Supply Chain Management

A supply chain can be state-of-the-art on paper, but if the result isn’t what you need, where you need it, when you need it, it’s impossible (or expensive) to realize key goals.

Whether it’s establishing a pivotal new vendor relationship, signing up a major customer, or introducing new technology into a corporate culture, the terms set with vendors, customers and subcontractors are increasingly more critical and complex.

McGuireWoods’ lawyers bring the depth of experience requisite for analyzing and understanding the details underlying sophisticated contracts. More importantly, we can “translate” the issues, benefits and risks for decision-makers and stakeholders.

Our Approach

Supply chain managers are adroit facilitators who must balance the needs of the business, management, technical and legal teams. We offer unique experience that goes beyond simply supporting supply chain projects. We understand how to work with supply chain people. We appreciate the difficulty that supply chain teams confront in reconciling diverse interests, and we bring extensive experience with helping such teams meet the varied goals of constituents while fulfilling respective mandates.

Our approach means that we can provide business-oriented legal solutions that align with strategic objectives. We work closely with and support client-specific lines of business, contract administrators and in-house attorneys. This methodology provides comprehensive coverage at all times, bench strength for multiple concurrent matters and issues, and flexible staffing to meet experience, time and budgetary needs. Taking this path facilitates the ability to present a united front in dealing with all parties to the transaction, and enables negotiating in a manner consistent with the overall strategic goals of the various and diverse stakeholder groups within the client organization.


McGuireWoods’ supply chain team works regularly with client in-house legal counsel, supply chain management and core business line across industries, including commercial and industrial products, financial services, healthcare, retail, cable, food and beverage, telecommunications, transportation and energy.

Our international supply chain practice includes lawyers with a subject matter focus across the supply chain product life cycle: process planning, development of boilerplate and other contract terms, negotiation with counterparties, assisting with closing procedures and post-execution follow-up relationship management. For both revenue-generating and vendor-spend agreements, McGuireWoods’ supply chain lawyers have handled structuring, preparing and negotiating the following types of contracts:

  • Procurement and supply chain contracts, including manufacturing, distribution and reseller arrangements, both domestic and cross-border.
  • Sophisticated exclusive arrangements, including requirements contracts (sole source); output contracts (sole user); min/max arrangements and other relationships in which one or both parties are restricted from doing business with third parties, either completely or under specified circumstances.
  • Distribution center development and operations.
  • Raw materials, component and equipment acquisition and disposition.
  • Marketing, advertising, sponsorship, promotion and co-branding arrangements.
  • Independent sales relationships.
  • Technology, outsourcing and in-sourcing, intellectual property development and licensing agreements.
  • Risk management.
  • Confidentiality (e.g. non-disclosure and non-use).
  • Logistics, warehousing and fleet management arrangements, including using web-based implementation and wireless mobilization.
  • Professional services and consulting contracts.

Our supply chain team identifies and corrects risks (gaps and deficiencies) in “lifeblood” contracts in order to strengthen competitive position. We customize a comprehensive evaluation of a suite of contracts, and follow up with suggestions for addressing deficiencies. In addition, we regularly provide in-house training seminars for both counsel and business representatives. Our approach enables clients to address and remedy — or prevent — gaps before problems arise. It also facilitates the ability to anticipate and avoid costly disputes and litigation with vendors and institutional customers.