NetApp’s in-house lawyers view co-Champ Elevate Services as an extension of their department, so closely and cooperatively are they partnered. Seeking to parlay a joint history of focused
improvements into a cohesive program of innovation, NetApp and Elevate applied integrated
models to achieve end-to-end innovation. Legal operations, including enhanced and automated bill
review, focusing outside counsel on value-added work and taking a critical lens to patent applications and renewals, was combined with a competitive bidding process to reduce outside counsel
spend and increase efficiency.
Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) formalized its commitment to legal operations with the creation of
a global director role, and partnered with recent market entrant and co-Champ Onit to devise and
roll out an enterprise-wide software solution. Consistent, repeatable processes, visibility for leadership and ongoing feedback and analytics have improved the management of the law department,
while smart change management techniques smoothed the way for adoption by and partnerships
with other internal departments.
Ricoh USA found its technology solution at Reed Smith, where a SharePoint site was configured
to facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration. After years of relying on Excel spreadsheets,
the in-house department at Ricoh knew there had to be a better way. Customizing the site was a
crucial first step in their evolving partnership that netted a customized extranet housing documents
and files, calendars and statistical reporting tools for employment law matters, including an
automated permissions process that enhances information security.
In addition to ADM, several of this year’s other Champs leveraged the power of metrics, including
value-adds and data analytics. Woolworths provides a powerful example of honing in on and then
tackling the drivers of legal costs. Analyzing historical spend over time gave the members of the
legal department insight into tools and processes that could be used to control spend in the future,
including technology-enabled checks and balances. Armed with information, Woolworths was able
to put competition to work for its own benefit by issuing an RFP for its antitrust and consumer
Integrating metrics, technology, value-based pricing and staffing became a smart solution for
Cabela’s, a small legal department that needed tools to get a handle on employment law matters.
Co-Champ Littler Mendelson provided a case management system (“CaseSmart”) featuring a
dashboard that aggregates metrics on employment-related charges and litigation. This integrated
solution drove an early case evaluation process that benefits Cabela’s in making decisions about
how to pursue those charges. Metrics also drive risk management through employee training and a
total number of claims that is decreasing every year.
At BASF Corporation, the analysis of several years of invoicing data brought new insight into
outside legal spend and equipped the in-house legal department to undertake a multifaceted cost
containment and efficiency initiative. An innovative proprietary algorithm developed in-house,
combined with a new focus on alternative fee arrangements, enables the BASF lawyers to evaluate
and award work to firms based on the value they anticipate and require. The fact that 80 percent
of the company’s annual legal spend is under AFAs seems to signal the inevitable demise of the
A can-do attitude characterizes this year’s Champs, many of whom have experimented fearlessly
in an environment where failure is embraced as a learning opportunity; and where “Why not try?”