When Matt Fawcett took over as general counsel at NetApp, Inc. in 2010, he knew he wanted to create a legal operations department. He didn’t know he would hire Connie Brenton to start it, and he couldn’t have known how important that early decision would be – or the influence the department they created would have. Fawcett spoke about why he wanted an ops department and the early missteps he wishes he could have avoided (but from which he learned a lot). The interview has been edited for length and style. Continue Reading

Based on my research, during the past five years at least 90 different U.S. organizations published reports based on 190 surveys of U.S. law firms or law departments. That plethora of legal-industry surveys addressed a wide swath of management data. An analysis of the topics finds that compensation, e-discovery and outside counsel cost control were frequent topics, but all manner of other data inquiries were also carried out. The sponsors were primarily publishers, vendors of software or services, bar associations and consultants. At least half a dozen law firms and several trade groups also launched surveys. Continue Reading

Susan Hackett is a law practice management and legal operations consultant; she founded her firm, Legal Executive Leadership, LLC, after serving for more than two decades as the general counsel of the Association of Corporate Counsel. One of her best known initiatives at ACC continues to occupy her in her current practice: promoting the use of value-based or alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) to make costs more predictable, transparent and aligned with the value of the legal services provided – for both firms and clients.  Her remarks have been edited for length and style. Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

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

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

Thomson Reuters recently released the first edition of a new semiannual report focused on legal department operations. It’s called the Legal Tracker LDO Index Benchmarking & Trends Report, which puts it squarely under the company’s e-billing and matter management brand, Legal Tracker. (Tracker evolved out of Thomson’s 2010 acquisition of Serengeti and has become the most widely used e-billing platform in the world.) Continue Reading

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

Law departments of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain with data analytics!

Your business is awash in numbers, along with software tools you can use to learn from them. You also have an important cadre of allies: Your key law firms have for years been stockpiling operational numbers about your work that will help you increase and demonstrate your department’s value to your company. But those firms need prodding to encourage them to mine their data for your benefit. That’s why you need to stay informed and involved.

The five imperatives below are the kinds of things you may want to say to your key firms. If you do, this manifesto gives you an easy way to deliver the message. Continue Reading

Article by David Hechler

There was an early television show called Naked City, and it always ended with this voice-over: “There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.” There must be more than eight million in the civil justice litigation docket. Here’s one that highlights an important trend by veering the other way. Continue Reading