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(L-R): Awards host David Mitchell; Vodafone’s Michael Griss, Kay Robinson, Martine Burns, James Finlayson, Lisa Hirst, Jonathan Durrant, Lindsay Freeman, Kerry Phillip, Steven Jebb and Anna Larkin; awards judge Rob Dinning

Finalists: Google, Hutchison Whampoa Europe, Intel, ITV, Sky UK (highly commended), Virgin Media

Vodafone Global Enterprise’s legal department was praised by the judging panel for a change management project that delivered significant value to the company.

The project began in 2014 and saw the legal department overhaul its in-house legal team by bringing in new technology and setting up several offshore teams to reduce cost and boost efficiency.

The transformation – dubbed ‘The Lego Project’ – saw the number of people in the team increase from 35 lawyers in 2014 to a wider group of 80, around 50 of whom are lawyers in 2016.

As part of the process, legal director Kerry Phillip now uses two offshore legal teams – one in Delhi and one in Budapest.

Due to the legal work being shared around a number of different teams, it meant that the UK team was better placed to deliver higher value work and speed up the process.

The team also simplified contract templates, which reduced the length and number by around 50%. Guidance notes and playbooks were also created to share knowledge within the team and business as a whole, and a series of FAQs stopped the constant flood of questions.

The legal team has also spent time getting the IT systems ready to take on new contract management technology, which will use AI.

The judges said: “I like this as a great turnaround project. Not often a submission comes to the table admitting they were originally not fit for purpose.”