Opening Plenary: Leading Transformation in the Modern Law Department
Instead of a typical keynote speech, Xchange 21 launched with a panel of three CLOs — Ricardo Anzaldua, Loretta Cecil, and Amy Fliegelman Olli — who presented the keys to leading transformation within law departments. Their takeaways reminded lawyers to always have a proactive mindset rather than a reactive one. Lawyers need to move from issue spotting to risk assessments so they can apply their energy appropriately, and ensure they are focusing on the future by developing alacrity, enabling self-service, and utilizing data. The speakers challenged the audience to act now, be bold, make a plan, and dream big. But always have a modest backup version ready if your big proposal doesn't get backing.
Rightsourcing Optimization: Decision Tree-based Approaches
On Demand on LinkedIn
Speakers John Burke, Nathan Cemenska, and Sandra Svaerd reviewed data and insights from the Wolters Kluwer LegalVIEW database focused on the trends and key factors influencing hourly rates and law firm selection. They encouraged lawyers to consider developing internal resource fluidity before outsourcing. Take a skills and expertise inventory of your staff before borrowing resources your organization might already have. With outside firms, consider utilizing “client relationship credits,” negotiated value-adds and value-enabling extras. Find out more about both UBS decision-tree rightsourcing methods and Change Healthcare transformation, and learn about other 2021 ACC Value Champion winners.
Learnings from Legal Industry's Foray into AI
On Demand on LinkedIn
Sirisha Gummaregula, Áine Lyons, Suchitra Narayen, and Jeffrey Nass came together to empower in-house counsel with practical and actionable examples for any business’s artificial intelligence goals or challenges. They presented the most difficult aspect in contract review: elements that are unique to your organization. Extra AI training for staff goes a long way, but you also need to “Train the Machine.” They suggested the following approach: analyze the work, decide what's ripe for automation, improve processes before automating them, then transform. Create a Collective Intelligence that is both Artificial and Human.
Measuring, Reporting, and Improving Outside Counsel Diversity
On Demand on LinkedIn
Panelists Edward Blakemore, Heather Blanco, Vanessa Lozzi, Shannon Stevens, and Doug Ventola led an interactive, thought-provoking discussion on how corporations are measuring, tracking, and reporting on the diversity of their outside counsel. Panelists offered insights into how they are using that data to measure firm performance and uncover what the data sometimes does not say in order to improve diversity objectives.
Strategy Planning for Legal Operations
Melissa Mason, Abha Romkey, Daniel Young, and Bill Young provided insights into how to build a strategic plan for legal operations with the ACC Legal Operations Maturity model. Legal operations (LO) plans support legal department (LD) plans, which supports the entire corporation’s plans. So, it’s important to establish a baseline. First, assess the current state of LO and LD, benchmark, then decide what they should look like in three to five years. Use the ACC LO Maturity Model to self-assess and imagine the future. Plan for who and how the initiatives will get done. If you can’t ensure you’ll have the resources for each initiative, don't include it in your plan. Finally, don’t forget to be flexible; you may need to adjust for the needs of certain offices or practice areas. If unanticipated projects arise, reassess and re-prioritize to make room for it rather than piling it on top.
When Technology Meets Humanity: The Future of Contract Management
Deloitte’s Lewis Christian and Mark Ross led a discussion to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced contract and commercial management and the value of humans working alongside technology. After the pandemic’s onset, there was an avalanche of questions about contracts. Basic commercial processes were forced to adapt, and it became clear that technology was not the answer to all the issues the pandemic caused; a human touch was necessary. The future of contract management starts with a robust adoption of technology and ends with integration of human and technology efforts across all aspects of the various departments within the business.
Legal Spend in 2021: Transforming your Department from Price-taker to Price-maker
Deloitte’s Heather Jacobson, Steven Walker, and Jack Walker laid out the latest thinking in Empowered Spend Management. Becoming a Price-maker is the evolution of a legal department’s sophistication. There are five essential elements for success, 1) use different commercial models for different kinds of work, like hourly fees for contract work and fixed fees for more steady work, 2) collaborate with outside firms to build better commercial models, 3) data and data protection are key, 4) trust between your company and outside firms is paramount, and 5) risk deserves reward. Start with taking scope of the situation before rightsourcing and negotiation. Make sure to report everything about engagement with outside firms and manage your assumptions. When billing, take care of invoice and appeals management, and end the arrangement with feedback both for and from the outside firms.
This is of course just a small sample of everything that was offered at this year’s 2021 Xchange Conference. All those who already registered can access the sessions On Demand until July 31. Those who were not registered for the event — be on the lookout for more information on purchasing content from this year’s conference.