Message from the Chair
Stephanie Lambert, Managing Counsel, Staples, Inc.
“Let it Go” is a constant refrain in my house as a result of the popular Disney movie Frozen. But “letting it go” also applies in my work at Staples as an in house lawyer—the “it” in this case being the legal work that I let go and assign to others on my team. This process of letting work go to others is what we know more formally as “delegation” in business parlance. Delegation is a leadership skill that is not always easy to master right out of the gate, which is why learning to let go can be an iterative process over time for those of us used to working as individual contributors and owning the work assigned to us. As we climb the ladder in our departments, thoughtful delegation can become crucial to our continued success. We cannot possibly do all of the work coming in the door, nor is it cost-effective to have a seasoned lawyer do the work that a junior lawyer or paralegal could do just as easily.
Delegation is critical for success as a General Counsel focusing on strategic consultation to a board and the C-suite at a large corporation. GCs serving large corporations have a myriad of responsibilities separate and apart from providing legal advice. Budgeting, staffing, personnel issues, and strategic planning, for instance, are all concerns that take the GC away from the core work of his or her role as a lawyer for the corporation. Many GCs have solved this challenge by delegating these operational functions to non-legal staff with specific expertise in these areas. This has freed up the GC’s time and the time of staff lawyers to work on more strategic and higher level matters for the corporation. These GCs have also learned that legal operations professionals not only take work off of a GC’s plate but also that the law department runs more efficiently and effectively as a result of their efforts.
Acknowledging the value of operational management to law departments, the ACC has recently established a Legal Operations Section which kicked off with a conference in Chicago on June 3-4. The Law Department Management Committee commends the ACC for this dynamic step in acknowledging the need for these professionals to have their own community platform for collaboration. Topics at the kickoff conference ran the gamut from learning to apply Lean Six Sigma to risk analysis to right sourcing and staffing. Certainly these are all hot topics important to GCs running large law departments. Whether you already have a legal ops function in your law department or you are considering hiring in this area, GCs working for large corporations should consider the benefits that delegating operations to professional staff may provide.
To help provide seasoned, practical advice from a GC on the use of legal operations staff we asked Kristin Campbell, EVP and General Counsel at Hilton Hotels, a few questions on her use of legal operations professionals below in our Member Spotlight. Kristin’s experience setting up and using legal operations functions for two publicly traded corporations is evidence that letting this type of work go to be handled by operational experts can have a positive impact on the department and the lawyers working in it. To keep the conversation going on legal operations, we welcome comments on your use of legal operations professionals in our committee’s eGroup on the ACC website.
Law Department Management Committee Chair
[ Return to Top
Spotlight on Members
Kristin Campbell is Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Hilton Worldwide in Washington, D.C. She joined the company in June 2011 and is responsible for leading Hilton Worldwide's global legal, compliance and government relations functions. Prior to Hilton Worldwide, Ms. Campbell was Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Staples, Inc., a $25 billion international office products company. In both these roles Ms. Campbell utilized legal operations professionals to manage global legal departments. She has kindly agreed to answer a few questions from the committee about her experience implementing and utilizing legal operations personnel as General Counsel.
1) LDMC - Could you explain how your legal department is structured at Hilton, what functions legal operations handles, and how the head of legal operations fits into your management team.
Answer: At Hilton Worldwide, we have 145 members of the Legal team, including 55 lawyers, and 90 members of our professional staff. We have several offices around the globe, including Orlando, Memphis, London, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, and at our global headquarters in McLean, Virginia. At Hilton Legal, we use a ‘line of sight” model which is a hybrid centralized/decentralized approach and which is structured around the specific needs of business. This model is designed to provide visibility into all parts of the business, at both the enterprise level and on a local, targeted level. For example, matters which have global or enterprise wide applicability or impact such as public company compliance, or hotel brand standards, are handled by our enterprise group. Most of the transactional work, however, is overseen locally, with our regional legal resources working closely with the business partners in those regions and simultaneously connecting across the Legal function to ensure our line of sight is 360 degrees at all times.
Our strategy at Hilton Legal (referred to as SPOT) is based upon a core mission and has four key pillars --Operational Excellence is one of the critical pillars. We believe that to be successful as a legal function, we must work efficiently, and be deliberate and mindful regarding our use of Company resources. Every day, through our Legal Operations efforts, we attempt to demonstrate our value to the organization.Legal Operations is part of the enterprise group but works closely with everyone on the Legal team as well as internal business partners and external vendors and others. The Legal Operations role is comprised of four main functions:
All elements are critical to achieving our strategic goals. The head of Legal Operations reports to a Senior Vice President (rather than the general counsel), but also sits on the legal leadership team.
- Legal Technology and Business Process
- Business Planning and Performance
- Communication and Team-building
2) LDMC: When you arrived at Hilton, how did you go about evolving the legal operations function in place there? How did you justify the additional headcount?
Answer: When I arrived at Hilton there was an operations manager in place. She is a wonderful person who had come east with other members of Hilton Legal when the company relocated from Beverly Hills to Virginia back in 2009. I’ll never forget – on my first day in the office she came in and said “Nice to meet you, and please don’t take this personally, but I quit!” She had left her family in Los Angeles, had accomplished what she needed to in helping to transition the department, and it was time for her to return home. She had done a great job of keeping the trains running on time, but with my entry it was a perfect opportunity to move the operations role to its next evolutionary stage.
Like with all things, it started with a plan based on goals we wanted to achieve. Legal was known as being heavily reliant on outside counsel and it was clear there was no standard approach for engaging counsel nor for having high visibility into outside counsel activities, or associated costs. In addition, there was no standard way for tracking our activities – no matter management system was in place. The systems utilized were antiquated and not available to all global offices, so tracking our value was a bit of a patchwork quilt.
Justifying the expense in forming a Legal Operations function is less challenging if you speak to the long term benefits – your CEO is always more interested in making investments in things that will save on costs and increase productivity and efficiency, so the trick is to develop a meaningful business case that illustrates how investments in legal operations personnel and systems will have an ROI for the company. (And then of course you have to come through!)
3) LDMC: What have been the key contributions of your legal operations team to the Hilton legal department? How is the legal operations function perceived by your in-house counsel and by other internal and external constituencies?
Answer: Key contributions include:
Completed a comprehensive analysis of our department systems and has partnered with IT to develop our legal technology roadmap for the next 2-5 years.
- Manages the process by which the leadership team assesses legal risks for the company.
- Actively managing an RFP process for a new matter management system that will drive greater visibility and oversight into our work, and hence our value to the overall organization.
- Held a key role in our convergence process, where we went from over 300 outside providers to approximately 35 providers. Legal Ops was critical in helping with the overall strategy and in partnering on the RFP process. In addition, Legal Ops helped organized communications with the law firms on the process, including a very tech-savvy way of launching the initiative (through a card with an embedded file, which resembled a hotel key card). Since then, Legal Ops has managed the overall billing and administrative process with all firms.
- Importantly, while we don’t have our long term matter management tool in place yet, Legal Ops has already been instrumental in helping provide manual financial reporting and metrics for our activities in legal, which has received much acclaim from our business partners.
- Developed strong and effective working relationships with other departments and operating business units cross-functionally to ensure that the legal department is an effective and valued business partner. This has been a determining factor in helping Legal form partnerships within the rest of the company to help us meet objectives; a great example of this is the relationship we have with the Human Resources educational coordinator, whom we partnered with to create the “Hilton School of Law” and a “Legal Professional Development Program” for both our attorneys and professional staff.
4) LDMC: What recommendations do you have for other General Counsel wishing to start (or better utilize) a legal operations function?
Answer: First, do your homework. There are lots of different ways to utilize a legal ops function, and there is no one size fits all for any organization. We recommend looking at Legal Operations peer groups, often found on social networking sites like LinkedIn and now through ACC’s new Legal Operations Section, and if the budget allows, I would advise leveraging some of your trusted external consultants who have a broad perspective across industries and who can provide some benchmarking data for you that is current, comprehensive and relevant to your needs.
Second, get early buy in from the whole team by tying legal ops to being a high performing team. My team has a goal to be the best legal organization in the world – an important goal, but one that cannot be achieved without diligent attention to the way the organization works. The activities of a legal ops team has the potential to unintentionally alarm legal teams, especially lawyers, who may view the additional process and oversight as impeding their autonomy or having an extra pair of eyes looking over their shoulder. The more communication and explanation around the “why” of legal ops, the easier it will be for the whole team to get comfortable and invested in the outcome of being highly efficient.
Third, be bold with the boss. When it comes to seeking buy-in outside of the legal team, principally with CEOs and CFOs who will approve funding, build a business case on how this will create great value for an organization. There is a goldmine of research and results out there which easily justify additional resources to build a legal ops team, and show ROI down the road.
[ Return to Top
Annual Meeting Session Information
It’s hard to believe, but we’re less than six months away from the ACC’s 2015 Annual Meeting. The LDMC programs will be among the most informative—and fun—of any on the agenda. A list of our sessions and their numbers is below. Please join us!
Monday, October 19th
9:00-10:30 AM ET: 108 -- Turbocharged Strategic Planning: Driving Results in an Era of Fast-Paced Global Change.
11:00 AM-12:30 PM ET: 208 -- Survival Skills for the 21st Century GC.
2:30-4:30 PM ET: 302 -- Extracting Efficiencies from High-volume Contract Processes.
4:30-6:00 PM ET: 408 -- A Global Game of People, Process and Strategy (presented with our committee sponsor, Seyfarth).
Tuesday, October 20th
11:00 Am-12:30 PM ET: 607 -- The Best App Standing—60 Apps Sure to Make You More Productive.
Wednesday, October 21st
11:00 AM-12:30 PM ET: 1008 - Using Body Language, Adjusting Your Attitudes and Finding Your Signature Voice: Practical (and Different) Advice on Maximizing Your Executive Presence—and Your Impact
[ Return to Top
Council of Committees Update
Steven Mashal, Corporate Counsel, American Council on Exersize
For those of you who have not been able to attend a LDMC monthly call for a while, you may be wondering what is the Council of Committees? The Council of Committees (CoC) is dedicated to providing guidance and support to all of ACC’s committees. The CoC typically invites the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Program Chair from each committee to attend their meetings. There are discussions about how to run your committee more effectively, how to encourage participation of members, how to develop committee leaders, and updates on the global activities of the ACC that will affect the committees. LDMC is excited to announce that one of our initiatives, the Welcome Packet for new Executive Committee members is going to be one of the CoC’s upcoming projects. It is an opportunity to share our hard work with other committees. We generally try to provide a CoC update at each monthly meeting phone call.
[ Return to Top
Joe Spratt, Director of Communications, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Hello, LDMC members. The growth and evolution of the legal profession offers some exciting opportunities and challenges, and we at Seyfarth are proud to help the ACC, the Law Department Management Committee and its members thrive in an environment of change. Here are some resources to help you:
The Rise of Legal Department Operations: As the profession continues to evolve, so do the roles of in-house lawyers and outside counsel. New players are emerging in consulting, legal process outsourcing (LPO) and legal department operations roles.
At Seyfarth, we joined forces with the ACC to recognize and address the growing needs of legal department operations professionals. We were a sponsor of the ACC’s first Legal Operations Conference on June 3-4 in Chicago, which focused on addressing current and emerging trends in legal department management.
Leaders from Seyfarth, along with in-house counterparts, have conducted an interactive discussion on creating the law firm-law department relationship of the future in a session called Re-imagining Law Department-Firm Relationships; from Convergence to Singularity.
Making Convergence Work: Many law departments have worked to reduce or converge the number of law firms they use, often creating preferred panel structures. What are the keys to success and how might your department focus its efforts on making convergence work? How can you better assess what your law firms offer and how can you strengthen relationships in the convergence process?
Here are recent resources from ACC that highlight best practices and real-world experiences:
Converging External Counsel: Best practices from legal departments and law firms on leading preferred outside counsel
7-Eleven’s Law Firm Convergence Program: Follow this six-part online series on the design and launch of a preferred panel program, starting with the first installment, which we've linked to.
Let’s keep the conversation going. Join the LDMC monthly conference calls, attend one of the ACC’s seminars, or plan ahead for the ACC Annual Meeting in October. If you want to learn more about Seyfarth and our work with ACC and the LDMC, feel free to reach out -- email@example.com.
[ Return to Top
Larry Parsons, Vice President and General Counsel, McLane Company, LDMC GC/CLO Chair
LDMC created a new subcommittee this year to focus on issues of concern for ACC members in the role of General Counsel or Chief Legal Officer (“GCs and CLOs”). This subcommittee will help ensure that LDMC provides Annual Meeting Programs, Legal Quick Hits, Webcasts and other materials relevant to GCs and CLOs.
The ACC Resource Library contains countless InfoPAKs, Top 10s, Checklists, Forms, Policies, Presentations and other documents invaluable to GCs and CLOs. Because the library contains thousands of resources, the LDMC GC/CLO subcommittee will use this and future newsletters to spotlight one or two of those resources. This month, we want to make you aware of the following InfoPAK:
Building and Developing Compliance Programs: Preparing and Protecting your Organization
This InfoPAK provides a broad overview of the key elements of an effective compliance program containing the components outlined in the U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines. For GCs and CLOs new to the compliance world, it will serve as a guide and reference for building a program. For those with more experience, it is a useful resource and checklist for reviewing and improving an existing program.All GCs and CLOs should also regularly check the Chief Legal Officer Services page of the ACC website. This page collects in one place information relevant to GCs and CLOs, including listings of current ACC and other events, CLO Perspectives, benchmarking and links to the CLO Bulletin and links to helpful resources.
[ Return to Top
Upcoming and Recent Events
LMDC, with the help of committee sponsor Seyfarth Shaw LLP, has created a 3 part webcast program, we’re calling the Trio series. Trio targets concepts in Leadership, Operations, and Strategy. On June 23, 2015 at 2:00 PM ET we’ll be holding our second webcast: Metrics to Move Your Team's Performance -- Tips to operationalize smart, strategic legal management metrics.
Everyone is familiar with the adage "what gets measured gets managed," but how do you decide which metrics will best help manage your legal team and their success? Which metrics really matter for you and your stakeholders, and how do you effectively implement a metrics program? Three legal team leaders will provide insights into real-life successes and practical steps to think about metrics -- financial and non-financial -- with the tools you have, as well as evaluating which new tools could be right for you.
Until then, don’t forget to take a look at our first webinar in the Trio Series titled, Leadership: Do You Have What It Takes to be General Counsel? - career planning for the new or upcoming general counsel, please click on this link to access the materials.
Legal Quick Hit
June 10, 2015 at 1:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM GMT (A recording is available at the link below)
Future Shock: The Shifting Law Firm LandscapeWill your trusted counsel still be here in five years? As the legal industry continues its rapid evolution, the roles of in-house lawyers and outside counsel are evolving, as well. Law firms, once viewed as resistant to change, continue morphing in response to global market dynamics. In this Legal Quick Hit, Ken Grady, who is Seyfarth Shaw's Lean Law Evangelist, an MSU College of Law Adjunct Professor, and a former general counsel, provides candid insights on how current trends and future shifts in law firms can affect the work of in-house counsel.
Ken Grady is Lean Law Evangelist for Seyfarth Shaw LLP, an Adjunct Professor at Michigan State University College of Law, and was Chief Executive Officer of SeyfarthLean Consulting, LLC, a Seyfarth Shaw subsidiary. A recognized thought leader, Ken frequently speaks on issues and trends affecting the legal industry, including innovation, leadership, efficiency, and change management. Ken’s articles and posts have been featured in many online and print media publications, and he is the editor and principal author of the blog SeytLines.com. He has been named to the Fastcase 50, and honored by the Financial Times for innovative leadership of in-house counsel/outside counsel relationships, and has had his views on the industry featured in The Wall Street Journal, Crain’s, The American Lawyer, and other publications. Ken’s in-house career included general counsel roles at three Fortune 1000 corporations and executive leadership positions in Fortune 500 and 1000 corporations. Before moving in-house, Ken was a partner in the multinational law firm McDermott, Will & Emery. Ken was an active member of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) for 14 years, serving as a member of the ACC’s Board of Directors, its Value Challenge Steering Committee and its Advocacy Committee.
[ Return to Top
There are many opportunities to partner with law firms to write articles and that we can accommodate matching them up via the ACC. Tiffani Alexander, Editor in Chief, ACC Docket, shares the following information (in addition to the helpful author guidelines posted here):
1. Author Teams. On the topic of law firm / in house counsel teams, there appears to be no shortage of PR firms, Communications firms, and Law firms submitting ideas to the Docket and Docket.com; Tiffani notes to these pitch-makers that the in-house counsel on the team will lead the byline. Interested in-house authors interested in “matchmaking” for such an endeavor, may contact Jeff Brown, LDMC Publications Co-Chairperson at Jeff.Brown@Telus.com.
2. International Diversity. The Docket and web channels have undertaken a strong push to recruit international authors, reflecting the need to serve and respond to the growth in international ACC membership.
3. Outlets. There are multiple outlets for publication. The Docket is planned well in advance; for example, submissions for June 2015 are underway, and May is full. There are multiple outlets for publication, including: Docket.com, Profiles, Day in the Life, Skype interviews, etc.
[ Return to Top
Editor-in-Chief: Jennifer F. Nelson, Esq.
Vice President and General Counsel, Maesa LLC
[LDMC Publications Subcommittee Co-Chairperson]
Jeff Brown, Esq.
General Counsel, Telus
[LDMC Publications Subcommittee Co-Chairperson]
Jason M. Brocks, Esq.
Assistant General Counsel, Benecard
[ Return to Top