Vodafone’s global enterprise legal operations manager Matthew Paterson has given an inside view of a transformation programme underway at the telecoms giant that has seen it enter deals with DocuSign and more recently Riverview Law and send 34% of its contract work offshore.
Speaking at Janders Dean’s London Horizons conference, Paterson gave a rare insight into the steps that have been taken by the 600-lawyer in-house team to improve working conditions and deliver first class customer service, after a survey in 2014 revealed that lawyer morale was at an all-time low.
Transformation programmes were first put in place in September 2014 both within Vodafone’s group and UK enterprise legal teams, headed by legal director Kerry Phillip and head of legal Sarah Spooner respectively.
The transformation team created 10 work streams that all lawyers feed into and created a charter to ensure that resources are allocated in the right way and work done by the right people. In the summer of 2015, Vodafone entered into a deal with DocuSign to reduce the time it takes to sign off contracts.
As a result of the transformation programme Vodafone now sends 34% of its contract work offshore, both to Indian legal process outsourcer Qui Prior Law Associates, which it began a relationship with in 2013, and its own shared services centre in Budapest. Across both teams Vodafone has 18 lawyers, contract managers and data specialists.
The team produced 118 guidance notes and launched a SharePoint site to centralise templates, content and knowhow, which had previously been held in different repositories. The SharePoint site has been opened to all Enterprise business colleagues to encourage a self-service culture within Vodafone.
In the same vein, Vodafone is now working with Riverview Law to implement an end-to-end contract lifecycle management solution to enable self-service and automation within the business under what Vodafone has called Project Swift.
Paterson, who in 2015 was appointed as senior legal counsel, transformation, to assist with the restructuring of the legal team and lead the transformational programme across the function, said: “We’re now trying to do IT, which is more challenging than not doing IT.”
The legal team has been given money to invest in technology this year and Paterson added: “The key to success is promoting the efficiency of the legal team – senior management want to know how we add value. We’re going to tell you when a contract comes to an end and what service to deliver.”
Echoing the sentiments of many inhouse counsel, Paterson said: “It would be really nice if private practice could help us do this – you have the expertise.
“We’ve come a long way but we’ve really only just started.”