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Most innovative North American law firms 2016: Innovative in-house legal teams

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StandoutVMware36A focus on operational excellence through investments in new technology, processes and people has delivered a 50% reduction in contract cycle times and $14m in annual savings while supporting the growth of the virtualisation and cloud infrastructure provider. company and create new business opportunities. The legal team is helping to drive innovation across the company and create new business opportunities.
StandoutThe Clorox Company35A proactive approach to managing risks has protected the company from litigation and enhanced its reputation. The legal team plays an influential role fostering diversity within the company and the wider profession, and is changing the way it partners with outside law firms.
Highly CommendedCSX34A litigation and community engagement strategy dramatically cut the number of claims made against the transportation company. Resources have been redirected to help train first responders, improve safety standards, and lobby for tort and regulatory reform.
Highly CommendedHearst Corporation34Lawyers have won several important First Amendment cases and are supporting early-stage companies with female CEOs though the HearstLab programme. The team has built its own machine learning tool, “Charlotte”, to create non-disclosure agreements, and support complex litigation and M&A due diligence.
Highly CommendedVictaulic33Implemented a “virtual law” model that allows the in-house team of five lawyers to manage a wide range of matters through close relationships with external lawyers in 120 countries while using value based billing.
Highly CommendedLegal Services Branch, Ministry of Justice, Province of British Columbia32Negotiated terms for British Columbia to be the first sovereign issuer of “Panda” or onshore Chinese renminbi denominated bonds. The deal opens the way for foreign governments to gain access to the third largest bond market in the world and an important source of liquidity.
Highly CommendedMolson Coors Brewing Company32The in-house team applied technical legal expertise and creativity to structure and lead a series of high value M&A deals, including the $12bn takeover of MillerCoors from its joint venture partner SABMiller.
Highly CommendedPeabody Energy32Restructured the legal department to support the company’s shift from coal to clean energy. A legal chief technology officer is helping the company take clean technologies to market, and lawyers now actively engage with environmentalists and policy groups.
CommendedFS Investments31Created legal structures for new products that give retail and individual investors access to alternative assets and investment strategies formerly available only to big institutional investors. The team has reduced legal spend, created a searchable contracts management database, and digitised its investment prospectuses.
CommendedMedley31A legal team formed in 2013 is creating innovative products for the asset management company, including a hybrid interval fund, Sharia compliant vehicles and risk retention products.
CommendedNational Collegiate Athletic Association31The legal affairs team advises on a broad range of policy and governance matters. Through an active approach to communicating legal issues with the wider public, it is rebuilding trust and protecting the organisation and members’ reputations.
CommendedArcher Daniels Midland Company30Created a newly centralised legal department for the Fortune 50 food company. Reduced spend by establishing a law firm panel and hiring specialists to bring more work in-house. Implemented a new matter management system, work assignments and compliance exercises.
CommendedUnilever North America30Implemented a new legal strategy, guides and training to empower the business to make legally informed decisions without a full legal review. The strategy has helped the company send products to market faster and remain competitive.
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