Our trip to the Association of Corporate Counsel meeting in New Orleans provided a wonderful opportunity to meet and learn from general counsel at several medium-sized corporations. What I was most struck by was how several general counsel had recently transformed their legal department to align with their business’ strategic goals. At a session called, “Who Says You Need Big Spend/Size to Drive Value?” general counsel from three medium-sized companies spoke about the steps they took to transform their legal departments. Steps they had in common were:
1) Identify the business’ strategic goals
2) Identify legal needs around each of those goals
3) Prioritize the legal needs by those that present the greatest value and risk to the business goals
4) Determine the optimal use of in-house counsel and outside legal providers to execute on the prioritized list of legal needs
5) Use technology to facilitate efficient collaboration between in-house attorneys, outside legal providers, and business stakeholders in performing the needed services
The uses of technology which the panelists spoke about included a contract management portal that allow business stakeholders to submit and view status of requests for contract review, a document management system that facilitated collaboration between in-house counsel, business stakeholder and outside counsel, and a reporting tool that provided general counsel with an up-to-date status on all open matters. As the product manager for Lawtrac, Mitratech’s matter management and e-billing solution for medium sized legal departments, it was gratifying to know that Lawtrac provides the very tools that companies need as they complete their transformation to best serve their company’s goals.