Toyota Motor North America and Deutsche Bank are among the companies whose law departments have been named 2019 Value Champions by the Association of Corporate Counsel, an honor given to in-house legal teams and their outside partners that excel at efficiency building.
The 10 law departments and five external partners were honored by the ACC, the global legal association for in-house counsel, for technological innovation and cost savings. Their work has included reining in data costs through the use of e-discovery tools; implementing AI-infused technologies to search through and translate foreign-language documents; and dropping email as a tool to provide legal services, in favor of a new digital platform that uses “decision trees.”
“It seems like legal departments are able to be more and more creative these days,” said Catherine J. Moynihan, associate vice president of legal management services at ACC. “They have more tools and techniques at their disposal, and they’re using them.”
The ACC panel used three main criteria when weighing contest submissions, the legal department’s abilities to cut costs, improve predictability, and achieve improved outcomes, Moynihan said.
The legal department from Toyota Motor North America—a holding company for subsidiaries of Toyota Motor Corp.—and The Counsel Management Group were honored for joining forces to devise what the ACC called a “sophisticated, sustainable” way to price legal matters, in part by establishing unit costs for key work items. The project cut TMNA’s legal costs by an average of 17 percent per year and made budgeting more reliable.
Deutsche Bank, of Frankfurt, Germany, was honored along with New York legal process outsourcing company QuisLex for developing AI-enabled tools to find documents and translate others written in foreign languages.
“The Bank saved millions of Euro, with the cost of 18-month reviews down 49 percent and 90 percent of managed reviews completed on time and on budget,” according to the announcement.
Honorees also included the legal departments of MassMutual and the computer security company McAfee. The latter was touted for overcoming backlogs and inconsistent service by creating digital “decision trees” that deliver legal advice to clients “and route unique, impactful issues to in-house counsel.” The company is now using decision trees instead of email as a way to provide legal services.
The ACC Value Challenge is a program that provides resources and training for both for in-house counsel and outside attorneys, with a goal of helping to affect change in the legal industry.