Connie Collingsworth is chief business operations officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Her remarks have been edited for length and style.

CCBJ: What led you to pursue a career in law?

Connie Collingsworth: I was somewhat strong-willed, always standing up for what was right, and I wanted to be an independent professional. Standing in line at my high school graduation, I remember telling a friend’s father that I planned to be a lawyer. It was 1976. He thought it was a funny thing for a young girl to say. It’s a very distinct memory. That’s when I knew my goal was to become a lawyer. Continue Reading

When you think of enterprise legal management (ELM) systems, you probably think about the ways they can make spend and matter management more efficient. But ELM systems are quickly evolving, becoming more comprehensive all the time, and today they can help optimize contract management, NDA creation and distribution, legal holds, legal service requests and much more. Continue Reading

CCBJ: Akin Gump has been recognized by the Financial Times for its work in compliance and technology. What led to that recognition?

Thomas McCarthy: Beginning over a decade ago, there was an upswing in enforcement trends by the U.S. government in areas that affected our clients – particularly export controls, sanctions and anticorruption. Continue Reading

Legal technology, information management, cost control and convergence move into the spotlight.

To celebrate our 25th anniversary, we are digging into the MCC archives for insights into the evolution and accomplishments of corporate counsel. Last issue, we focused on our inaugural edition. This issue we examine our first five years – 1994-98 – a period when corporate counsel were focused on building closer relationships with outside counsel, exemplified by the DuPont partner program. Our next four issues will tackle five years of MCC at a clip. Enjoy the trip. Continue Reading

Jonah Paransky of Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions explains how law department will deliver value with operational rigor. His remarks have been edited for length and style.

CCBJ: How has the corporate legal department’s role expanded beyond its traditional responsibilities?

Jonah Paransky: There are several key items worthy of notice. The first is there’s been a sea change in expectations for how corporate legal departments will operate. Continue Reading

Late last year, CLOC, the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, released the results of its first annual State of the Industry Survey, looking at such metrics as legal spend; legal department and legal ops headcounts; commonly used e-billing vendors, contract management systems and alternative service providers; and law firm evaluation priorities.

The respondents represented 156 companies in 32 industries, spanning 30 U.S. states and 11 countries. With a median company revenue of $7 billion, they claimed an average external spend of $60 million per company. Continue Reading

Gage Johnson is senior VP, general counsel and secretary of Paramount Group Inc., a New York City-based public REIT. His remarks have been edited for length and style.

CCBJ: How did you become a lawyer?

Gage Johnson: When I was a kid, there was a TV show called “Perry Mason,” a lawyer who helped people out of jams. Mason also always won and was fun to watch. My dad, a lawyer in Bowling Green, Kentucky, looked like Perry Mason. He became a judge, so it was natural for me to become a lawyer. Continue Reading

Litigation based on this tort has grown exponentially – and needs to be governed by clear and reasonable standards.

Before the industrial revolution, the tort of public nuisance was easily understood and reasonably applied. Over the past few decades, new technologies and manufacturing processes evolved. The new processes entailed new techniques, substances, waste disposal methods and habits. Public nuisance litigation adapted to deal with these issues and ultimately evolved to encompass the new problems. Plantiffs’ counsel are now using the tort far beyond its traditional limits and expectations – often involving large cities, regions, coastal areas and water supplies. Continue Reading

An annotated review of Information Governance Insights columns from 2017

The scope of corporate counsel duties has changed rather rapidly and drastically in the past decade. As companies have quickly begun to digitalize nearly every aspect of their operations, digital information has become the lifeblood and primary asset of nearly all business, in every industry, in every sector. Whether a company makes or sells widgets, transports goods or people, facilitates markets or financial transactions, or provides services of any sort, in the past few years it has also become an information business. The volume of digital information flowing through companies has also grown exponentially in this same short period. Continue Reading

There is an undisputable tension in the legal ecosystem. How do you explain it? Is it a natural tension that flares up every other decade? Is this the last industry to finally embrace technology? Is it a perfectly normal cycle that occurs from a macroeconomic perspective when innovation forces change? Or a combination of them all? There is obvious change evident in the pace of legal technology advancements, but that is only one part of the broader ecosystem. Here’s where that evolution is happening. Continue Reading

Recently, the topic of culture has rocketed up the corporate agenda. Look no further than our interview with Nick Donofrio and Helene Gayle, who recently led a Blue Ribbon Commission on culture for the National Association of Corporate Directors. Why take a hard look now at a “soft” topic such as culture? Check the headlines, says Donofrio, a member of the NACD board. Continue Reading