too time-consuming. In selecting Husch Blackwell as national coordinating counsel, Monsanto
was able to retain the relationships and knowledge of the local firms while establishing a strategic,
data-based approach to case evaluation and resource allocation, backed by process protocols
matched to matter complexity and risk. Even better, the internal team was freed to focus on other
The legal department at AARP turned to an unusual alternative legal service provider: their clients.
In an example of truly thinking about things differently, Associate General Counsel Doris Gilliam
employed a strategy she calls “Train and Trust,” in which internal clients are trained and certified to
provide compliant self-service in content review and publication. As a result, 90 percent of clients
report significant time savings, and the in-house department has seen service requests decline by
more than a third.
Two other Value Champions leveraged innovative thinking while playing with organizational structure. Andeavor instituted Centers of Excellence that support traditional legal specialties, and cross-matrixed them with Business Unit Support teams that focus on key business priority areas. The
company also partnered with Counsel Management Group to implement an RFP process designed
to engage outside counsel on the basis of cost-effectiveness as well as price.
Global power management company Eaton took a similar approach, forming Special Practice
Groups that support traditional legal specialties, and complementing them with Focus Teams
aligned to departmental priorities. Of particular note is the department’s proactive stance in driving
needed change in the organization, including an annual requirement to lead a “Lessons Learned”
initiative to prevent future risk; and restructured pattern litigation procedures derived through
benchmarking that have reduced spend by more than 15 percent.
The lawyers at several of this year’s Champion organizations rolled up their sleeves to develop
custom technologies to get their departments past the tipping point. For example, Walmart’s legal
team partnered with the company’s internal IT department to create a suite of dynamic, connected
dashboards called the General Counsel Insights Platform (GCIP). The GCIP provides information
on key performance indicators at a glance; its development in-house likely saved Walmart around
US$1 million over an outside vendor.
At Pure Storage, where the legal department offers a client satisfaction guarantee, lawyers heavily
customized Contract Express software to create an intuitive, end-to-end solution for processing
contracts. Sales team members can now provide self-service and generated more than 7,000 related
documents in a single fiscal year. For work that stays with the legal department, they designed a
workflow and ticketing system that accelerates client response time and ensures accountability.
Meanwhile, in-house lawyers at Software AG tapped their inner coders to design, test and roll out
their External Legal Manager application in only three weeks, saving the company nearly three
million euros. The application brings transparency and discipline to outside legal spend and has
increased budget predictability by almost 50 percent. The legal department has since developed
more than a dozen more applications that other corporate functions use.
Metrics and data were integral to the success of the value initiatives for three-quarters of this
year’s Champs. Whether tracking their own time to build a business case at Danaher, studying the
nature of law department requests at AARP, understanding the nature and cause of outside legal