research processes. A single India-based outsource provider was selected and playbooks were developed
for the relevant support services. The success of that arrangement inspired the ZS team to issue RFPs
for other matters on “chunks” of legal work that could be easily delegated. Outside legal costs are more
predictable, and the utilization of RFPs led to capped and fixed legal fees for all major matters.
ZS Associates used yet another value lever: technology. They sought and obtained an electronic portal and
suite of tools to track and report on legal matters, automate workflow, create electronic files and facilitate
• Per-hour costs to review and finalize contracts reduced by 50 percent in the first nine months.
• In year two, 30 percent increase in legal matters managed internally, including a 13 percent
increase in master service agreements, and a 34 percent increase in confidentiality agreements.
• Increased predictability of outside legal costs.
As these case studies demonstrate, value approaches hold rich potential for small in-house legal
departments. Although they can be undertaken in a variety of ways, all are scalable and replicable.
Whether you begin with a small pilot on a discrete chunk of work as MSA Safety Incorporated did,
reevaluate your mission and hone in on critical work like ZS Associates and CSA, or just begin to use
technology and social media to communicate with your internal clients, as demonstrated by China State
Construction and HMMA — there is a path that will work for you and your organization. Commitment,
creativity and top-down support are crucial elements. Perhaps some culture change will be in order.
However, as all of our small-department ACC Value Champions emphasize, the main thing is just to begin.