05 February 2014 at 08:06 BST

General counsel must become agents of change

General counsel must get to grips with their business roles and responsiblities in a globalised world.

To change or not to change? That is the question for general counsel Alphaspirit

Globalisation is putting pressure on corporate legal departments to alter their practices and act as global change agents. This calls for a shift in perspective, processes and the adoption of tools to facilitate operating in a way which facilitates the global enterprise, according to a white paper. The paper - General Counsel: The Global Corporations’s Next Agent of Change, produced by Mitratech – says that with power shifting from outside counsel to the general counsel, GCs are now ‘well positioned to lead their teams forward to refine their global operation sand truly become best-run departments within the organisation.’ Stacy Coote, AIG’s Director of Legal Operations in EMEA and APAC, said in the paper ‘ For AIG, rolling out legal tools and processes on a global scale is a massive change management pogram’. The two key change management initiatives were managing global spend and business process and collaboration.

HP tracks problems

According to Sonya Bland, Director of Technology Solutions for HP’s Global Legal Department, one area which created an impetus for change was that very little global matter information was being tracked in their systems outside the US, especially when budgeting for litigation and other matters. Challenges included getting local countries on board as well as language problems, she said.  ‘By planning for and rolling out a global budgeting process, records of every matter, budget and invoice are stored within the centralized TeamConect system, which now affords HP the luxury of pin pointing exactly where their globa legal budget exists.’ She also added that  ‘the combination of currency, tax and processing of non-US invoices, the ability to collect and process invoices submitted in a non US currency, as well as displaying the invoices in a preferred currency for review and tracking processes, will very likely be an important requirement for success.’

Business processes

On the business process and collaboration front, AON’s general counsel embarked on a global business process standardisation initiative across the entire legal team in order to gain the full visibility needed to be a best-run legal department. Source: Mitratech 


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