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Banks legal team awarded global accolade for thought leadership


3/06/2015

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank's Group Legal team has been named one of twelve legal teams globally as an Association of Corporate Council (ACC) Value Champion for 2015 - a first for an Australian legal team.

ACC is a US based, international industry body for in-house lawyers, and this award recognises value focussed delivery of legal services.

The Bank's legal team received the award based on their position as a leading advocate for value based pricing, channelling demand for lowest cost legal solutions and developing infrastructure for better legal service delivery.

The ACC also highlighted the Bank's approach to successful community outcomes, achieved through the Bank's unique Community Bank model.

Head of Group Legal and ACLA 2012 Corporate Lawyer of the Year, Maria Polczynski said the initiatives the team introduced deeply challenged the traditional thinking of cost structure for corporate legal services.

"Our team has engaged institutional law firms under pre-agreed scope and fixed price arrangements for the past three years, using firms where they represented best value, while disaggregating projects and insourcing or employing alternative providers,” Ms Polczynski said.

"But we found that where the original scope of a law firm's work changed, often the firm lawyers simply defaulted to doing the extra work at their hourly rates, instead of re-engaging the Bank.

"To change that behavior by changing the incentives, our team wrote hourly rates out of the firm's terms of engagement 18 months ago. The result has been more frequent discussions that give the firms and the Bank more opportunities to align objectives and collaboratively allocate work most cost-effectively.

"This move has seen a significant cost saving - in some instances, as much as 50 percent - and now our team has better quality conversations and has built stronger relationships with the legal firms with which we partner.

"This new way of thinking aligns to the Bank's strategy of partnering for shared success, considering all stakeholders - our customers, our people and our shareholders - in our decision making.

"Our team is thrilled to receive this prestigious award, which demonstrates firsthand our belief that when we improve the quality of our relationships and reduce our cost, we play an active part in sharing the value that our business helps to create for our all stakeholders," she said.

ACC received 80 nominations from law departments and firms globally. The complete list of the 2015 ACC Value Champions, along with additional details related to our Bank's submission, can be viewed on ACC Value Champions website.

The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) promotes the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations and other private-sector organisations through information, education, networking opportunities and advocacy initiatives. With more than 33,000 members employed by more than 10,000 organisations, ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. Visit www.acc.com and follow ACC on Twitter.