In our annual meetings from 2010, the in-house lawyers with budget responsibility reviewed the
overall budget. Currency-neutral monthly reports showing actuals versus budget are created and
circulated each month to the lawyers. In communications within Europe legal, we emphasize the
importance of responsibly managing expenses and prioritizing matters.
The Coca-Cola legal group in Europe has been working within budget for the last three years (before
2010, it had been repeatedly over budget).
•;Changing the attitude of the in-house lawyers to work as “owners” of the budget allocated to
•;Working with the finance department to ensure that they consistently share the relevant
information about the allocation of expenses.
We are still improving our ability to get access to cost and the forecasting of locally paid expenses
(which are then recharged to the legal budget) to avoid hidden charges and surprises during the year
and at year end/early January.
We are trying to find a method to evaluate the risk created by certain business or legal situations to
better forecast which ones could create budget risks or opportunities (e.g., an issue that can evolve
into significant litigation, a regulatory investigation, or a successful IP lawsuit where damages
awarded go to increase the legal budget). We create an R & O (Risks & Opportunitie) report every
5 C. Determine what will be measured and how
By comparing metrics over time, a GC can demonstrate improvements in law department
performance and cost savings. The following are some metrics that can help
•;reduction in litigation/ lawsuits filed against the company;
•;reduction in regulatory investigations, violation, or sanctions;
•;reduction in internal ethics and compliance issues or complaints;
•;improved turnaround time for law department processes (e.g., faster
•;improved terms (e.g., reduced liability or better prices) in vendor
•;improved staff retention rates.
Excerpted from ACC
Guide to Managing
Outside Counsel – 2011