In order to prepare a service framework and alternative pricing model that would deliver value, maintain quality and align financial goals, Husch Blackwell consulted with the company’s leadership to understand their tolerance for business and legal risk.  


Husch Blackwell proposed a comprehensive three-year, fixed fee arrangement with a collar above and below the fee. Work performed above the collar would be charged at a very substantial discount off of standard rates, while work below the collar would be partially credited back. 

To successfully share risk and align incentives, the implementation of Legal Project Management (LPM) with a client portal became an essential part of the arrangement for both the company and the firm. Husch Blackwell’s project management program emphasizes strong communication protocols and follows a set of standards throughout the five phases of the matter life cycle (Scoping, Planning, Managing, Monitoring and Post Project Review). But it also allows for customization to fit the needs of each client.

For this engagement, the shared objectives of the LPM program were:

  • Legal expense control and predictability
  • Transparency in financial reporting
  • Efficient administration of new projects, from intake to invoicing
  • Shared understanding of project scope and budgets among all stakeholders
  • Development of value-based metrics 

To fulfill these objectives, the firm, in collaboration with the company’s leadership, designed a framework to align teams, projects, budgets, financial reporting and measurements of success with those of the company.


In Year 1 of the arrangement JKV recognized an 8.5% drop in year-over-year legal spend. In year 2 of the arrangement they recognized another 15% decrease in legal spend from Year 1. 


Kevin Bielawski, MBA, PMP, ALPP

Director of Legal Operations

Lann Wasson, PMP

Associate Director of Legal Project Management

Cori Casey Turner

Senior Counsel

Curt J. Chase


Scott W. Martin

Senior Counsel