Corporate Law Departments Embracing More Risk and Using Data to Control Costs and Drive Law Department Management
ACC Recognizes 11 Law Departments, 5 Law Firms/Legal Service Providers as Value Champions
Posted: May 28, 2014
WASHINGTON (May 28, 2014) — General counsel at Fortune 500 companies, multi-national corporations and small law departments are assessing risk and using data-driven performance metrics to control costs and align team efforts with corporate strategy, the Association of Corporate Counsel announced at its 2014 ACC Value Champions press briefing today. ACC also highlighted that the leading corporate law departments are reorganizing staffs and improving processes for complex legal matters, including insourcing compliance work and improving predictability in mergers and acquisitions and toxic tort litigation through outside counsel partnerships.
ACC recognized 11 corporate law departments and five law firms and legal service providers for their strategic approaches to increasing client satisfaction and enhancing the value of legal service spending. To do so, they applied original solutions and technology to reduce turnaround times and costs. The accomplishments were honored as part of the ACC Value Challenge, which promotes adoption of management practices that reduce spending and yield better outcomes and higher predictability.
Most of this year's honorees, which include companies from the technology, finance and auto manufacturing industries as well as organizations headquartered in Canada and Brazil, focused on internal process improvement that allowed staffs to handle more work in-house, saving time and money and even reducing litigation. The winning law departments leveraged staff experience, altered client service patterns and allocated team resources to the most complex work. They also made strategic sourcing decisions, turning to less costly offshore and alternative legal service providers for more routine projects.
"The 2014 ACC Value Champions demonstrate that corporate counsel today are active contributors to business strategy and operational goals," said Veta T. Richardson, president and chief executive officer of ACC. "By bringing in-house the legal work that supports core enterprise strategy and using tools more commonly found in tech startups and manufacturers, law departments can assess and embrace risk to achieve better outcomes for their organizations."
This year's Champions also deployed value practices in areas of law that traditionally rely on outside counsel support and large budgets, including compliance, litigation and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) work. One company improved its budget accuracy by 30 percentage points for M&A projects, while another saved nearly $13 million in outside counsel costs by triaging thousands of mortgage litigation cases, keeping almost half in-house and applying business solutions.
Winners pioneered new technology systems that helped them evaluate and calibrate effort to risk, in one instance cutting the time to review low-risk documents by 50 percent. Elsewhere, new collaboration platforms enhanced team flexibility and knowledge sharing. With resulting time savings, lawyers at one company were able to insource 44 percent more work, and devote additional time to employee training, helping reduce instances of employment litigation.
"Many of the Value Champions have used technology in unprecedented ways to bring simplicity to previously burdensome and expensive processes," Richardson said. "We see these often proprietary models as a sign of what 21st century law departments can accomplish when they address their workflows in fresh ways."
ACC recognizes the following 2014 ACC Value Champions, who were selected by a panel of in-house counsel judges, from a group of 83 nominees:
About the ACC Value Challenge: The ACC Value Challenge, launched in 2008, has provided resources and training for in-house counsel and law firm lawyers to help affect change within the legal industry. By re-aligning relationships and promoting value-based fee arrangements and other management tactics, such as project management, process improvement, efficient use of technology and knowledge management tools, the market for the delivery of legal services benefits from the same insights and wisdom upon which every other service industry relies to provide world-class value to their clients. For more information, visit http://www.acc.com/valuechallenge.
About ACC: The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is a global bar association that promotes the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations and other private-sector organizations through information, education, networking opportunities and advocacy initiatives. With more than 33,000 members in 85 countries employed by over 10,000 organizations, ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. By in-house counsel, for in-house counsel.® For more information, visit www.acc.com and follow ACC on Twitter: @ACCinhouse.
# # #