Legal Procurement Awards

Honoring advances in Legal Procurement

September 6, 2017

New York, NY – The Buying Legal Council, the international trade organization for legal procurement, announced today the winners of the first ever Legal Procurement Awards at the 2017 Buying Legal Council North America Legal Procurement conference.

The best industry initiatives in five areas of legal procurement were awarded:

2017 Award Winner Best Use of Technology: onit for ADM
2017 Award Winner Collaboration: GlaxoSmithKline; Honorable Mention: ABB
2017 Award Winner Innovation: GlaxoSmithKline
2017 Award Winner Process Improvement: Vandana Dhamija for HARMAN
2017 Award Winner Teamwork: Vodafone; Honorable Mention: Boehringer Ingelheim
“We wanted to identify and acknowledge best-in class leaders in legal procurement,” says Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein, executive director of the Buying Legal Council. “Each award winner and honorable mention not only succeeded in their areas, but surpassed the current status quo of the discipline. These leaders in legal procurement are at the forefront of new developments. We all do well learning from them and getting inspired by them.”

Submissions for the awards were entered in a blind peer-review. All decisions were made unanimous among the judges, all of them legal procurement professionals.

Award Winners:

Collaboration Award Winner: GSK
GSK implemented a new managed collaborative services provider model which reduced its outside counsel footprint from 50+ firms to one preferred firm for select Asian countries. This is a completely new sourcing strategy for legal procurement. While some companies have done this for high volume/low-medium risk matters, GSK was able to do this for low spend/high risks matters – a more complex scenario and hence much harder sell to lawyers, in-house counsel as well as outside counsel.

The intention was to gain control and increase accountability of legal spend and work product in regions and areas where this is next to impossible. Moving to a collaborative approach with one provider helped develop a more mature set of data points, cost avoidance through reducing the number of future investigations, and precise should-cost models in a region with many local nuances. Increased spend compliance with the preferred firm enabled GSK to derive spend data and consistent work product.

Collaboration Award Honorable Mention: ABB
ABB launched seven global 1,000-day programs which focused on profitable growth, precise execution, and business-led collaboration with outside providers. ABB’s goal was to simplify the Legal & Integrity function, make it more agile, increase its customer focus, and improve efficiency.

Over the program period, ABB’s Legal & Integrity team was able to reduce external spend by over $10 million covering various regions and practice areas. It also avoided over $1 million in spend. The project fundamentally changed the way the ABB’s Legal & Integrity functions operated and collaborated internally as well as externally. 

Process Improvement Award Winner: Vandana Dhamija for HARMAN
With Vandana Dhamija’s help, HARMAN successfully transformed its global timekeeper rate review process. The project was developed and implemented in only three months on a very small budget, despite its global reach of 190 firms. Dhamija and HARMAN incorporated data analysis into the decision-making in addition to extensive training and support, developed detailed supporting guides, templates, dashboards, and reports, and managed to strike a balance between enforcing policy and maintaining cordial, positive relationships. This ensured quick and successful implementation of the new process by HARMAN’s internal legal team and its external legal service providers. 

Teamwork Award Winner: Vodafone
Through focused teamwork, in only 9 months, Vodafone’s preferred panel sourcing project produced an immediate $6M in savings. Vodafone’s GC and procurement were able to win over in-house counsel to jointly implement Vodafone’s Legal 2020 Vision. The goals was to achieve savings by centralizing legal procurement activities and standardizing contracts to better manage risk, drive suppliers towards innovation, value creation and outcome based pricing models. Legal and procurement together also focused on improving relationships with selected partners to improve efficiencies and responsiveness and increase knowledge sharing. Vodafone’s preferred panel sourcing project showcases how legal and procurement jointly can reach even very ambitious goals. It is particularly impressive given the very short timeframe.

Teamwork Award Honorable Mention: Boehringer Ingelheim
Boehringer Ingelheim’s Preferred Provider Project earns an Honorable Mention for Teamwork. All members of Boehringer’s selection committee collaborated and supported the project and actively drove change, innovation, and development to pick the right providers for the company. Selection committee members from different disciplines identified the best use of each departmental participant based on their skills and background. The committee negotiated successfully with the firms to obtain critical value added services, compliance with Boehringer’s requirements and favorable rates over a two-year period. This saved the company in excess of $10 million in the first year of the program without a negative impact on the quality of the legal services received. 

Best Use of Technology Award winner: onit for ADM
In only 6 months, onit and Archer Daniels Midland were able to significantly improve the company’s legal spend management through efficient and effective use of technology. Together, they developed an enterprise spend management platform that encompassed ADM’s legal spend in 160 countries. Onit and ADM leveraged change management techniques and built alliances with ADM’s shared services organizations. The intention was to ensure and streamline operations and the adoption of the technology. Training and regionalized floor support for the technology helped speed deployment and compliance. The combination of innovation, automated tools, process re-engineering and technology helped ADM save millions of dollars of legal spend.

Innovation Award Winner: GSK
GSK’s use of reverse auctions enabled the company to budget outside counsel activity by buying deliverables or results rather than “lawyer time”. Although reverse auctions are not fundamentally new in practice, GSK’s OCSI or “Outside Counsel Selection Initiative” was modified into a matter-specific, mini-RFP tool that drove favorable outcome predictability and “should-cost” purchasing models which saved the company over $50 million annually. This approach facilitated a qualitative review of firm credentials, allowed for better understanding of cost drivers, and reinforced confidence in firm selection based on metrics. GSK’s innovative approach proved that quality, results, satisfaction, and value were not exclusive and that high-quality services could be competitively sourced. GSK’s OCSI is considered a game-changer in the way legal services are bought. GSK’s procurement team has made a permanent impact on the Legal industry.

Information about the Awards:

The Buying Legal Council Legal Procurement Awards showcase the advances in legal procurement and legal procurement best practices. They honor those who are at the forefront of new developments and inspire others.

The goal is to identify and acknowledge the best industry initiatives in five areas of legal procurement, including Innovation, Collaboration, Teamwork, Best Use of Technology, and Process Improvement.

Legal procurement professionals from any industry and country can participate by submitting a detailed description of their project: From the project goal, strategy and implementation to the results of the project as well as budget and return on investment.

Who was able to participate?

Any client-side professional involved in sourcing of legal services and managing supplier relationships was able to submit their project. Legal procurement consultants and other services providers were only able to submit their project together with their client.

Which projects qualified?

We have five different Award categories:
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Teamwork
  • Best Use of Technology
  • Process Improvement
Submissions had to relate to projects conducted in 2016/2017. 

When could you participate?

The submission deadline was July 17, 2017.
The results were made public at the North America conference in New York on September 6, 2017.

Media partner:

How did you participate?

Participants filled in the online form. Only complete entry forms were accepted and evaluated. The US$75 processing fee had to be paid in full before the deadline. 

What information did you need to submit?

We required the following information: Synopsis of your project, Project goal, Strategy, Implementation, Results, ROI and Budget, and Why you? Each area had a minimum and maximum word count.

How were the submissions evaluated?

Submissions for the awards were entered in a blind peer-review. All decisions were made unanimous among the judges, all of them legal procurement professionals.

What were the criteria for evaluation?

Each Award category had different evaluation criteria.


The winning team/individual provided an innovation to its organization that had significant impact on cost reduction, reduction of legal spend or performance efficiency. This Award recognizes individuals that are adapt at anticipating, embracing and implementing that change.

Focus on a specific project or initiative which was finalized successfully.
The innovation should represent a new and creative approach or process that created value for the organization and improved performance.


The collaboration award is given to an individual or legal procurement team who conducted a successful project or initiative, for its excellent collaboration with another function from the same organization (cross-functional) or with an external partner.
The team successfully accomplished goals, was an honest and dependable player who contributed to group collaboration. The people involved showed empathy and respect for others and built and maintained good working relationships with internal stakeholders, other functions and external legal-services providers.

Focus on a specific project or initiative which was finalized successfully.
Focus on the role played by the Procurement professiona or team in the collaboration and how this has successfully influenced the outcome.


The winning team worked together to achieve a significant goal.
They enhanced the image of the buying legal profession by setting and achieving the highest standards of excellence in their business.
They added value to their organization and improved their performance for the benefit of their stakeholders.

Focus on team presentation (diversity, skills, background etc.) and the achieved goal.
Focus on the key challenges the team has met to achieve the goal.


The winning team/individual used technology in an innovative way to improve performance and/or efficiency (e.g. collaborated most effectively, improved cost transparency, monitored budgets, and created legal analytics).

Focus on both the high quality of the legal procurement work and the innovative use of technology.


The winning team/individual has set up a successful process improvement initiative: Processes have been upgraded or changed, resulting in demonstrable improvements to business outcomes.

Focus on a specific project or initiative which was finalized successfully.
Focus on outcome/project result.

What was the prize?

Award winners received a trophy, certificate, and logo for use on their marketing materials or website. Honorable Mentions received a certificate and logo for use on their marketing materials or website.

Further Rules:

  • All entries had be submitted online through this form.
  • Judges' decisions are final and awards will be given at their discretion. If the criteria have not been meet, judges may decide to not nominate a winner in any of the categories. 
  • Content submitted in the "Synopsis" section may be used publicly. The content and its publication must hence be lawful and not confidential.
  • Entrants will be deemed to have accepted all rules and procedures on this page and to have agreed to be bound by them when entering this competition.

For questions or media inquiries, please contact Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein at