A former leader of Deloitte’s U.S. arm has landed at alternative legal services provider UnitedLex as a strategic advisor tasked with helping make corporate legal departments more efficient.
Michael Fucci, who served as Deloitte’s US executive chairman until last September, sees a big part of his job as helping in-house counsel streamline by adopting legal technology more rapidly. At the same time, Fucci will also work to convince general counsel to play more assertive roles through stronger relationships with chief financial officers and CEOs.
Fucci’s open-ended assignment working with ULex’s board and exeuctive teams comes as several of the Big Four, which also include EY, KPMG, and PwC, have made efforts in recent months to provide legal-related services to companies in the US. The Big Four’s moves could mean more competition for Big Law firms already nervous about state regulatory changes designed to open the playing field to new types of legal services operations.
Legal departments typically have “have always been the last piece of the organization to go through this massive transformation,” said Fucci. “They need to become more efficient.”
Fucci, who spent more than 40 years with Deloitte, downplayed the notion that loosening law firm ownership rules will create new forms of competition between the Big Four, or legal services providers like ULex, and large law firms.
“This conversation has been out there a long, long time,” he said. “I think there will be more opportunities to partner with each other than to compete.”
Fucci said his message to legal departments is that wholesale transformation may be necessary to succeed. First, being prepared to automate whenever necessary is key, including contract formation and review and related processes. Legal divisions then need to collect data on how automation has helped create new efficiencies, and draw insights from that data. Then, departments must build digital “skill sets,” so that the digitization process can take on a life of its own.
The good news, he said, is that change within legal divisions will speed up as younger, more tech-inclined employees are hired.
At the same time, general counsel should be more sure-footed in their relationships with other C-Suite executives like CFOs and CEOs. General counsel can be integral, Fucci said, in advising CEOs on managing risk, and on ethics and compliance issues.
“We welcome Mike to UnitedLex and are pleased with his rapid assimilation to our team,” said Rodney Rogers, UnitedLex’s chairman of the board in a written statement. “His truly unique track record of success will be invaluable to our team and customers.”