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2021 Legal Procurement Awards WINNERS

The Buying Legal® Council, the international trade organization for Legal Procurement, announced the 2021 Legal Procurement Awards winners. The goal was to identify and acknowledge the best industry initiatives in areas of Legal Procurement.

“The Legal Procurement Awards showcase advances in legal procurement and honor those who are at the forefront of new developments. The Awards provide a measure of recognition for achievement on the most relevant dimensions of skill and creativity,” says Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein, CEO of the Buying Legal® Council.

2021 AWARD WINNER Category DEI: • Equitable / Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions


- Kaiser Permanente / Digitory Legal

- Swiss Re


• Sonnedix / Brightflag

2021 AWARD WINNER Category INNOVATION: • Velan Valve Corp. / Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani / Catalyst Consulting


- Equitable / Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions

- BT Group Inc. / Onit

The Buying Legal® Council welcomed proposal submissions from buyers of legal services in all industries across the globe. Submissions included a detailed description of the project, from the project goal, strategy and implementation to the results of the project as well as budget and return on investment.

All judges were senior legal procurement professionals.

Past Legal Procurement award winners include: GlaxoSmithKline, BT, Walmart/Alan Bryan, General Mills, Banyan RFP, Turkcell, Netapp, Mitratech, Keesal, Young & Logan, Proxima, UnitedLex, DXC Technologies, Jaguar Land Rover North America & Onit, WoltersKluwer, Pearson, Harman/Vandana Dhamija, Archer Daniels Midland, Vodafone, Boehringer Ingelheim.


AWARD WINNER Category DEI Equitable / Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions

Equitable’s Law Department adopted a policy requiring in-house counsel to interview and equally consider an attorney or law firm with leading counsel who is a person of color, a woman, LGBTQ, and/or has a disability, for new matters in which outside counsel is retained. A “leading counsel” receives substantial economic or reputational credit for the matter at the firm. The policy reflects Equitable’s commitment to measurably improving diversity in a manner intended to benefit individual lawyers of diverse backgrounds.

The policy was developed internally by three lawyers with no budgetary impact. The diversity module’s implementation was completed with zero cost as part of an upgrade to the ELM Solutions Passport solution. The new Outside Counsel Procurement policy was completed with two Operations professionals, one IT partner and two Wolters Kluwer project team members, and was finished on time and with no budget impact.

Why they impressed us: Equitable gained powerful results from a new process that drove ‘true’ accountability for in-house counsel to include, consider, and hire diverse attorneys and lead diverse attorneys at firms they hired. The improvements made already show how positive diversity change can be made with rigor in process, accountability, and measurements around the evaluation, selection, and engagement process of attorneys and firms. This is cultural change at its best for a corporation and a great model for other corporations to follow and they have the data to show that the process works. The results speak for themselves.

The judges appreciate that program includes consideration of the firm's recognition or origination credits. This encourages that the team not simply add diverse talent - but consider and choose diverse talent to lead the team and the project.

This project also goes beyond just numbers (diverse representation on the team) to true opportunities to advance the careers of diverse talent by encouraging the leadership assignments to them.

AWARD WINNER Category PRICING Sonnedix / Brightflag

Sonnedix / Brightflag

As part of its most recent law firm panel renewal exercise, solar power producer Sonnedix aimed to begin setting fixed-fee pricing models on the majority of its legal matters. Sonnedix had spent the prior two years building a detailed, data-based view of outside counsel pricing and performance. From Q3 2020 - Q2 2021, 93% of the approximately 300 matters Sonnedix instructed to outside counsel featured an alternative fee arrangement.

Why they impressed us: Using Brightflag’s technology, Sonnedix shifted to fixed fees and nearly eliminated time and materials (T&M). To shift from mainly T&M/capped T&M to 93% fixed fees and doing this all while onboarding a new tech platform is a massive lift for any legal department. This is a complete change in philosophy. Sonnedix was able to complete this in a short time frame.

2021 AWARD WINNER Category INNOVATION Velan Valve Corp., Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani (GRSM) and Catalyst Consulting

Velan Valve Corp. sought a bolder, more strategic approach to managing its US litigation portfolio with significant changes to resource allocation, pricing practices, and annual terms of engagement.This involved replacing 21 firms in 25 states with a single National Defense Counsel (NDC) for five litigation categories.

The project included new staffing distributions and a series of assumptions and analysis incorporated into the statement of work for a comprehensive Strategic Partnering Agreement. The work is sufficient to support a hybrid fixed fee/collar arrangement that balances risk/reward for both the company and the firm. Velan Valve Corp.’s legal fees are more predictable fees in the face of industry trends for litigation volumes and costs. With the commitment and experience of Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani (GRSM) and of Catalyst Consulting’s project leadership, Velan is able to achieve significant improvements and savings. The new partnering agreement incorporates streamlined litigation management protocols and the integration of NDC functions with National Coordination Counsel functions.

Why they impressed us: Within a fairly short time, not only was the team able to analyze the data and come to a structured way of organizing the types of matters, they also replaced the 31-year business model for legal services by consolidating serving 25 states to one National Defense Counsel that will also serve as National Coordinating Counsel. This was no small feat from the change management perspective. The new fee structure also replaced cumbersome billing and instead moved the focus to a more strategic partnership.

Velan’s approach to analyzing matters for the new contract is impressive. The new model gives Velan better predictability of costs and ongoing strategic advice.


About the Buying Legal® Council The Buying Legal® Council ( is the international trade organization for professionals tasked with sourcing legal services and managing supplier relationships. Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein Executive Director +1 (646) 831-5461

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