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.
“More efficiency in delivering legal services is the rallying cry of the ’90s. Clients are demanding improvements in both the speed of delivery of legal services and the price. Fortunately, technology has arrived in the nick of time.”
The above quote, from Weil partner Stephen D. Kahn, is from MCC’s September 1994 issue, the first of many to focus on technology. The tech topics of the day included the miracle of e-mail, computerized litigation support, case management and document assembly, the discovery of electronic evidence and a new tech wunderkind on the block, the CD-ROM!
“Forces of change are reshaping the lawyer’s (and particularly corporate counsel’s) role, which challenge him or her to be both smart and learned – with ‘learned’ having a new dimension, that of information manager.”
That’s from Al Driver, MCC’s founder and editor, who anticipated the drive for data-driven efficiency at the heart of today’s legal ops revolution in a piece for the tech issue:
“The essence of TQM when applied to the law is improving the quality of our output while reducing costs. Many of the old timers would say this approach just won’t work. Anyone who can distinguish day from night should be able to see that a production line differs from our learned profession. Or does it?”
By the summer of 1996, MCC had turned its attention to DuPont’s much-ballyhooed convergence program. The watchword was “partnering,” which was the focus of a seminal ABA conference focused on forging more productive relationships between inside and outside counsel. In an interview in the June 1996 issue, DuPont general counsel Howard J. Rudge discussed how convergence morphed into partnering:
“Our convergence process is directed to restoring a relationship of trust with our firms. I expect our firms to work hard for us. I also want them to make a fair profit because I want them to stay in business. On the other hand, I want them to think and act with consideration for my bottom line and what I want to achieve.”
VP Al Gore leads first information superhighway conference • Police chase O.J. Simpson’s white Ford Bronco • Yahoo! founded • Oklahoma City bombing kills 168 • DJIA closes above 5,000 for first time • Kasparov beats IBM’s “Deep Blue” • Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski arrested in Montana • Tupac Shakur killed in Las Vegas • Clinton beats Dole • GM launches first electric car • Pathfinder lands on Mars • DOJ files antitrust suit against Microsoft • Osama bin Laden linked to U.S. embassy bombings in Africa • Google founded • Exxon buys Mobil for $73.7B