Following innovation: 10 years of IC-10s

The goal of the piece has remained the same: highlight 10 legal departments that have implemented innovative solutions to complex problems.

It was nearly a decade ago—late 2003. As we worked through the 2004 editorial calendar for Corporate Legal Times, my editor challenged the editorial team to come up with a story idea that would really stand out—resonate with our readership like no other story has. A story that would pack a punch in terms of value and insight to 100 percent of our readers while remaining concise and practical. We landed on the CLT10, our first-ever innovative legal department awards program, and it would run in September 2004.      

With the exception of the name, which is now the IC10, the overall goal of the piece has remained the same: highlight 10 legal departments that have implemented innovative solutions to complex problems. The purpose of these stories is to demonstrate to our readers that, even when working in challenging environments of doing more with less, legal departments are rising to the challenge—even above the challenge—to implement best practices that create efficiency, cut costs and often improve internal morale.

In this issue, InsideCounsel presents its 10th annual IC10. And although nearly a decade has passed since we first ran this story, the problems and solutions legal departments have submitted to InsideCounsel have remained similar over the past few years. Cutting costs through alternative fee arrangement structures with outside counsel, implementing internal diversity programs, employing interns and law students to take on lower-level legal tasks, adopting new technologies to drive efficiency within the department—the challenges facing in-house counsel today aren’t far from the challenges they faced nine years ago. But the solutions are always different, and that’s what makes the IC10 such a valuable resource. One size doesn’t fit all.

As I close out this issue, my last as the editor of InsideCounsel, I find it somewhat serendipitous that I’m working on the IC10, a story idea I helped create nearly a decade ago and one I have grown to love. The IC10 underscores the sentiment that leaving your comfort zone, taking on new challenges, embracing risk and accepting that there is almost never one right answer most often lead to success.

As I step one foot out of my comfort zone, I say thanks to all InsideCounsel readers for the many years of great conversation.

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