Nowadays, GC wise to consider innovative cost-cutting

by Andrea Worland

As the economy continues

to soften, businesses

of all stripes are

being forced to cut costs

and find ways to ensure

their stability and

growth. No department

is immune. This article

focuses on the innovative

ways some corporate

law departments

are slashing expenses,

improving efficiencies

and using technology

to rewrite the way they

do business.

Senior corporate

counsel attendees at a

recent Association of Corporate Counsel

event ranked the increasing cost of outside

counsel, the economic downturn and globalization

as their most-pressing concerns. You

may think you know all the tricks for cutting

costs, but several in-house counsel have

found new ways to reduce expenses, some of

which did not even exist just a few years ago.

These include developing high-tech solutions

for paper-intensive and time-consuming

transactions, adopting digital invoices,

auditing the legal department’s services and

implementing alternative billing procedures

for all outside counsel.

Find common ground

As more pressure is put on law firms to

increase their billables and law departments

are simultaneously challenged to curb

expenses, working on projects as a team can

end up benefiting both. For instance, how

about turning a technology problem over to

your outside counsel? Law firms generally

have more leeway when it comes to paying

for high-tech improvements and upgrades,

so why not ask them to design and/or purchase

systems that will streamline some of

your key procedures?

MarkChandler,Cisco’s senior vice president

and general counsel, did just that when he

asked Orrick to build a corporate secretarial

tool. He told Orrick if they could reduce the

amount he was spending on corporate secretarial

fees by 20 percent, they could have all the

work. The caveat: The system had to be automated

and designed in such away that it could

be utilized by other companies and law firms.

Cisco provided the corporate requirements

and collaborated with Orrick’s information

technology and business departments. “The

application is used to track Cisco’s corporate

registrations and other governance activities

related to the legal entities in Cisco’s global

family,” explains Steve Harmon, Cisco’s

director of legal services. “The ability to use a

single interface to monitor our obligations,

produce reports and seamlessly obtain

approvals fromall related internal parties creates

material operational efficiencies, eliminates

payments for registrations that are no

longer necessary and ensures the timely payment

of fees.”

Automation is your friend

Cisco took a proactive approach when it

came to increasing the efficiency of document

management, too. Under Chandler’s

watch, the company has automated the handling

of non-disclosure agreements, contract

renewals, press release approvals and patent

applications. Launched in 2005, the self-service

NDA tool enables Cisco clients to create

NDAs with minimal involvement from

legal. The company’s NDA repository now

contains more than 20,000 records, with a

run-rate of more than 200 new NDAs a

month. “We have saved money and

processed thousands of NDAs via this tool

that otherwise would have had to be done

manually,” notes Chandler.

The company’s electronic contract renewal

tool (a.k.a. Click Accept) has eliminated

the need for physical signatures on all standard

contracts. In fiscal year 2005, only 3 percent

of the company’s annual contract

renewals with its 500 system integrator partners

were completed electronically; today

the rate is more than 81 percent. Chandler

says this has helped free up the legal team’s

time for more important tasks.

Volvo Group North America is also taking

advantage of automation. Outside law firms

are encouraged to communicate with and

invoice Volvo digitally.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:

Andrea Worland

Lateral One Legal Search on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.