others can follow. This year’s honorees include twelve law departments that delivered substantial
value to their clients by applying common-sense management principles and adapting business-side
tools and techniques. Nominations were submitted by companies in a wide range of industries and
countries around the world. The nominations were rigorously evaluated by a panel of judges who
were keenly focused on sustained, well-measured and -documented results and programs that are
both sustainable and replicable. Past ACC Value Champions Aine Lyons, vice president and deputy
general counsel at VMware; Christopher Smith, senior manager of legal and general counsel at
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama; and John Keith, employment law chief counsel at BT Group
carefully considered the nominations based on their own understanding of the challenges involved.
”Not only did the judges have a variety of accents—British, Irish and Southern American—they also
had a variety of experiences and perspectives to bring to bear in the discernment process. And
they were striving to put together a ‘winners’ circle’ that showcases a variety of approaches to
improving value from legal departments big and small, and with a mix of partners that reflects the
legal services ecosystem,” Moynihan says.
Two of this year’s Value Champions focused on convergence and fees, sharpening outside
counsel management practices to control costs. Shell took a fresh look at external spend, and
brought pricing expertise to bear as the legal department formulated their version of AFAs:
“appropriate” fee arrangements, which span a spectrum of possible rate structures. As Shell sought
to formulate true and innovative partnerships, the number of outside firms was reduced from
400 to fewer than 100 via a six-step process. The legal department tracks and reports on valuable
metrics through its new Quarterly Business Review dashboard, thereby driving performance.
Avis Budget Group’s legal department undertook an even more dramatic convergence effort,
reducing its outside firms from nearly 700 to fewer than 20. Informed by a disaggregation exercise
and the move of more high-value work in-house, the in-house legal team devised global target
rates for each panel firm that depend on the type of work being performed and include various
Legal operations was a key ingredient for several 2017 Value Champions. Whether creating an
entirely new function or refining an existing model, these legal operations professionals played vital
roles in transforming the way their departments function by combining value strategies to assign
legal work, thereby controlling costs and improving outcomes.
By combining disciplined project management with technology and tools, for example, Express
Scripts and co-Champ Husch Blackwell revamped their joint approach to managing litigation.
Leveraging legal operations and project management along with process maps, assignment maps,
automated budget tracking and online collaboration means that an in-house staff of only four
attorneys can handle every aspect of litigation for a Fortune 25 company.
The three-person legal department at Bankrate worked to bring commercial contracting under
control through a comprehensive legal operations approach that included standardized key
agreements; playbooks; new policies, reports and forms; and robust client education. A negotiated flat-fee arrangement based on volume with their primary law firm, coupled with new billing
guidelines and a new matter management system, paved the way for greatly increased budget
predictability and greatly reduced outside spend.