“The judges were impressed, over and over, with the processes these Champions
undertook, the way they started with analysis and stakeholder input, set wheels in
motion, and followed through,” says Catherine J. Moynihan, senior director of legal
management services. “As past Champions themselves, they understood that it’s hard
enough to stay the course, let alone get the kind of results the 2015 Champs achieved.”
The Association of Corporate Counsel created the Value Champions program to recognize
law department leaders who have cut spending, improved predictability, and achieved better
outcomes. This year’s honorees include twelve law departments that delivered substantial value
to their clients through value-focused legal management skills, along with their law firm and
service provider partners.
As corporations continue to grapple with constrained budgets, general counsel are improving
the cost efficiency of the legal function, both through how they manage internally and how they
partner with their law firms and legal service providers. In the Value Champions, ACC highlights
those who are effectively driving value by cutting spending, improving predictability, and
achieving better legal outcomes.
Eighty nominations were submitted this year, by companies in a wide range of industries and
locations, including Australia and Canada. Those nominations were rigorously evaluated by a
panel of judges: Kevin Rampe, general counsel, ACE Group; Stephanie Sciullo, associate general
counsel, MSA Safety; and Terena Rodrigues, executive vice president and general counsel,
Embraer S.A.—all past Value Champions with an informed understanding of the potential and
pitfalls of this work.
The composition of the Champions reflects the emergence of the legal operations
function in running innovative, top-notch legal departments. Legal ops professionals
focus on identifying and tracking key performance indicators; managing law firms;
selecting and implementing technology solutions, managed services, and legal
process outsourcers; managing human resource needs; and running key initiatives.
These vital functions make the law department more businesslike, give it more
credibility with the C-suite, and free up general counsel to focus on strategic
leadership and risk analysis. General counsel are taking note: ACC research shows
that 17 percent of general counsel with departments of at least 25 employees
increased legal operations staffing in the past year, and 14 percent plan an increase in
the coming year.
At VMware, taking a close look through the legal operations lens revealed enormous
opportunities to outsource work and to optimize contract management processes that touched
80,000 records; reduced reporting effort by 50 percent; reduced 60 templates to just one;
resulted in $3 million in cost avoidance; and generated a fruitful partnership with India-based LPO