September 2017
GC + CLOO Spotlight: Aon
Novus Law LLC, Client Solutions Team. Follow us on Twitter @NovusLawLLC.


A Seat at the Table

When Peter Lieb looked around the room during an education event with his fellow GCs, he wasn’t surprised to see that most were sitting alongside their heads of ops. The group had come together to share best practices and learn from each other how to do more with even less. “Ops” is a current industry buzzword, and more and more legal departments are embracing the benefits of a legal department operations leader (although their skill sets and initiatives vary as widely as the organizations themselves).

But as Lieb, E.V.P., C.L.O., Aon Global Law listened to the conversations at the table, what did surprise him was the direct correlation between the quality of the working relationship of each chief legal executive and head of legal operations and their measures of success.

“The heads of operations were clearly close partners with the Chief Legal Officers and other department leaders,” Lieb says. “The best COOs seemed to grasp all needs of a law department, including finance, Human Resources, and technology. They introduced strategic initiatives, drove change, and helped make the law department more valuable to the entire company.”

Lieb knew that his next head of legal operations would have a greatly expanded role among the senior leadership of Aon’s global legal department.

A Favor for a Friend

Audrey Rubin, V.P., C.O.O., Aon Global Law, originally agreed to meet with Lieb as a favor for a friend, an executive recruiter and mutual acquaintance approached by Lieb. An established industry consultant to law firms and in-house legal departments, Rubin is also the former head of operations at multiple law firms and the corporate general counsel of two global organizations. Over the course of her career, she’s streamlined her clients’ budgets, improved hiring processes, implemented successful alternative fee arrangements, revamped executive compensation programs, and championed diversity initiatives that have proven to boost bottom lines and enhance talent performance. She’s created collaborative relationships between legal and finance, IT, human resources, compliance, marketing and professional development – with each promoting the value of the legal department throughout her clients’ organizations.

When you can pick and choose clients eager to embrace innovation and adopt better processes (two characteristics not traditionally found within the legal profession), why join a global risk management, HR consulting and reinsurance company with 50,000 employees in 120 countries around the world – not to mention more than 400 in-house lawyers and professionals?

“Everything that Peter and his team wanted to achieve resonated within me,” Rubin says of the ever-expanding role she’s held since 2011. “Every part is stuff that I’m interested in, that I excel in, and where I feel I can bring value. I could have written the job description in my sleep.”

As for how Rubin adjusted to the transition from owning her own firm and leading legal departments to reporting to a new CLO? “Peter is smart – he’s frank, honest and demonstrates high integrity. And the others on the team were exactly like that,” Rubin says of Lieb and her Aon colleagues. “He knew what he wanted, but he didn’t know how or have the resources to get there, which meant I could bring value.

“Peter needs to practice law and advise the company at the highest levels. He should not and realistically could not spend his time developing budgets, negotiating rates with legal vendors, analyzing strategic changes for the department and most other initiatives that it takes to run a top-notch, well-regarded department.”

It wasn’t difficult for Rubin and Lieb to align goals – she officially joined Aon during budget season and it quickly became clear that there was a lot of work to do to control legal spend and increase the predictability of litigation costs.

“When I arrived, we had an entire legal group that operated without a useful budget,” Rubin says. “The department didn’t know what it was spending or why. There wasn’t meaningful personal accountability by legal department leadership – and there couldn’t be because nobody ever sat down to figure out how to build a centralized department budget across all business units with detailed accounting from the bottom up, while also drilling down to understand each cost.”

Visibility and Unwavering Support

Additionally, Lieb’s visible support for Rubin – which was evident from day one – was imperative to her success. “I was viewed as a peer right from the start,” Rubin says, adding that she wouldn’t have joined Aon otherwise. She is one of 10 members of the senior leadership team and serves as chief of staff (note: all new hire requests are approved by Rubin). Lieb trusts Rubin to helm strategic operations initiatives, and she meets with her senior leadership counterparts four times a year – across global time zones – to synchronize messaging. To ensure that there is understanding and buy-in throughout the department after the global meeting, they also conduct lengthy follow-up discussions with mid-level colleagues and their cohorts.

With Rubin’s guidance, Aon’s legal department deployed the Law Department Strategic Improvement Project – a multi-faceted program that earned a 2016 ACC Value Champion Award for Aon. The company’s in-house and firm lawyers attended joint LEAN/Six Sigma training to map processes and identify areas of improvement – a particular area of expertise driven by Rubin. The team also partnered with the procurement department to standardize and expand the RFP process and transferred 40 percent of all U.S. legal matters to flat fee arrangements. Contract work remained in-house but moved to India and Poland, reducing costs by 50 percent and turnaround time by 66 percent, and Aon created a global rotation program to further knowledge of the company and boost employee engagement – which has seen a 45 percent increase since Rubin’s arrival.

“Peter is extraordinary in his generosity of spirit, and he has the back of this entire senior team,” Rubin says. “We [senior leadership] really operate beautifully together. The key is in assembling a team that is diverse – not only men and women – but diverse in education, background, and style. We’re free to talk among ourselves, to challenge each other, and to present new information and ideas.”

The ambitious and innovative curriculum of the award-winning program is also largely attributable to Lieb’s trust in Rubin, her legal ops team, and the rest of the legal department leadership. 

“Many of Aon's successful initiatives and improvements are a result of Audrey's great collaboration with senior leaders throughout the department and the company,” Lieb says. “She is a respected and trusted colleague.” 

To his peers looking to replicate Aon’s success within their own organizations, Lieb offers the following guidance: 

“My advice to other GCs who want to get more done and take their department to the next level: find a Chief Operating Officer who understands all aspects of how law departments should run, and who shares and will help execute your vision.”

 

Peter Lieb, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, General Counsel, leads Aon’s Global Law Department and manages legal, regulatory and government relations matters for Aon and its business units globally.

 

 

 

 

Audrey H. Rubin, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, is responsible for all financial, technology, personnel and other business matters of Aon's Law Department, which has over 250 lawyers worldwide and provides strategic legal counsel to all Aon business lines. 

 

 

 

Editors note: Do you know of a great GC + CLOO duo to be profiled by the Legal Ops Observer? Send us an email at LawDepartmentOps@ACC.com.

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Happenings in the ACC Legal Ops Community
Catherine J. Moynihan, ACC

Have you checked out the Maturity Model for the Operations of a Legal Department?  

Many ops executives report using it to benchmark their legal department and facilitate communication with leadership about the legal ops roadmap. 
  • More tools are coming. We are pulling together a Foundational Toolkit for each of the work streams in the Maturity Model.
  • And Webcasts too. One a month on each of the 14 areas, starting with Strategic Planning in January 2018. Register here.

Virtual roundtables and webcasts abound!

Just this week we convened for a demo and discussion about Contracting COEs, new collaboration platforms like Slack and O365, and to compare notes on tools we use for metrics. Here’s what’s coming:
  • Knowledge Management Systems. Join Teka Pope of Disney and José Szücs of GoldCorp who will be sharing their programs and leading a discussion. Oct 10 @ 3:00 p.m. (ET)
  • Law Firm Diversity Metrics & Tactics. Tune in for an update on the ABA Diversity & Inclusion 360 Commission, with a focus on the GC Pledge and Model Diversity Survey project; and join a roundtable discussion on what legal departments are doing to promote diversity in the law firms they engage. Oct 12 @ 2:00 p.m. (ET)
  • Pro Bono Initiatives. Join this roundtable for an opportunity to compare notes on in-house pro bono initiatives, and to hear from leaders of Corporate Pro Bono, which offers consulting services, resources and support to legal department leaders developing and enhancing pro bono programs. Oct 25 @ 1:00 (ET)
If you wish to be added to the calendar invite for any of these events or join the monthly Interest Group cadence calls, email mailto:lawdepartmentops@acc.com, letting us know which session(s) or group.
 

Catherine J. Moynihan is Senior Director of Legal Management Services for the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). She directs the ACC Legal Operations Section and the ACC Value Challenge.  

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Highlights from the ACC Legal Ops News & Announcements Page

There is a lot of terrific information floating by in the social media stream - often too much for busy legal ops professionals to consume. The ACC Legal Ops News & Announcements tab tracks the best items to keep you well informed. Take a look at these great highlights. 

The College of Law Practice Management named Novus Law LLC and Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLC as 2017 InnovAction Award Winners for their effective ingenuity in law practice management. 

Congratulations to our great supporters. Novus Law is a winner for “Novus Accelerate,” the cutting-edge early case assessment solution that combines process, technology, statistics and decision analytics to give corporate clients and their law firms greater insight into the meaning of their data and documents with unprecedented speed so that better decisions about their litigation can be made sooner. 

The Vorys’ winning entry, “Online Seller Enforcement," combined novel legal tactics with the abilities of cyber investigators and the efficiencies of technology to not only help remove unauthorized online products for sale but also help stop them from returning by identifying and pursuing the source of the goods. 

 A few more worthwhile reads:

  • What Your Innovation Process Should Look Like: Companies and government agencies often make the mistake of viewing innovation as a set of unconstrained activities with no discipline. In reality, for innovation to contribute to a company or government agency, it needs to be designed as a process from start to deployment. (Harvard Business Review)
  • In Legal, Blockchain is the New Black: Something unusual happened earlier this month at the annual conference of the International Legal Technology Association — the seemingly ubiquitous buzz about artificial intelligence in law was somewhat muted by talk of another rapidly emerging technology, blockchain. (Above the Law)
  • Why the Legal Industry Must Embrace Diversity, Technology, and Collaboration: It’s time the legal industry pays more than lip service to embracing diversity, technology, and collaboration with other professionals. We live in a diverse society; an interconnected, interdependent world; and a period when the rule of law, the lynchpin of democracies, is under siege domestically and globally. A commitment to diversity; technology to promote access to affordable legal services; and lawyer collaboration with other professionals is crucial to the profession’s ability to defend and uphold the rule of law as well as to deliver legal services more efficiently, effectively, and to a wider audience. (Legal Mosaic)
  • Corporate Trends Reshaping Legal Departments: It's impossible to outline the full extent of changes impacting corporations—there are just too many. But there are a few trends that have dramatic consequences for how legal departments will need to transform in the years ahead. (Inside Counsel)

We are adding more hand-picked items all the time - be sure to bookmark or subscribe to www.acc.com/legalops/news.

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Come to the 2017 ACC Annual Meeting

The ACC Annual Meeting offers the best value in corporate legal education - including a packed legal operations curriculum. You and your colleagues can earn a year's worth of CLE/CPD credit in just two-and-a-half days, exchange ideas with your peers during 30+ hours of networking events, and gather information from more than 100 law firms and legal service providers at the world’s largest gathering of in-house counsel. Here are some programs for GC's considering or overseeing legal ops. 

How to Set Up a Best-in-class Legal Ops Function

Considering adding a legal ops function? This program is for you. The pressure is on to deliver legal services better, faster, and cheaper. In response, many corporate legal departments, large and small, are establishing operations functions dedicated to optimizing how resources (i.e., budget dollars, people, etc.), processes, and technologies are deployed. Learn how this function can help you with everything from creating a strategic plan, outside counsel management program, and an annual budget, to defining, implementing, and measuring cost-savings initiatives. This session will also address how to make the case for a legal operations program, define its role, create its mission, and get the most out of your investment in this high-impact function.

Monday, October 16th, 4:30-6:00p.m. – Session #401

Speakers:

Reese Arrowsmith, Vice President, Head of Operations, Campbell Soup Company

Nitin Batra, Head of Global Legal Services and Productivity, Citibank, N.A.

Elizabeth Jaworski, Director, Legal Operations, Astellas US LLC

Sowmyan Ranganathan, Director, Legal Operations, AbbVie

NEW! Boot Camp for Leaders of Early-Stage Legal Operations Functions 

In this half-day intensive seminar, learn from corporate legal operations professionals with experience establishing the legal operations function about how to assess and prioritize legal department needs and create a legal operations roadmap to advance along the Maturity Model for the Operations of a Legal Department.  Plus, explore the basics and best practices in the areas of legal financial management, establishing vendor management procedures, and putting key technology in place.  Small group format will allow for ample Q&A. 

Please Note: Participation subject to approval; corporate legal department leaders only - such as general counsel, deputy general counsel with responsibility for legal operations, along with corporate legal ops professionals. 

Wednesday, October 18th, 8:30am - 1:00pm

Speakers:

Reese Arrowsmith, Vice President, Head of Operations, Campbell Soup Company

Diana Barlow, AVP, Legal Operations, Voya Financial                           

Nicholas Bunin, Vice President Legal Operations & Technology, Fox Entertainment Group

Tania Daniels, Head of Global Legal Operations, The Walt Disney Company

Patricia Driscoll, Law Department Operations, Brother International Corp.

Dan Hendy, Associate General Counsel, General Electric Company

Elizabeth Jaworski, Director, Legal Operations, Astellas LLC

An Trotter, Senior Director of Legal and Compliance Operations, Harman International Industries

Haven't registered yet!? 

Register for the entire annual meeting, including this half-day workshop, or select the day-pass option. ACC Legal Operations members are invited to use code BC$475 for discounted registration for the boot camp, including access to the reception in the exhibit hall the Tuesday evening. Already registered? Add this session to your unique registration agenda.

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Actions You Can Take to Promote Legal Ops
 
You can champion the legal operations function, raise your profile as a business leader, be an ambassador to the GC community and, as ever, be counted as we make decisions about the coming year.
  • Champion the Legal Operations Function - ACC recently launched a LinkedIn showcase page for Legal Operations so in-house counsel and others in the legal ecosystem readily see leading practices shared among our members.
    • Help show off the value of legal ops professionals - follow the showcase page to get updates, share and tweet articles (#ACCLegalOps).

    • Be profiled by the ACC Legal Ops Observer! We love to highlight our hard-working and innovative GCs + CLOOs! Let us know if you would like to set up an interview to be featured here as well as in the ACC Docket and the LinkedIn Legal Ops showcase page (a package deal!).  

    • Author an article about your legal operations initiatives and insights – send us your short (750 words) piece for publication.
  • Be an Ambassador –Many GCs are curious about the rise of legal ops, and we are communicating best practices in standing up the operations function at ACC Chapter events. Drop a line if you are willing to share your know-how at a local ACC Chapter event/meeting. We even have a “Legal Ops 101” deck you can use as a template. 
  • Provide Your Input for the 2018 Conference – Join the planning committee. 
As ever, just email LawDepartmentOps@ACC.com to take action. 
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Save The Date - 2018 ACC Legal Ops Conference - June 11-13

The 4th annual ACC Legal Operations Conference offers its members a unique opportunity to learn about the latest trends and advancements from industry experts, while also networking and collaborating with peers to address shared issues and opportunities. Save June 11-13 to come together in Chicago. Keep an eye on future ACC newsletters for updates and registration information! 

Who Should Attend?

Members of ACC Legal Operations – including leaders of corporate legal department operations, outside counsel and/or vendor management, IT, finance, project management, and information governance, as well as those in an enterprise function devoted to supporting the legal department – should attend the conference.

What to Expect?  

Attendees should expect the following:

  • Pre-conference boot camp and an opening reception
  • Workshops, instruction, and expert-led roundtables
  • Interest Group meetings
  • Shark Tanks to check out new tech/service offerings
  • Networking opportunities

For More Information and to join the conference planning committee: LawDepartmentOps@acc.com.

Unable to join us in 2017? See highlights of this summer's conference here!

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Not a Member of ACC Legal Ops? Join Now!

Join now to get access to resources, participate in any of the Interest Groups, and use the online Member Forum for ad hoc benchmarking and referrals. The ACC Legal Ops section is active throughout the year, adding resources, conducting benchmarking studies, and providing webinars by legal operations professionals, for legal ops professionals.

For more information, visit www.acc.com/legalops or contact LawDepartmentOps@acc.com.

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Contributing Editor:

GC + CLOO Spotlight: Aon
Happenings in the ACC Legal Ops Community
Highlights from the ACC Legal Ops News & Announcements Page
Come to the 2017 ACC Annual Meeting
Actions You Can Take to Promote Legal Ops
Save The Date - 2018 ACC Legal Ops Conference - June 11-13
Not a Member of ACC Legal Ops? Join Now!
Our Mission
The Legal Ops Observer is devoted to reporting on issues important to the members of the ACC Legal Ops section — from the challenges they face to best practices that work, to how members effectively implement innovation within their individual companies and define the future of legal ops across the industry. Follow the ACC on Twitter at @ACCinhouse #ACCLegalOps.
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