Assigning each business unit a liaison within the legal department has helped Yazaki North
America develop better relationships with its internal clients and to understand the value of
the legal department’s work. An automated Legal Services Request intake process provides
transparency into the work for the client. A new budgeting process permits enhanced forecasting
and control as well as prediction of upward or downward curves in legal services needs.
3M’s Litigation Technology Services team manages the collection, review, coding, and production
of documents in more than 170 litigation matters annually. Sophisticated tools have elevated
efficiency and reduced volume, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars and improving legal
AIG created its Global Legal Operations Center (LOC) in 2012, which covers claims as well as
enterprise legal needs and manages the company’s relationships with more than 1,200 approved
law firms, holding competitive online pricing exercises governed by established guidelines. The
LOC’s understanding of legal spend and outcomes is made possible by a wide harnessing and
deep analysis of data. They also placed the power of data into their business unit clients’ hands,
developing systems and tools that permit managers across five claims lines of business to “serve
themselves” with data and reports.
A second major trend borne out in the successful initiatives submitted by this year’s
Value Champions is the use of data to drive insightful decision making. The enormous
quantities of data generated by day-to-day business can provide empirical proof
to justify choices that may have required going on faith in the past. These legal
departments and their partners sliced and diced the data to determine how to do
certain kinds of work most efficiently.
At the Heico Companies, taking a very close look at what external firms were billing, their hourly
rates, and the activities they were performing allowed Heico to establish definitions for value-added and non–value-added work and, more importantly, to establish an efficiency rating for
the external firms. When Shook, Hardy & Bacon demonstrated top efficiency, they became a
preferred partner to Heico, which allowed them to adopt even more efficiency tools, including
At Juniper Networks, a deep dive into patent spending allowed the legal department to better
control spending on patent prosecution and maintenance, plan for ebb and flow, make strategic
spending decisions, and realize higher return on investment.
Strong change management programs were rolled out by several of the Champs to ensure
widespread adoption of value initiatives. Crowdsourcing was a popular model: FedEx Ground
engaged stakeholders in the work through Quality Action Teams in areas from metrics to early
dispute resolution, including one that evaluated the legal department’s own internal processes.
BMO Financial Group launched the Innovative Team Challenge, which solicited and rewarded
project ideas that would reduce time, effort, cost, and/or risk. At Xcel Energy, a Legal Efficiencies
Strategy Committee’s recommendations led to improvement work in six key areas; every member
of the department joined one of the resulting subcommittees.