Interview with Clifford Barr / Andeavor

Clifford Barr is an associate general counsel for Andeavor, an integrated marketing, logistics and petroleum refining company. Until recently the company was called Tesoro Corporation, where Barr was employed for a dozen years. His job there changed dramatically about a year ago, when the company hired Kim Rucker as its new general counsel. Rucker had previously been general counsel at Kraft, where there was an established legal operations group. But Tesoro, which Barr describes as “very traditional as far as the legal department goes,” had never had one. Rucker was determined to change that. She saw that Barr, whose work in procurement had led him to develop processes and to standardize and streamline procedures, had an aptitude for this sort of thing. (His years as an Air Force JAG officer also came in handy.) So she asked him to create and lead a legal operations team to help transform the legal department from a cost center to a strategic value-added business partner. The interview has been edited for style and length.

Continue Reading Legal Ops 101 for Law Departments: Using key performance indicators and productivity tools to create better outcomes

Interview with Mike Dillon / Adobe Systems Inc.

Mike Dillon, the general counsel of Adobe Systems Inc., isn’t fond of the way many lawyers write. And it’s not just the legal briefs that are anything but. His dissatisfaction even extends to contracts like nondisclosure agreements. So, not long after he landed at the software company in 2012, he set out to do something about it. He thought there was no reason why NDAs had to be a half-dozen pages or longer. He believed they could be reduced to a single page. Taking a cue from our subject, this interview has been edited for style and length.

Continue Reading How We Stripped Down NDAs: Adobe’s GC wanted a nondisclosure agreement template that could be used without calling a lawyer

Article by Eric Lambert 

Nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) – also known as confidentiality agreements, confidential disclosure agreements and proprietary information agreements – are something most business leaders and attorneys deal with from time to time. However, few companies have formalized why, when and how NDAs should be used. Different people at the same organization may have very different approaches to using them, resulting in inconsistent protection of a company’s confidential information and potentially jeopardizing company trade secrets.

Continue Reading Everything You Wanted to Know About NDAs but Were Afraid to Disclose: When and why you need nondisclosure agreements and how to execute them

Interview with Alisa McLellan / Inventus

Alisa McLellan, a licensed attorney, is the director of project management for the Chicago and New York offices at Inventus. She and her team work with inside and outside counsel to manage large data-collection projects for both litigation and internal investigations. In this interview, Alisa shares strategies for managing highly effective and cost efficient e-discovery initiatives. Her remarks have been edited for length and style.

Continue Reading How You Could Be Using Metrics in E-Discovery: General counsel now have the ability to get more involved in the process

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 Blockchain for Lawyers: New technology has changed the capabilities of documents once done with paper and pen

Interview with Linda Hovanec / Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions

Linda Hovanec is a senior director in product management, global business intelligence and analytics at Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions. Lately, she has been devoting a good deal of time to studying law departments’ billing processes. A recent survey that ELM Solutions collaborated on revealed that companies aren’t all that happy with the billing guidelines they use to manage their law firms, and they aren’t doing very much to make them better. As Hovanec sees it, they’re missing a big opportunity to simultaneously strengthen their guidelines and enforcement, while also improving their relationships with their law firms. Her remarks have been edited for style and length.

Continue Reading What Law Departments Need to Know About Billing Guidelines: A survey suggests that many departments have plenty of questions and concerns

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 Giving General Counsel Pricing Predictability: How one firm is honing a process and proprietary technology to deliver accurate estimates

By Rees Morrison/Altman Weil, Inc.

Day after day, managers confront operational problems, think about them and make choices about what to do or not to do. In other words, they decide something. But they don’t always take into account the data available to them when they make those decisions.

Continue Reading Data Should Drive Decisions: It can help counter conscious or unconscious bias

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 Backstory: Happy Campers, Happy Feet

Interview with Christine Coats / Oracle Corporation

Christine Coats has made bringing new speed and efficiency to legal operations the focus of her career. After an early stint with IBM, she became Director of Legal Operations at Symantec in 2005, at a time when the function barely existed. At Symantec, she acted as the general counsel’s chief of staff and ran business operations for the COO’s office. In 2015 she was hired as Vice President of Legal Operations at an even larger software company – Oracle Corporation – where she acts as the general counsel’s right hand. She also serves as the CFO of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC). The interview has been edited for style and length.

Continue Reading The GC’s Right Hand: A legal ops trailblazer found her way when there was no trail. Now she helps others find theirs.