Transformation in the legal department through Serengeti
Many people are adverse to change, where others get excited by new opportunities. Many legal departments fall into these categories as well.
The first panel at the 2014 Serengeti Summit brought together four vastly different legal departments to discuss how Serengeti Tracker has helped transform their department through reporting and workflow improvements, as well as improved their conversations with outside counsel and executive leadership.
The panelists included: Claudia Baker, Darden; Beth Foland, Harsco; Harold Harrington, Stryker; and Fran Russo, American Express. Some of these companies have been using Serengeti Tracker for numerous years, while others have a more recent implementation. Each company’s law department, and its use of outside counsel, was as diverse as the companies themselves, ranging from 14-attorney legal organizations to a staff of 143, and using five outside firms to nearly 500.
The discussion began with each panelist highlighting key attributes Serengeti Tracker has helped bring into their department, with Serengeti’s customer service being lauded. The group noted their staff can tap into the experience and knowledge at Serengeti and even bring in Serengeti’s Professional Service’s group to analyze and deliver recommendations learned from staff interviews and industry best practices to maximize use of Serengeti Tracker.
The group also discussed the importance of having an advocate and sponsorship from the top when implementing and using the system. As change does not come naturally for everyone, it takes support and buy-in from leaders to enable the department to get everyone on the system and using it. With the full team using the system, the department can begin to show data to demonstrate its productivity, efficiency and improvement.
By implementing the system and advocating for change, these legal departments noted they can see trends that help save them money. With data in hand, they can work with outside counsel to better understand the matters faced regularly and the quantity of those matters, and then work with counsel to develop a plan to address those through a flat-fee arrangement or another alternative fee arrangement.
Change can bring challenges, but as highlighted through the panel, it also can bring cost-savings and an awareness of the department’s work to improve processes.