The Association of Corporate Counsel’s Value Challenge recognizes legal service innovations that deliver exceptional value and efficiencies to clients. A collaboration between Seyfarth Shaw and NIKE is one of this year’s success stories.
Seyfarth partners Bob Reynolds and Kevin Woolf describe here how this winning innovation came to be.
Q. Briefly describe the client service innovation for which you were recently recognized by the ACC.
A. Collaborating with NIKE, we developed a proprietary process model and web-based technology solution to handle NIKE’s annual deluge of hundreds of technology-related procurement contracts. This system became known as the Transaction Solutions Center (TSC). At its core, the TSC disaggregates legal services using a shared services platform of in-house, solo, off-shore, and AmLaw 100 providers for cost-efficiency while providing centralized oversight and management for consistent quality and overall workflow management—all with real-time access via computer or mobile devices.
Q. How did this come about?
A. In 2011, NIKE realized its lawyers were spending a significant amount of time handling the intake, triage and management of portfolios of routine work, and that this was inhibiting the in-house team from attending to more complex and higher value work.
NIKE’s Legal Department reached out to us and our SeyfarthLean Consulting team for assistance. We understood their desire to strategically realign the deployment of their lawyers to highly strategic initiatives that best leveraged their skill sets and business know-how, and set out to develop a process model that would achieve this. The use of a web-based solution was a natural fit given the industry’s desire for mobile-friendly applications.
Q. What were the greatest challenges in implementing this innovation?
A. The integration of major process improvement, a robust technology platform and a reallocation of legal services in the form of the TSC was challenging because it changed the dynamics for all involved. In-house counsel’s role shifted from gatekeeper to manager/leader and our role as outside counsel shifted from document creator/negotiator to project manager and strategic partner. Frankly, the model also stands on its head the notion of a large firm trying to be all things to all people—to the contrary, the TSC model embraces the use of “right-sized” providers based on the unique risk profile of a given matter while simultaneously providing for quality and quantity control by keeping all workwithin a single system. Stated differently, the TSC provides a real opportunity to drive meaningful cost savings while still providing “one throat to choke” accountability.
Q. How are you measuring success?
A. We have been closely monitoring a number of metrics related to the TSC, which has yielded notable results:
Based on these successes, we are currently expanding and modifying the TSC system for NIKE subsidiary Converse.
Q. Other comments?
Large Law Departments are looking ever more to their outside counsel and other providers for cutting edge legal service delivery models. Generally, their focus has been on solutions for large scale complex projects, such as patent infringement cases, cross border transformation initiatives or restructuring activity; Workstream Optimization Programs involving continuing volumes of repetitive activity such as small tort litigation, real estate leasing and IT procurement; and initiatives that include both complexity and process driven activity. Responsive solutions are different for each of these areas of focus. Well-designed program management structures, for example, are often the right answer for evolving the legal service model for complex projects, while process toolkits ensuring a more precise correlation between risk profile and supporting resources usually are the starting point for repetitive Workstream activity. In both cases, the solutions usually can be implemented on an automated platform which further enhances the efficacy of the solution.
Bob Reynolds is a partner with Seyfarth Shaw in Atlanta and chief architect of the TSC for NIKE. He is deeply engaged in harnessing the full capability of SeyfarthLean to support a wide variety of legal work streams across transactional, litigation, regulatory and other special legal disciplines, and he serves on the firm’s leadership team for the deployment of SeyfarthLean to the firm’s client base.
Kevin Woolf is a partner with Seyfarth Shaw in Atlanta, responsible for the day-to-day management of the TSC for NIKE and its subsidiary, Converse. His multi-faceted practice encompasses real estate, sourcing, consulting, and international work, all tied together by a pragmatic approach that seeks to streamline existing processes to maximize efficiency and minimize cycle-time via the firm’s SeyfarthLean client service model.
The Association of Corporate Counsel is a global bar association promoting the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations and other private-sector organizations through information, education, networking opportunities and advocacy initiatives. ACC has more than 30,000 members in more than 75 countries, employed by over 10,000 organizations. The Value Champions initiative is part of the ACC Value Challenge, launched in 2008 to provide resources and training for in-house counsel and law firm lawyers to help affect change within the legal industry. By re-aligning relationships and promoting value-based fee arrangements and other management tactics, the market for the delivery of legal services benefits from the same insights upon which every other service industry relies to provide world-class value to their clients. Nominations for next year's Value Champions will be accepted starting in December 2013 through February 7, 2014.
This document and any discussions set forth herein are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice, which has to be addressed to particular facts and circumstances involved in any given situation. Review or use of the document and any discussions does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author or publisher. To the extent that this document may contain suggested provisions, they will require modification to suit a particular transaction, jurisdiction or situation. Please consult with an attorney with the appropriate level of experience if you have any questions. Any tax information contained in the document or discussions is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of avoiding penalties imposed under the United States Internal Revenue Code. Any opinions expressed are those of the author. The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. and its affiliated entities do not take responsibility for the content in this document or discussions and do not make any representation or warranty as to their completeness or accuracy.
©2014 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All rights reserved. Bloomberg Law Reports ® is a registered trademark and service mark of The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)