The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) recently announced its 2020 ACC Value Champions, recognizing nine innovative law departments and seven external partners as “pioneers of optimized legal services.” Whirlpool Corporation was one of the companies named to this distinguished list.
Whirlpool Corporation Embraces Creative, Data-driven Solutions
Since 2008, the ACC Value Champions program has highlighted corporate law departments that continue to embrace creative, data-driven solutions to streamline operations. This year’s Champions range from manufacturers to investment firms. Their strategic approaches made numerous processes more efficient, increased the speed of work, enhanced the value of legal service spending, and in several cases cut costs dramatically.
“It’s important to understand just how advanced these Value Champions are at implementing creative legal solutions, especially as technology and legal operations continue to gain traction in corporate law departments,” said Catherine J. Moynihan, associate vice president of legal management services at ACC. “The 2020 Champions think ahead of the curve, not only from an operational perspective for their department, but also incorporating it into a wider business strategy.”
When the legal department at Whirlpool Corporation was charged with adopting the Continuous Improvement (CI) methodology sweeping throughout the company, the Disputes team went first. Extensive training and documentation of “Standard Work” supported improving processes to eliminate waste. Everything from physical layout to technology and outside counsel was fair game during the CI process.
The resulting projects would ensure 100 percent budget predictability, reduce costs associated with product liability disputes by 18 percent, raise employee engagement scores by nine percent, and significantly reduce outside counsel expenses.
“I am proud of the results of our Dispute Resolution team,” said Kirsten Hewitt, Chief Legal Officer for Whirlpool Corporation. “Their use of continuous improvement principles and tools empowered them to reduce external costs while driving internal efficiencies and improving the consumer experience. They have set the standard for using continuous improvement across the entire global legal team to drive efficiencies, allowing us to focus on the most strategic priorities.”