Message from the Chair
Stephanie Lambert, Managing Counsel, Staples, Inc.
Leadership has many definitions because it means
different things to each of us. A good
leader, for example, can be someone who can set a vision and
inspire others to follow it. Though
helpful, this is leadership viewed from 30,000 feet--it doesn’t specifically
describe what a leader does day in and day out to, come up with the
vision and rally the troops behind it.
Our committee has focused considerable time on the latter this year—emphasizing
the personal skills of a leader that are necessary to help lead others
successfully. In fact, our committee
declared 2015 the year to emphasize leadership topics throughout our
Leading off with educational programs on
emotional intelligence and following through with legal quick hits on
presentation and negotiation skills as well as a webcast on what it takes to be
a GC, we created a powerhouse of resources this year with a leadership focus.
More recently, however, the committee held a webcast on the use of metrics in a
law department. Metrics, in my mind at
least, are a leader’s best friend—they assist the leader in setting strategy
and articulating a vision. While many
leaders lead with their gut or instinct, metrics compliment natural instincts
and provide insights that a leader might not have considered. Metrics enable leaders to prove their value
and measure their accomplishments. In a
nutshell, metrics keep leaders focused on the right priorities for their
It is for this reason that we asked a panelist
from the metrics webcast, Mark Smolik, to continue the discussion on metrics in
the Member Spotlight of this newsletter.
I hope you will find this further discussion helpful along with the
variety of resources we created in 2015 on leadership. It has been my great
pleasure to help guide our Executive Committee to focus on leadership as a
priority—in fact it was the overwhelming attendance at our Annual Meeting
program on emotional intelligence in New Orleans (a metric!) that lead me to
consider doing so. I am very proud that
the Executive Committee also recognized this need for our members and we were
able to accomplish this goal together.
Thank you for the honor of allowing me to lead this dedicated, creative,
fun and collaborative committee this year.
I am definitely a better leader because of it.
I hope you too will consider becoming more
involved in our committee by participating as a panelist, program organizer,
author or committee co-chair. We would
love to have you join our fabulous team.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me or our incoming Chair, Steven
Mashal. I look forward to contributing
to the team again next year and I know the committee will be in good hands
under Steve’s leadership.
Law Department Management Committee Chair
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Spotlight on an ACC Member
The LDMC sat down with Mark
Smolik, Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Chief Compliance Officer,
at DHL/Exel recently to seek his guidance on metric-based planning and decision
making in the law department. Mark was
gracious enough to share his expertise at the LDMC Webcast sponsored by
Seyfarth Shaw in June entitled, “Metrics to Move your Team’s Performance”.
LDMC: Based on your experience at DHL, why do you think law departments should be focused on metrics and, more
specifically, how do metrics help improve a legal team’s performance?
Mark: Metrics, whether in the form
of key business performance indicators such as earnings before income
taxes and depreciation (EBIT), sales growth percentage year-over- year, or
gross margin percentage are at the core of every successful business. They
often times are critical benchmarks, used by internal and external business
stakeholders, to measure success. It is
incumbent on us, as law department leaders, to use metrics to measure our own
performance. What those metrics are will
vary by organization. However, when closely aligned with the goals and
objectives of the organizations to which we provide legal services, metrics
serve as a platform for establishing value and succinctly communicating
results. They help communicate the “business” side of operating a law
department and also serve as a means of driving high performance among
department members. The more everyone on the legal team understands the metrics
being communicated to the business, the more likely the team will achieve
business partner intimacy and alignment on key goals. In my experience, the
more the law department leverages metrics to communicate results, the more
likely members of the legal team will be perceived as business people first who
also happen to have law degrees, something that works well in our organization.
LDMC: What are the metrics that
are relevant to in house law departments and their clients—or, in other words,
what data should in house lawyers be collecting and measuring to help improve
Mark: The metrics that are
relevant to one organization may not be to another. In my experience, business
leaders expect functional leaders (whether the General Counsel or Head of HR,
etc. ) to manage their departments much in the same manner those business
leaders manage their operations….with a keen eye on protecting the financial
and risk profiles of the organization. Every metric reported on by a law
department, should, in my opinion, provide the business with meaningful and
actionable data. In our organization, we developed our metrics after meeting
with our business leaders to understand what data are important and most
meaningful to them. Not surprisingly, as our business priorities and goals have
changed, so too have some of our metrics. For example, several years ago, we
reported on costs per full time associate and external vs. internal costs, to
name a few. Today, our metrics focus on data that financially impacts the
P&L of the organization. They include such things as employment claims and
associated costs of resolution (including professional fees) for each facility
we operate. We cross-reference that data with information reported through our
compliance hotlines to evaluate trends or risks in any particular facility that
may need the attention of our HR or local operations teams. We also identify
litigation and customer or vendor claims by facility. The aggregation of this
data, along with other key metrics, provides us an opportunity to report risk
trends in the business giving us an opportunity to proactively address matters
before potentially significant and costly legal claims or challenges arise.
LDMC: What are the tools that you have used to collect data and are there
any specific tools you would recommend for in house law departments, keeping in
mind half of our members come from small law departments with little to no
Mark: Whether you work in (or lead) a small or large organization, the
best “tool” for identifying what metrics to use is one-on-one discussions with
your business leaders. We leverage our established matter management and electronic
billing platforms to aggregate data on metrics we report to the business.
However, whether or not you have sophisticated data gathering systems, once you
identify what to report on, you should then consider developing a sustainable
process for gathering the data, even if that process is manual. In one of my
prior companies, we were a law department of three. We manually tracked data on
external counsel spend, employment claims and litigation and related costs,
among others. It took a bit of organization but once the process of gathering
that data was established it became somewhat routine to summarize that data for
LDMC: Can you describe any business partner metrics that you have been
able to adapt to your law department and the effectiveness of using similar
enterprise metrics for the law department?
Mark: Quite simply, we take a P&L approach to many of our metrics. In
addition to the metrics mentioned previously, we also report on many of the
same metrics reported on by our business operations: performance to budget,
cost forecast for the remainder of the fiscal year and fixed vs. variable
costs. We also report on external legal fee spend and trends (over a 5-year
period) and fixed cost (i.e., actual department expenses) trends over a 5-year
period. The fixed vs. variable cost trending has enabled us to establish added
value by identifying opportunities to reduce external counsel fees by
in-sourcing legal work such as real estate and labor and employment.
LDMC: What are the biggest challenges in moving toward metric-based
planning and decision making in a law department?
Mark: I don’t see the challenges
as all that great. If I were to start
with a plain sheet of paper, working to identify what metrics to report on to
our business, I would first jot down the names of the people in the business
who I felt would give me the best insight into what data coming out of the
legal department is most meaningful to them. I learned quite a bit by attending
various law department conferences on what metrics other law departments were
using. I use what I have learned from those forums, and occasionally add a set
of data to my field of metrics, and report on how the costs of our department
stack-up against costs of other companies in our industry.
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At the Annual Meeting, Follow the Crowd to LDM Programs
Stephen E. Roth | Vice-President & General Counsel, Jewelry Television
Finding some of the very
best programs at AM2015 is easy. Just follow the crowd. Although
the meeting is still three months away, registrations for our sponsored and
co-sponsored programs are nearing 1,000. When you consider this impressive
lineup, you’ll see why.
Session 108 -- Turbocharged Strategic
Planning: Driving Results in an Era of Fast-Paced Global Change.
Session 208 -- Survival Skills for the 21st
Session 302 -- Extracting Efficiencies from
High-volume Contract Processes.
Session 408 -- A
Global Game of People, Process and Strategy
(presented with our committee sponsor, Seyfarth).
Session 607 -- The Best App Standing—60 Apps
Sure to Make You More Productive.
Session 1008 - Using Body Language,
Adjusting Your Attitudes and Finding Your Signature Voice: Practical (and
Different) Advice on Maximizing Your Executive Presence—and Your Impact.
Please join us. And
remember, to find LDM Programs, just follow the crowd!
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Seyfarth Shaw LLP
We hope that you are enjoying your
summer. As the ‘dog days’ of summer approach, we hope you will take note of a
few of the events we have planned with the Law Department Management Committee
On September 30, we will help you gain a greater understanding of the
rapidly evolving world of contract management solutions. Please plan on joining
us for “Navigating the Contract Management Landscape, “ the third in our Trio
series of webcasts for 2015. This 60-minute moderated dialog session will
feature three experts in this area, representing in-house and well as external
perspectives. It’s a great opportunity to gain both strategic insight as well
as some hands-on tips.
We also hope you are making plans to attend the ACC Annual Meeting in
Boston, October 18-21. The team from Seyfarth will be on hand and working with
the Law Department Management Committee on a number of activities including:
A Global Game of People, Process and Strategy (Program 408). If you’ve
grown up playing strategy games --
Chess? Risk? Stratego? -- We have the session for you on Monday, October 19,
from 4:30-6:00 p.m. We are teaming up with the Law Department Management
Committee, Harvard Law School and leading in-house counsel to help you sharpen
your business acumen and stretch your strategic thinking and leadership skills.
You will get to match wits with your colleagues and peers when a new global
competitor disruptor makes a bold move, and the landscape changes overnight for
an entire industry.
Also on that Monday evening, we will be hosting a cocktail reception in
conjunction with the Law Department Management Committee. All LDMC members
attending the Annual Meeting are invited. Look for more details soon. It will
be a great opportunity to meet and mingle with your fellow members.
We hope you will join us for these
events, as well as for the monthly meetings and Legal Quick Hits.
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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:
Just updated by Jackson Lewis in June 2015, as the
title suggests, this InfoPAK provides in-house counsel with comprehensive
information on the management and defense of employee whistleblower
claims. It includes an overview of the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other federal whistleblower laws and the critical
elements of an internal reporting mechanism (a so-called “whistleblower”
program). These sections are followed by an in-depth review of whistleblower
litigation and a discussion of Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower claims.
- 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.
the Contract Management Landscape - Webcast
How to Manage the Evolving World
of Contract Management Solutions
Contracts are vital to a business’s livelihood. They
are the mechanism through which our businesses grow, change and protect
themselves. Many legal departments are inundated with requests from their
business clients to draft, negotiate and execute hundreds, if not thousands, of
contracts a year. Finding a solution that addresses both the business need and
the legal need is a rising challenge for in-house counsel. Getting the solution
wrong can be devastating as it creates business interruption and potential loss
of credibility for in-house counsel. Getting it right creates significant
business value and provides in-house counsel the opportunity to focus on more
strategic work streams.
Join us for the final webinar in our Trio Series in
leadership, operations and strategy on September 30. Our panel of legal leaders
will provide insight and practical advice for in-house counsel on the many
moving elements involved with implementing and maintaining effective contract
management solutions. During this 60-minute session, you will gain insight on
how to define the need for a contract management solution, where to start in
building a solution and most importantly, learn key factors to consider in
implementing and embedding the solution into your legal and business operations
David Pruitt, Associate General Counsel, BMO Financial
Nancy A. Jessen, Sr. Vice President, Legal Business Solutions,
Rob Saccone, CEO, SeyfarthLean Consulting
We hope you can all join our webcast.
Access the materials from our session, "Metrics to Move Your Team's Performance - Tips to
operationalize legal management metrics"; or
our April 29 session, "Do You Have What It Takes? - Leadership and career
planning for the new or upcoming general counsel"
If you are interested in learning more about
information, resources and upcoming events from our sponsor, Seyfarth Shaw LLP,
please click here.
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Annual Meeting Session Information
It’s hard to believe, but we’re less than three 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,
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
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
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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.
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Upcoming Legal Quick Hit - September
Taking on Social Change Initiatives
Social change has become an area in which CEOs and company executives have been
providing their views. Examples include a state Religious Freedom Restoration
Act and guns. Cathi Hunt will provide a review of company involvement in social
issues and the role of corporate law departments.
J. Hunt is Director, Corporate Counsel to Starbucks Coffee Company, a Fortune
250 company with more than 18,000 retail locations in over 66 countries. Ms.
Hunt provides counsel to the company on employment and government affairs
matters and manages employment-related litigation.
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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 followinginformation:
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 ACC 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-Chair at Jeff.Brown1@TELUS.com.
2. International Diversity.
The ACC 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, including: Docket.com, Profiles, Day in the Life, Skype
interviews, etc. To learn more, email Tiffani Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Stephanie Shores Lambert
Chair: Steven Mashal
Secretary: Darren Dragovich
Editor-in-Chief: Jennifer F. Nelson, Esq.
Vice President and General Counsel, Maesa LLC
LDMC Publications Subcommittee Co-Chairperson
Jeff Brown, Esq.
Associate General Counsel, TELUS International
LDMC Publications Subcommittee Co-Chairperson
Jason M. Brocks, Esq.
Assistant General Counsel, Benecard
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