Law Department Administration

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

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

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

Outside counsel guidelines have become increasingly complex, requiring companies to pay special attention to both details and trends in billing. Our editors sat down with Linda Hovanec and Matt Kivlin of Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions, to talk about building a strong spend management program and how artificial intelligence can help identify irregularities and errors in billing, and therefore increase efficiencies within legal spend management. Their remarks have been edited for length and style. Continue Reading

By Jason Mark Anderman / American Express Company

What if you and your counterparty possessed 100 percent certainty that every word and every signature in every contract you’ve negotiated were perfectly accurate? What if every payment obligation could be automatically enforced without human involvement? What if you could stack contractual duties in condition-precedent dominoes so that you automatically paid a supplier fee only after valid confirmation of goods delivery?

This is no fantasy. It’s the world offered by smart contracts today. Continue Reading

Interview with A. Carter Arey / McGuireWoods

A. Carter Arey is a senior counsel at McGuireWoods who co-leads the firm’s ClientSync team. Her focus is on legal project management (LPM), which is designed to help the lawyers deliver what their corporate clients want: quality legal services, pricing and predictability that they can understand and plan around. The interview has been edited for length and style. Continue Reading

By Joe Calve

The Association of Corporate Counsel has released a broad new survey, “Global Perspectives: ACC In-House Trends Report,” focused on issues that have a direct impact on the professional lives of corporate counsel. Almost 2,000 in-house lawyers across 53 countries participated, including 81 percent who are ACC members, 31 percent who work outside the U.S. and 28 percent who are the top legal executive (GC or CLO) in their company.

Some of the trends identified, especially in the section on in-house legal/business priorities, are “painfully obvious,” as ACC puts it. Compliance, regulatory and cybersecurity continue to top the list of in-house concerns and, as ACC reports, are driving law departments to divert resources their way. Continue Reading

By Joe Calve

Nine general counsel of non-insurance companies sent a letter to the American Law Institute on the eve of the organization’s annual meeting expressing “strong concern” over the direction taken in its proposed Restatement of Law, Liability Insurance. In response, ALI on May 23 postponed a final vote, noting that the draft’s Reporters needed another year to complete their work. Glenn Lammi, Chief Counsel, Legal Studies Division, of the Washington Legal Foundation, who has tracked this controversy, in an article posted to Forbes (bit.ly/2stN48x) called it “an especially troubling instance of where the American Law Institute (ALI), a private organization known for its ‘Restatements’ of common law in areas such as torts, products liability, and contracts, was instead revising the law. . . . ALI’s stated mission is to ‘clarify’ and ‘modernize’ the law. . . . With projects like the Restatement of the Law, Copyright (which we criticized in a 2015 post) and now the liability insurance Restatement, the organization has been blurring the line between restating and revising.” The following excerpts from the GCs’ letter have been edited for length and style. Continue Reading

Article by: Michael W. Peregrine

The challenges associated with board oversight duties in “crisis situations,” and related expectations regarding director attentiveness, are highlighted in a recent Wall Street Journal article concerning Theranos. It serves as a reminder of the valuable role that general counsel can play in supporting the ability of directors to satisfy these duties and expectations. Continue Reading