Motorola Mobility LLC, the Liberty­ville, Ill., cellphone maker bought by Google Inc. for $12.5 billion last year, boasts a legal staff immersed in the world of handheld technology. But they don’t stop at defending the company’s intellectual property — they’ve become active technology evangelists across every department and within the in-house counsel community at large.
"We are committed to developing and adopting innovative technology that drives collaboration, efficiency and other law department initiatives," said David Kenzer, lead commercial counsel at the company, whose former parent, Motorola Inc., produced the first commercial cellphone in 1984. He reports to senior vice president and general counsel Scott Offer.
The legal department is actively involved in developing productivity software and apps for its attorneys, Kenzer said. Everything is developed in-house — starting, of course, with mobile devices. The department collaborated in creating an "Ethics App" so employees can report in real time on ethical matters via handheld devices. It also helped design compliance training tools for use on nonlegal employees’ handheld devices and an "eKiosk" to manage nondisclosure agreements (although that technology remains mostly desktop-based).
The real promise is in taking advantage of the full range of Google’s cloud-based tools, particularly as the department prepares to move to Google’s future Merchandise Mart headquarters in downtown Chicago. "Twenty lawyers going into Google Docs in an hour can make changes that once took 20 days to do," Kenzer said. The legal team regularly uses the Google Hangouts videochat system in place of earlier videoconferencing systems.
The implications extend beyond Motorola Mobility itself — Elizabeth Jaworski, the company’s director of legal operations, sits on the advisory board for LegalTech, a network of trade shows operated by ALM Media Properties LLC, The National Law Journal‘s parent company. And, according to Kenzer, the department is studying predictive coding "with the goal of improving the reliability and efficiency of this technology."
And the department is attempting to develop better case-management practices with vendors and outside law firms that will, in part, "drive large-scale document production on aggressive schedules with minimal business interruption," Kenzer said. — Lisa Holton
|Motorola Mobility LLC, a Google Inc. subsidiary|
|Industry:||Android smartphones and devices|
|Number of lawyers in the Chicago area:||28|
|Number of lawyers in the U.S.:||37|
|Number of lawyers worldwide:||44|
|General counsel:||Scott Offer|
|KEYS TO SUCCESS
"The best solutions are the simplest solutions."
"Get buy-in from the relevant stakeholders and partners, especially IT, early and often. In particular, get the general counsel to adopt the solution and evangelize its value."
"Benchmark what others are doing, and then borrow liberally the best ideas created by others."
"It’s better to rely on third-party supported applications than home-grown applications. Vendor support for applications is more reliable than your IT department’s support, especially when IT is subject to continual down sizing and cost-pressure."
— David Kenzer, lead commercial counsel