For the first time in some years, law departments are anticipating bigger budgets, and they plan to put that money to work in-house. That’s bad news for outside counsel, who continue to sit squarely in the crosshairs of spend-conscious general counsel and their ops squads, who, despite their growing budgets, plan to cut outside counsel’s share from 40% to 36%.                              
Continue Reading Cost Control Is Job 1

Recently, the topic of culture has rocketed up the corporate agenda. Look no further than our interview with Nick Donofrio and Helene Gayle, who recently led a Blue Ribbon Commission on culture for the National Association of Corporate Directors. Why take a hard look now at a “soft” topic such as culture? Check the headlines, says Donofrio, a member of the NACD board.
Continue Reading Backstory: A Voice at the Table

You have to hand it to Firoz Dattu. The former Paul Weiss lawyer and founder of AdvanceLaw sure knows how to whip up a crowd. Earlier this year, with no small amount of media fanfare, Dattu unleashed something he calls the GC Thought Leaders Experiment. Haven’t heard of Firoz, or AdvanceLaw, or the Thought Leaders Experiment? No worries. Dattu trots out a nifty marital metaphor to describe the project.

Continue Reading Backstory: The “Yelpification” of Law

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 length and style.

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.