January 2016 ●
departments interested in bringing more efficiency and focus to
their management practices to
“jump right in.”
“Just start somewhere,” she
suggests. That means do not be
afraid to make improvements just
because the amount of comparative data for a baseline is not yet
refined. in fact, sometimes you
can have too much data from
which to compare numbers.
Another key piece of advice
is do not assume you know how
something gets done. instead, ask
a lot of questions and observe how
things are achieved. That means
talk to everyone involved.
As you watch a process, keep
an eye out to avoid duplication of
work where two or more people
are doing the same thing, she adds.
Also, perhaps there is an electronic
way to achieve something as an option to a multi-step manual process.
That is just part of the overall effort to eliminate unnecessary work.
For instance, based on her experience defense attorneys kept multiple litigation databases. The same
documents needed to be uploaded
multiple times. But, by using efficient management techniques,
msA consolidated the documents
so there was one platform with
cloud storage. manual processes
were re-automated and claims
were processed electronically. As a
result, it became easier to retrieve
data and compile reports.
By using these methods, msA
was able to save a lot of money.
And the initiative was recognized
by peers with msA and the Reed
smith law firm being named an
Association of corporate counsel
Value champion in 2014.
more advice comes from stephen Roth, vice president and general counsel at Jewelry Television.
The company has an eight-person
legal department including four
lawyers. Roth says the department
has “appropriate” risk management on the front end so litigation
on the back end is minimized.
He says they choose their outside law firms by expertise and
price. often, though, the department opts for regional and local
firms “matter by matter,” Roth says.
overall, their strategy is to min-
moreover, legal teams need to
not think of themselves as “cost
centers,” Roth said. But instead
look at themselves as adding to
revenue and how they can help to
minimize expenses. examples are
when there is litigation recovery or
When figuring out where to
spend money in connection with
legal costs, it is important not to
forget advocacy efforts—which can
help save money in the long run.
Todd Tetzler, general counsel
and vice president of Public Af-
fairs at Family express corp., who
is also advocacy chair at the Acc,
advises that, “Advocacy is abso-
lutely necessary…. There are a lot
of things that happen federally
sure there are national or re-
gional associations of companies
or professionals. “The associations
have a place,” Tetzler explains.
“But the associations have very
little impact if legislators don’t
know who the people behind the
eventually, state and national
legislators will see company of-
ficials as resources who they can
regularly turn to, so they can help
identify potential issues. compa-
nies also may want to use lobbyists
to help get them in front of regula-
tors or legislators.
“They’ve got to know who you
are,” Tetzler says. “if they [legisla-
tors] see you there every year [dur-
ing legislative sessions]—helping
them with industry issues—you
become a resource for them.” ●
imize the use of outside counsel by
bringing repetitive work in house.
They match the task with the ap-
propriate in-house attorney based
on the lawyer’s particular exper-
tise. For instance, contract review
and contract drafting are done in-
house, usually, as are review of in-
tellectual property issues and most
trademark and copyright work.
Given the cost of outside coun-
sel, it comes out more favorably
to bring these kinds of matters in-
house, especially if it is repetitive
work. even when going outside,
Roth says the department does not
need to go to the most expensive
law firm in the nation. in fact, he
says companies may actually get
more “credibility” with judges if
the company uses regional firms.
“This will continue to be a
trend for us,” Roth says.
From his vantage point, Roth
would like to see more feedback
from the outside law firms advis-
ing his company. There is not
frequent guidance on emerging is-
sues that could impact the compa-
ny. Firms that do provide that kind
of advice regularly show, “They are
truly interested and get our busi-
ness,” Roth says.
Among his advice to other
companies, is to ensure legal in-
volvement in a business is proac-
tive and ongoing, rather than a
“reactive measure… just when
there’s a problem.” And when the
company is considering expan-
sion into a foreign market, legal
departments need to be involved
in the discussion early on.
“We want the
current work and
goals and the
GC, MSA Safety