15,000 trademarks. The department also managed its own split, using information from an online
time-recording survey to determine the staffing models of the legal teams for the two new entities.
Prevention was the name of the game at hhgregg. Working with law firm co-Champ Ogletree
Deakins, the company analyzed company policies and past employment litigation to uncover the
need for training and policy changes. Employee-relations staff were equipped with new technology
and empowered to manage many legal requests without legal assistance. Litigation has dropped by
74 percent and claims by 60 percent, a truly impressive result in such a high-churn industry.
At California-based Palace Entertainment, prevention efforts were aimed at reducing safety
issues that resulted in guest and employee injuries and litigation. By redesigning policies, training,
procedures, and signage, and by pursuing accountability, Palace has made safety the number 1
priority for everyone in the company. As a result, personal injury claims are down 80 percent and
worker’s comp claims have declined by 55 percent.
While those companies focused on prevention, another 2016 Champ turned attention to enforcement. In the case of Aegean Motorway S.A., the legal department created an agile, nimble team to
solve a business-wide problem: toll violations, which amounted to annual losses of up to $8 million.
By handling and tracking legal notices in-house, the company avoided millions in outside legal
Several 2016 ACC Value Champions turned their attention to creating innovative collaborations for
procurement and contracting. Faced with pressure to complete a high volume of contracts faster,
better, and cheaper, these companies partnered with procurement to reengineer the contracting
process, creating templates, implementing project management techniques, and establishing
metrics and key performance indicators. In several cases, these efforts were complemented by the
use of fixed-fee arrangements that contribute to deeper partnerships with outside counsel.
Working with co-Champ Hunton & Wlliams, Axalta Coating Systems seized the opportunity
after separating from DuPont to create a new procurement system from scratch. They thoughtfully considered the unique commercial aspects and risk tolerance of the business, then drafted
agreements that enabled negotiation while protecting the company’s interests. A suite of 13 new
templates, and playbooks to guide their use, were rolled out and training provided to procurement
staff; now 62 percent of contracts are handled without legal department involvement.
Microsoft adopted a shared services model to revolutionize its contracting processes. Partnering
with two law firms for maximum geographic coverage under fixed-fee arrangements, the company
established new workflows, defined metrics for success, and leveraged strong project management. Demonstrating a strong focus on continuous improvement, this Champ uses service-level
agreements to make expectations clear, and broad data collection allows the tracking of volume,
trends and identification of opportunities to further drive efficiency.
Eschewing the self-service approach, the legal department at fast-casual restaurant chain Red
Robin wanted to review all procurement contracts—but how to handle the volume? The company
worked with co-Champ Bryan Cave to build a comprehensive contract management system
that streamlines and automates the process, tracks status, and monitors crucial provisions and
deadlines. A key component is the “green sheet,” which spells out exactly what approvals are
needed for each contract based on type and value. Red Robin has netted improvements in timeliness, predictability, and risk as a result of the initiative.
A third group of 2016 Value Champions completed major transformation projects that drive value
to the bottom line. As legal departments are put to the test with increasing demands for lower