If you listen closely, you can hear it—the steady rumble of new ideas within corporate legal departments. Look up and you’ll spot little brainstorms constantly hovering over in-house lawyers’ heads, occasionally sprinkling some inspiring thoughts. But it is only when legal leaders bravely pierce these promising clouds of creativity that they can unleash a true deluge of innovation.
On the following pages, InsideCounsel profiles inventive legal teams that tapped into their powerful ideas and collaborated to transform and renew their departments and companies. This year’s IC10 winners tackled common challenges such as cutting costs, streamlining internal operations, better managing outside counsel, mastering e-discovery, overseeing IP and more. Their determination resulted in positive changes within their companies. And those brainstorms? They’re not subsiding yet.
Dan Liutikas, Robert Rohrman and Tim Tyler
CompTIA: Fixing the Flow
AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co.: Ensuring Inclusion
Incorporating more diversity into a company’s culture is a priority in Corporate America. Although many legal departments embrace the idea, it’s often a challenge to execute. The pool of high-quality, diverse candidates for legal department positions is usually small, and when jobs become available, they’re highly sought-after. Many legal department leaders have called on fellow counsel to take the pipeline approach—reach lawyers or potential lawyers early on, and help prepare them for a life in law.
Allen Waxman, Michelle Mattei, Marc Singer and Brian Conway
Eisai Inc.: Preservation Innovation
The growing demands of electronic discovery, including the duty to preserve electronically stored information (ESI) that could be relevant in litigation, have sapped the resources of many legal departments, and Eisai Inc.’s department is no exception.
Bob Harchut, Jacqui North, Rick Richardson, Elpidio (PD) Villarreal and Brennan Torregrossa
GlaxoSmithKline: Veritable Value
In-house lawyers know they’re valuable to their companies. But communicating that value to the business side can be a challenge. Last year, the legal department at the Philadelphia corporate headquarters of the London-based multinational pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) rolled out three programs to demonstrate its global worth.
Michael McKendry and Rick Musgrave
Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.: Comprehensive Concept
Protecting intellectual property is a challenge for any company, especially an international enterprise with legal teams scattered among the U.S., Canada, Europe and China. Such was the dilemma facing Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.’s IP team as it endeavored to encourage innovation while trimming legal costs.
Betty Zea, Sharon Abrams, Pamela Bosley, Paul Franz and Deborah Majoras
Procter & Gamble: Recession Response
Will Pringle, Reggie Davis and Sean Haley
Zynga Inc.: Game-ification
Lauren Giammona, Brian Levey, Rory Bens and Emily Ward
eBay Inc.: Consolidated Counsel
Every legal department has the same goal: to provide first-class legal services to its client while keeping costs down. And though that is often a motivator for many in-house counsel to put their best foot forward, for eBay Inc., it was the launching pad for an outside counsel management program that would ultimately maximize efficiency and save the company about $1 million a month.
Textron Inc.: Automated Vetting
Effectively and efficiently vetting business agents, vendors, distributors and contractors is one of the toughest challenges global companies face in complying with anti-corruption laws. The problem is acute because under both the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and Britain’s Bribery Act, a company is liable for acts of bribery by its third-party business partners.
To address that challenge, Textron Inc., a $11.2 billion multi-industry company with operations in 25 countries, implemented an integrated system to manage the due diligence process for its approximately 1,000 foreign business partners. That process, which it implanted last year, is designed to identify issues indicating any potential risk of noncompliance with the company’s Global Anti-Corruption Compliance Policy (GACC).
Intercontinental Hotels Group: Global View
Four years ago, when George Turner was negotiating his current job as executive vice president, general counsel and company secretary of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), he told the then-chief executive that he would only accept the position if all the company’s lawyers worldwide reported to him.
At the time, the legal department was split into a corporate legal team based at company headquarters in Denham, England, and four regional groups—Europe; the Americas; Asia, the Middle East and Africa; and China. Each region’s legal team had a regional general counsel reporting to the regional CEO that operated autonomously with few opportunities for collaboration. Turner brought them together as a unified group reporting to him, a step he believes was critical to developing and implementing a global legal strategy.