By: Todd Steggerda & Edwin O. Childs, McGuireWoods LLP

Let’s start with the good news. Companies that do business with the government often reap substantial rewards. The bad news is that they must do so in a souped up enforcement environment most others businesses do not face. Todd Steggerda and Edwin Childs know their way around the government-contracting ecosystem. Below they discuss what it takes for companies to stay on the right side of these unique and demanding customers. Their remarks have been edited for length and style.
Continue Reading Government Contractors Face Enhanced Enforcement: But opportunities abound for companies willing to confront risks and requirements others do not face

By: Mark Haddad, Thomson Reuters

It’s no secret that corporate legal departments are struggling to do more with less. In the aftermath of the 2008 global economic crisis, corporate counsel faced cost pressures and brought more work in-house. Today, legal departments continue to adjust to cost constraints while dealing with how to manage internal and external resources to achieve greater efficiency and productivity.
Continue Reading Improving In-House Efficiency: The increasing role of legal department operations professionals

By: Kris Satkunas, LexisNexis CounselLink

A vast majority of corporate legal departments withheld hiring new law firms to handle their significant legal matters in 2015, according to the LexisNexis CounselLink 2015 Year-End Enterprise Legal Management Trends (ELM) Trends Report. The study concludes that while most legal departments stayed with their incumbent law firms in 2015 to handle their significant legal matters, there were exceptions to the rule – most notably in the areas of litigation and corporate matters.
Continue Reading Law Departments Stick with Firms They Know: Report reveals exception for significant corporate and litigation matters

By: Kris Satkunas, LexisNexis CounselLink

With the legal industry buzzing about metrics and analytics, corporate legal professionals are eager to get their hands on more information. Rather than diving blindly into the data that is housed in their enterprise legal management solution, a better approach involves identifying, first and foremost, the questions that are most important to the legal department and digging for data to help answer those questions.

Continue Reading Peeling the Onion: Six steps to optimize the data mining process

By: Joe Calve, Metropolitan Corporate Counsel

Last month, in the sweltering depths of a tumultuous summer, the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ), an association of top state judicial leaders, and its civilian counterpart, the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA), took an important, if little noticed, step toward righting a badly listing civil justice ship. Both groups threw their weight behind a report by CCJ’s 23-member Civil Justice Improvement Committee (CJIC), led by Chief Justice Thomas A. Balmer of Oregon, beseeching state judicial leaders to take 13 specific steps to improve the U.S. civil justice system. The report, entitled “Call to Action: Achieving Civil Justice for All,” is a joint venture of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS), with funding provided by the State Justice Institute (SJI). Joining Balmer’s committee were a number of corporate law department representatives, including David G. Leitch, Global GC of Bank of America; Tom Falahee, Assistant GC of Ford; and two retired GCs, Thomas Allman of BASF and Kim Brunner of State Farm.

If acronyms are any indicator, this effort just may have legs.

As we’ve written here previously, the planets
Continue Reading Civil Justice Playbook: A Call for Customer-Centric Courts

By: Barbara Darkes, McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC

I learned in my undergraduate studies in criminal justice that the most successful deterrents to unlawful behavior are the likelihood of getting caught, the certainty of punishment, and the swiftness of the punishment. In 30 years, that has not changed, whether it involves street crime, white-collar crime, regulatory compliance, or compliance with any other laws, rules, or policies (even Mom’s rule to not skip school!).

In recent decades, we seem to hear more than ever about corporate wrongdoing. Is that because of the continued expansion of media sources and people’s constant connection to those sources? Perhaps. The better question, which is the focus of this article and should be the focus of every company, is how to avoid being the next headline.

Leaders in many corporate organizations, especially smaller companies (defined by the U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines as any company with less than 200 employees), lead with a misconception that corporate compliance and ethics training is not a concern for them. They take the position, “I’m a good, law-abiding person, so is my leadership team, and we are surrounded by people just like us. We hired them and we don’t hire

Continue Reading A Game Changer: How your company crafts and implements a compliance program makes all the difference

By: Lloyd M. Johnson Jr., Chief Legal Executive LLC

For NetApp Inc.’s legal department, the autobahn isn’t just a ribbon of pavement slicing through the German countryside. In symbolic terms at least, it’s the route to the future.Three years ago, the Silicon Valley data management giant adopted the idea of using the autobahn to describe its legal department strategy. Like the famed European highway, the NetApp Autobahn emphasizes speed, efficiency and meticulous engineering, while evoking themes of international scope and destination.

Continue Reading NetApp Legal Team Races Ahead: Playing a key role in achieving the company’s business goals

By: Vicki Kramer, Marcy Cohen and Mary Quazzo, Thirty Percent Coalition

Getting more women, and more diverse representation of all kinds, on corporate boards is a goal for a number of groups. Now the Thirty Percent Coalition has pulled together many of them, along with various other individuals with a shared interest, to work together on increasing the velocity of change in the boardroom. Below, two leading in-house counsel, Marcy Cohen of ING Americas and Mary Quazzo of Bechtel Group, Inc.,  join with Vicki Kramer, president of the Thirty Percent Coalition, to discuss with MCC the group’s goals and their own thoughts and experiences on what GCs and CLOs can do to advance diversity in their companies’ boardrooms. Their remarks have been edited for length and style.

MCC: Please tell our readers about the Thirty Percent Coalition.

Kramer: We are a national collaboration of more than 80 members. We’re committed to the goal of women, including women of color, holding 30 percent of board seats across public companies, on the way to parity. We have a diverse group of members that includes public companies, private equity funds, institutional investors, professional services firms, national women’s organizations, government officials and

Continue Reading On the Road to Parity in the Boardroom: The Thirty Percent Coalition makes a strong case for more women, including women of color, becoming corporate directors

By: Rebecca Love Kourlis, Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System and Brittany Shultz, Ford Motor Company

Nine months after major changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) took effect, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) continues its outreach to attorneys and judges to educate them about the impact of the rules on practices and caseloads. Below, IAALS’ Rebecca Love Kourlis joins with Brittany Schultz of Ford Motor Company to discuss the impact of the rules from an in-house perspective. Their remarks have been edited for length and style.

MCC: Can you make the case for why the changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were needed in the first place?

Kourlis: The civil justice system was, and to some extent still is, plagued by inefficiencies and bloated costs, which were undermining access and public trust and confidence. A significant portion of those costs were in conjunction with discovery.

Schultz: The ever-increasing scope of discovery led to a “scorched earth, overturn every stone” approach, which created problems for efficiency, proper case management and resolution of cases.

Kourlis: The Duke 2010 Conference took on the question of how to make

Continue Reading The Federal Tools of Civil Procedure: The FRCP amendments are waiting to be used by litigants and judges to build a better litigation system