This afternoon’s sessions provided deep dives on areas where our clients consistently work to improve their approach and results. Cybersecurity, law firm collaboration, and operational metrics may be distinct disciples, but great execution on all three is absolutely essential to the success of a world-class organization. The sessions highlighted below offered insights and practical advice for the attendees to incorporate in their operation.

Cybersecurity, More Than Just an IT Responsibility

Corporate cybersecurity is complex and expecting the IT department to handle it on their own isn’t realistic. Panelists Sheila Dusseau (NCR), Zachary Schroeder (PNC Bank), and David White (Accenture) gave us their perspectives on how legal department leaders share responsibility for ensuring that the company’s sensitive information remains secure. The nature and amount of information that legal departments disclose to outside counsel means that they must take steps to make certain that law firms comply with cybersecurity best practices.

And it isn’t only the firms with whom companies spend the most that require cybersecurity scrutiny, as Dusseau noted. “Lawyers sometimes equate spend with exposure,” but she emphasized that any firm could have very sensitive information, regardless of spend.

In a separate session, Ben Kattenburg of Wolters Kluwer demonstrated how ELM Solutions can help create and distribute law firm self-assessments on cybersecurity and then take action on the information gathered to mitigate security risks.

Driving Win-Win Law Firm and Client Collaboration: Shared Goals, Metrics, and Budgets

Panelists in this session shared their experiences to help demonstrate how to optimize outside counsel collaboration in a way that works for both corporate legal departments and their firms. When the business relationship is beneficial to both the firm and the client, it tends to lead to the best results. Tariq Abdullah from WalMart, Ed Lazartic of Wells Fargo & Co, and Aileen Leventon of Edge International discussed how they work with firms to:

  • Identify win-win opportunities
  • Work toward their shared goals
  • Create realistic budgets
  • Measure law firm performance

These steps require the investment of some time, but they pay off with close partnerships, predictable spend, and demonstrable value.

Leventon told the audience that there are investments law firms should make, as well. “A firm should have a legal professional whose focus is budgeting.” And legal deaprtments should take that into account when making decisions about firms. “It should be an RFP question.”

Foundational Elements of Successful Metrics Programs for Insurance and Claims Defense

In one of the ELM17 sessions designed specifically for our insurance industry clients, Craig Hartsuyker of Farmers Insurance and Al Luther from CLM Advisors joined us to talk about how collecting and analyzing claims defense metrics can help to control legal spend and drive decisions that improve department performance.

They discussed seven core claims litigation metrics and the five types of reports that provide the precise information needed for both day-to-day management decisions and reporting results up to senior leadership. Our client panelists relayed valuable lessons and told the audience how they work to continuously improve claims department outcomes. Luther also reminded the audience that good metrics rely on an even more critical component. “The data is important and making sure the data is accurate is even more important.” 

The thought leadership shared this afternoon provided ELM17 attendees with insights and ideas they will be able to apply in order to meet their own goals. And there is still more to be learned tomorrow morning before we head home. We’ll all gather to hear from Doug Lipp, former head of training at Disney University, about creating a culture of excellence in any organization and avoiding the traps that can undermine companies’ efforts at cultural improvements. Finally, we’ll break into subgroups to finish ELM17 with peer-to-peer discussions in workshops focused on real-world experiences and actionable advice.