The employment law team’s involvement in the
human resources IT system now allows it to
track and predict pre-claim and claim trends.
They can leverage the system’s analytics to
view the full life cycle of labor issues through
mediation, litigation, and outcomes and gain
valuable insight into labor issues that may
lead to recommendations for policy changes.
Once effected, “We can track the impact of a
policy change as it ripples along the lifecycle,”
“IT has transformed us from waiting to having
a seat at the strategic table,” he continues. “I
guess it is a paradox of smart working: We can
do more with less if we harness the power of IT.
Simultaneously the number of claims has been
Training and knowledge building. The employment law department has focused on building
confidence in its HR and business colleagues to
utilize the front door and self-service opportunities through training sessions, webinars,
and podcasts. The material is designed to
be accessible and is presented in layman’s
Once processes were simplified and consistent, technology was in place for self-service,
and users had been trained in its use, the legal
department was poised to complete the most
critical part of its transformation:
Focusing on high-value work by bringing
support for large-scale strategic business
initiatives in-house. “We have in-depth
knowledge of the business and its risk/reward
choices that external legal service providers
simply cannot offer,” says Keith. “There was a
breakthrough moment when we broke down
the barrier between ‘defense attorney’ and
This new capability and bandwidth has allowed
the department to go from handling almost no
in-house transactions to handling 267 in 2014.
The average transaction value has increased
from $17 million to $30 million. In 2015-16, they
provided support for BT’s $18 billion acquisition of EE, a mobile carrier. Simultaneously, the
department has reduced outside legal spend
by $1 million per year, for a total reduction of 73
percent between 2013 and 2015.
Keith refers to all of this as “achieving
“Our clients have welcomed that closeness with
open arms,” he says. “This is central to what we
see as the corporate counsel’s raison d’etre.”
Benefits of the project have been more than
financial. Engagement and job satisfaction
among members of the legal team have soared,
as they have learned new skills and taken on
new responsibilities. “This has been transformational for their careers,” Keith says.
“The team is enjoying the rich variety of the
work. It’s incredibly exciting and rewarding to
be able to contribute meaningfully.”
Great story. The submission demonstrated sustainable results
since inception in 2013. Despite a reduction in internal force, the
program still managed to reduce external spend significantly.
Standardization and training were the keystones of the project.