It is with great pleasure that we announce one of our major clients, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) was selected as a 2017 American Corporate Counsel (ACC) Value Champion. They are being honored for making a difference, not only in their organization through creativity and value-based legal management skills, but also for affecting change within the legal industry.
ADM is an American global food processing and commodities trading corporation, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. ADM’s legal department shared some problems that are all too common among legal departments across the country. For example:
- They were using an existing “traditional system” for e-billing/ matter management
- Implementation was limited to the United States and parts of Europe
- Data entry was fragmented and was inconstant across business units (South America, and most of EMEA did not open matters in the system)
- They had no automated and auditable process to ensure settlements were strategically evaluated and properly authorized
Typically, these issues leave other processes in the legal department fractured, work migrates to email and spreadsheets, processes are encapsulated in “forms” and flowcharts, and Excel is used for tracking and reporting. And to make matters worse, these tools were simply breaking down at scale. ADM is a global, complex organization and it needed a platform that is flexible enough to “make the complex simple.”
ADM partnered with Onit, a leading provider of enterprise spend management software, to design and implement a solution. Both companies have an impressive pedigree of experience and together they collaborated innovatively to find the best technology solutions to optimize these processes:
- A multi-lingual Conflict of Interest Disclosure
- 10Q – 302/404 questionnaires and certification
- Data Privacy review process for new vendor selection
- Government Hosting & Gifting Request and Approval
- Tariff Classification Intake Form
- Service of Process integration with CT Corporation
- A significant matter update process
- Reserve Review and Approval
- Claims management integration with an external system
- Confidentiality Agreements
ADM leveraged technology and their new platform solution to reach all corners of the law department beyond legal and spend management. The astounding results that ADM achieved from this major makeover speak for themselves. Their reduction of legal costs alone is enough to make one catch their breath. The legal department has reduced its outside legal spend by more than one-third and now relies increasingly on fixed-fee and other AFAs for matters ranging from transactions to litigation.
As if remarkable reduction of legal spend weren’t enough, ADM also implemented an extraordinary series of predictive metrics and reporting to give better insight and guidance to lawyers and business folks who manage risk for the company.
Everything ADM did on this project served as a foundation to drive and optimize the law department function. The project was focused enterprise-wide, creating consistent and repeatable tools for improving and managing the law department. Insight and analytics worked in tandem to create not only sound and repeatable processes, but also highly sustainable results.
ADM achieved these enviable results through a combination of innovation, process re-engineering and a robust and nimble technology platform to aggressively meet their challenges head-on, and come out on top.
The ACC Value Champions, a component of the ACC Value Challenge, is a unique recognition program that identifies, celebrates and publicizes successful law department value initiatives and collaborations between clients and their legal service providers. Each year ACC identifies and highlights individuals who have utilized value-focused management practices to cut spending, improve predictability and achieve better outcomes. The Champions come from varied industries and departments/firms of many sizes, and have utilized an array of value levers.