For ContractWorks co-founder Albert Oaten, AI is not an abstract future; it is the concrete means to help law departments save money, save time and mitigate risk – right now.
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Barnes & Thornburg’s Jared Applegate discusses challenges and ideas for gathering and using data.

CCBJ: Both law firms and in-house law departments look to gain pricing certainty from a better understanding of data related to matters. What type of data should be focused upon?

Jared Applegate: From an in-house law department perspective and, frankly, from a law firm perspective, I think you always want to start with the end in mind. Ask these questions: At the end of the day, what business decisions will be driven by the capture and analysis of the data? Will that ultimately provide greater value/insights to my business unit leaders?  
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CCBJ: Akin Gump has been recognized by the Financial Times for its work in compliance and technology. What led to that recognition?

Thomas McCarthy: Beginning over a decade ago, there was an upswing in enforcement trends by the U.S. government in areas that affected our clients – particularly export controls, sanctions and anticorruption.
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Jonah Paransky of Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions explains how law departments will deliver value with operational rigor. His remarks have been edited for length and style.

CCBJ: How has the corporate legal department’s role expanded beyond its traditional responsibilities?

Jonah Paransky: There are several key items worthy of notice. The first is there’s been a sea change in expectations for how corporate legal departments will operate.
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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.
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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%.                              
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For 10 years now, the Blickstein Group, in cooperation with Consilio, has been surveying Legal Ops and other law department professionals, focusing solely on the operations function and seeks to provide benchmarks that are useful to the largest law departments. They have just completed the 2017 survey, sponsored by QuisLex, Exterro, Onit, Wolters Kluwer, Legal Decoder, iManage and HighQ, and the results are fascinating as always.
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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.

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