The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) announced today that CSA Group was named a 2014 ACC Value Champion for aligning legal services with corporate strategy, managing costs and raising customer satisfaction for law department projects.
A component of the ACC Value Challenge, which promotes reconnecting the cost and value of legal services, the ACC Value Champions initiative recognized CSA Group as one of 11 corporate legal departments, along with five law firms and legal service providers, that delivered substantial value to their client organizations by cutting spending, improving predictability and achieving better legal outcomes.
“We commend CSA Group for being a champion of change in the legal industry,” said Veta T. Richardson, president and CEO of ACC. “The company’s multi-faceted approach demonstrates how much can be accomplished when legal staffs approach team collaboration and client service with fresh perspectives and innovative ideas.”
CSA Group’s law department staff used a tool in the ACC Value Challenge publication, Law Department Strategy: Balancing Immediate Cost Savings with Sustainable Results, to conduct a line-by-line review of the corporate business plan and identified the legal work necessary to complete each item. The legal staff then grouped the tasks by theme and type of legal skills in order to identify the highest-value tasks for in-house counsel. Less sophisticated items were either handled by external resources, or through self-management methods for the business divisions.
“The strategic plan gave us a whole different way to talk about what we did as a law department,” said Ellen Pekilis, CSA Group General Counsel. “By working with business services, we were able to identify opportunities that positively impacted CSA’s business model and saved us time and money.”
One opportunity the law department was able to negotiate was a flat-fee arrangement with a local German firm to work on routine commercial and employment work for CSA’s German operations. The arrangement resulted in a 30 to 50 per cent reduction in fees. The legal staff also selected a third-party vendor for investigative services that lowered the cost of external investigations by 90 percent.
Realigning the legal department with the business services of the company has delivered clarity on priorities and allowed department staff to work cross-functionally on more engaging, strategic work. Since rolling out the new value-based initiatives, the team has generated high levels of customer satisfaction across CSA Group and has increased its scores for timeliness and understanding of the business.
ACC received 83 nominations from law departments and law firms from December 2013 through February 2014. The complete list of the 2014 ACC Value Champions can be viewed online at: www.acc.com/valuechampions.
About CSA Group
CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit member-based association dedicated to advancing safety, sustainability and social good. We are an internationally-accredited standards development and testing & certification organization. We also provide consumer product evaluation and education & training services. Our broad range of knowledge and expertise includes: industrial equipment, plumbing & construction, electro-medical & healthcare, appliances & gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability. The CSA mark appears on billions of products around the world.
The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is a global bar association that promotes 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 advocacyinitiatives. With more than 33,000 members employed by over 10,000 organizations, ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. By in-house counsel, for in-house counsel®. For more information, visit www.acc.com and follow ACC on Twitter http://twitter.com/ACCinhouse.
Manager, Corporate Affairs