Value Champions are industry leaders in integrating people, processes, technology, and data to enhance efficiency and value
WASHINGTON (June 8, 2021) - In-house law has come a long way in meeting the pressure of global regulation and competition. Now a constellation of well-leveraged data, streamlined processes, innovative technologies, and creative new operating models are thriving in law departments all over the world. The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) today announced its 2021 ACC Value Champions, recognizing 12 such innovative law departments with nine external partners as pioneers of optimized legal services.
Since 2012, the ACC Value Champions program has highlighted corporate law departments that innovate to optimize legal service delivery for corporations. This year’s Champions run the gamut of sectors, from healthcare to mining, and include several repeat Champions. Their strategic approaches have dramatically enhanced efficiency within their departments by increasing the speed of work, lowering the cost of legal service spending, and improving operations overall.
“The 2021 ACC Value Champions demonstrate how far the legal ecosystem has come in leveraging technology and data to drive value for corporations. Legal departments continue to raise the bar in how they innovate and partner to achieve remarkable results for their organizations,” said Catherine J. Moynihan, associate vice president of legal management services at ACC. “As law departments evolve at a rapid pace, these leaders are on the cutting edge of both developing and implementing transformative approaches. We are excited to recognize these 2021 Champions for their incredible achievements, while also providing examples of the planning, work, and potential outcomes for others who aspire to improve value of their legal services.”
A panel of past honorees selected the following 2021 ACC Value Champions:
AbbVie (Chicago) - A 2019 ACC Value Champion, the company resolved to use its influence to increase diversity among its outside counsel and in the greater legal industry. In 2018, AbbVie partnered with its top law firms to develop measurable goals to increase meaningful work by underrepresented attorneys (in particular, partners) on its matters. By 2020, female partner hours rose 64 percent, minority partner hours 87 percent, and underrepresented lawyer hours 18 percent, exceeding the initiative’s five-year targets.
Change Healthcare (Alpharetta, GA) - In 2020, Change Healthcare launched “Project Jupiter” (farther than a moonshot) to revamped sales contracting and establish rigorous outside counsel management practices, along with a new approach to compliance and ethics. Change Healthcare’s outside counsel spend has since gone down 27 percent; costs of sales contracting has dropped 25 percent, and staff training processes are both faster and more effective.
Compass Group USA, Inc. (Charlotte, NC) and Shook, Hardy & Bacon (Kansas City, MO) - When Compass Group’s docket of auto and general liability lawsuits had more than doubled in five years, the law department turned over its liability claims to Shook, Hardy & Bacon, transforming it from a plethora of matters handled by 65 firms to a single portfolio. The pair moved from triage through early resolution and on to prevention through risk-calibrated dispute handling and litigation strategy. Compass and Shook have reduced claims and lawsuits by more than 50 percent. All-in legal spend is down by 30 percent.
CrowdStrike (Sunnyvale, CA) and Scalegal (New York, NY) - CrowdStrike teamed up with Scalegal to build a platform that integrated legal and enterprise applications and harnessed knowledge, data and workflows to modernize the legal function Over 75% of legal work shifted from inboxes to monitored workflows; eDiscovery administrative overhead was reduced by 80% while data processing volume was halved. Comprising e-billing, eDiscovery, contract lifecycle management, and compliance, the new legal services platform manages and tracks a host of repeatable legal tasks, and flags steps that can be omitted or more efficiently staffed.
DXC Technology (Tysons, VA) and UnitedLex (Overland Park, KS) – After transforming and collaborating on a new managed services model, these now two-time co-Champions used technology to enable high-velocity, risk-calibrated contracting. What emerged is a smart triage and workflow platform that supports the team on everything from risk assessments and contract approvals to capacity management and chats. The results: An estimated annual cost savings of 41 percent in 2020 on the Legal operating budget, zero budget forecast variance, and data quality improvement of 70 percent.
IBI Group (Toronto, Canada) - IBI Group’s five-person legal department created a practical, outcome-focused global legal services platform, integrating legal tools with adapted enterprise technology. Among many changes in the transformation, they applied automation to high-volume, low-risk contracts, reducing external legal spend on contracting and leases by 100 percent in the past five years. Simultaneously, they focused on insourcing high-value, high-reward work. In 2020 alone, managing two large transactions and 15 smaller projects, the department reduced external legal spend by 70 percent.
James Hardie Industries (Dublin, Ireland) and PwC’s NewLaw (Australia) – These co-Champions’ strategic review of JHI’s legal and compliance function resulted in a departmental restructuring and grassroots innovation forums to tackle specific problems using a continuous improvement framework. PwC also supplied a legal operations specialist, to provide hands-on support while instilling new practices, eventually enabling the PwC team to render themselves obsolete. In the first twelve months, JHI had achieved 25 percent savings against average annual external legal spend and was set up to move forward with a new operations model.
Marsh McLennan (New York, NY) – Guided by its Legal Innovation & Technology (LIT) team, Marsh McLennan created its “LIT Lab” to drive new ideas and better outcomes for its 600+-person law department. Marsh McLennan reimagined its approach to technology and innovation across four major categories: automation and standardization, advanced technology, alternative fee arrangements / right-sourcing, and business alignment. Their approach resulted in a multi-faceted set of accomplishments, including dramatically reducing spend 80 percent for global contracting, 70 percent for data processing and hosting and 50 percent for document review, while also improving efficiencies and colleagues’ satisfaction. Further, the LIT Lab developed core principles to measure and frame innovation value, including time, money, quality, risk and – the critical, yet oft overlooked – joy.
NetApp (Sunnyvale, CA), Keesal Propulsion Labs (San Francisco, CA), LexCheck (New York, NY) and QuisLex (New York, NY) - NetApp procurement contract data revealed a disproportionate amount of time needed for approval, so they assembled this collaborative team to help. The tool they created uses artificial intelligence (AI) to put all necessary information for contract approval at the approving VP’s fingertips: an overall risk rating, a risk report including mitigation measures, and a list of prior approvals and comments from Legal and other stakeholders. This collaborative effort has reduced approval time by 80 percent, and reduced the escalation rate from 80 percent to 10 percent.
Nouryon (Radnor, PA) and LKGLOBAL (Scottsdale, AZ) - Nouryon wanted to close the gap between business and the IP legal department, so the general counsel brought on LKGLOBAL to reorganize and streamline their portfolio. Through an innovative budgeting matrix tool, selective outsourcing and more, this partnership has helped Nouryon reduce its global IP budget, with both internal and external spend, by 41 percent. By removing low-value patents from the Nouryon portfolio, the total number of patents has decreased by 48 percent, and the number of patent families by 23 percent.
Rio Tinto (Melbourne, AU) and Elevate Services (Los Angeles, CA) – Already on a transformation journey when required to accelerate cost savings for legal services, Rio Tinto turned to Elevate for help creating the “Spend Excellence Program.” Elevate provided an outside counsel concierge (OCC) and an e-billing support desk to support end-to-end management of tendering, engagements, spend management and reporting. By the end of the first year (2020), 94 percent of OCC request for proposals (RFPs) have resulted in some portion of fees under alternative fee arrangements (AFAs), and 88 percent of those have all fees under AFAs. The average savings realized on RFPs are around 30 percent, and range as high as 94 percent.
UBS (Zürich, Switzerland) - The Outside Counsel Management team at UBS implemented a smart sourcing program, in which numerous factors are combined to inform strategic decisions about the engagement of external resources and to assist in pricing. The OCM team implemented decision trees for the external engagement process end-to-end, from the inception of a legal case through settlement or dismissal; they supplemented this new framework with machine learning tools and a centralized database. UBS’ legal fees are now consistently down 15-20 percent, year to year.
About the ACC Value Challenge: The ACC Value Challenge, launched in 2012, 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 www.acc.com/valuechallenge.
About ACC: The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is a global legal association that promotes the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations and other organizations through information, education, networking, and advocacy. With more than 45,000 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 LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.