Identifying the Challenges
When Benedetinni joined Aisin Holdings of America, the legal department was very lean: there was just one lawyer on staff making it difficult to serve all constituents. However, that wasn’t the only challenge Benedetinni needed to address:
- No legal technology was in place to deliver comprehensive legal services to the 12 companies that comprise Aisin Holdings. This was especially challenging because all companies were run as separate entities with their own legal departments which lead to inconsistent legal operations.
- No policies and procedures existed to measure, forecast, or budget matters. Without benchmarks, there was no way to improve, much less prove what’s improving. This lack of procedures also led to unusually long lead times to turn around fairly simple things like contract and NDA reviews.
- No analytics, record retention, or document management systems were installed – without data it was impossible to inform management what a busy month looked like.
Aisin also needed to eliminate muda (waste) in every part of the company, but without analytics to measure anything, it was an impossible task to initiate.
Laying the Groundwork
The first step in Aisin’s legal transformation was to implement a compliance program that would assist in minimizing legal risk and exposure for their 12 companies.
The second phase of the transformation came with the people. Benedetinni began staffing up his department with a new team focused on being legal generalists that could improve the service they delivered as well as handle the day-to-day work. Once the right practice skills were in place, the team was capable of tackling other initiatives such as contract review procedures and improved litigation management.
The third stage in Aisin’s transformation was selecting and implementing technology. Benedetinni recognized that to establish a solid foundation for further growth, he needed the right legal technology platform.
Matter Management was foundational to Benedetinni’s transformation strategy. The team required very specific functionality that would fit within Aisin’s existing processes rather than require process change to fit the systems. The team also wanted personalized dashboards to inform actions and provide flexibility in how information was presented.