PART 1: LAY THE FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESS
Chapter 1. Principles of the Value-Driven Legal Function
1 A. What is the Value Challenge?
The ACC Value Challenge began in 2008 as an initiative to drive law firms to improve
their value and reduce costs. In North America, ACC has held many gatherings of inside and
outside counsel, where corporate counsel challenged private practice lawyers to find ways to reduce
inefficiencies, allocate resources more effectively, and take other steps to increase value. In turn, ACC
has worked with corporate counsel and law firms to develop a range of resources for making progress
with the Value Challenge (many of which have been excerpted and adapted for this Europe-focused
resource). The ACC Value Challange Briefing Package noted that, “the hourly rate billing model that
has ruled for decades is giving way to a greater focus on terms emphasizing value delivered instead of
In the last few years, as outside counsel have made strides in offering alternative fee
arrangements and corporate counsel have made progress in reducing their external legal spend, the
ACC Value Challenge principles have evolved. Corporate counsel have ever-increasing pressures to
do more across a wider, riskier territory with complex regulatory challenges and limited resources.
They often cannot increase headcount and have stagnant or declining budgets. A major 2012 study*
found that 30 percent of more than 100 legal functions of large companies in Europe had seen budget
reductions in the last 18 months.
Efforts by corporate counsel to re-think and reengineer the in-house legal function to
increase productivity and efficiency have led to a broader scope of the ACC Value Challenge. This
view guides the structure of this report on the Value Challenge in Europe. In this report, we will focus
on a range of activities to deliver value in legal services both with outside providers and inside your
organization. Today, the providers are a widening group, although law firms are where much of the
legal spend still resides.
The following is from materials that originated in 2008:
“The ACC Value Challenge is based on the concept that law firms can greatly
improve the value of what they do, reduce their costs to corporate clients and
still maintain strong profitability.
ACC Value Challenge
Briefing Package –
Changes are also needed from inside counsel:
•;Consider going back to long-term, trusted relationships, and
maximizing continuity and expertise from the firms.
•;Let junior associates do front-line work again, especially if the firms
adjust the costs of these lawyers to reflect the value of their
•;Work together to find mutually useful solutions.”
*Global Agenda: Issues and Priorities for Senior Corporate Counsel Worldwide, see page 11.