Medical technology companies require legal departments with increasingly deep skill sets in litigation, intellectual property and mergers and acquisitions. During the past year, Boston Scientific Corp. showed its considerable talents in all of these fields while continuing to build a global legal department, slashing outside counsel costs by nearly 60 percent, avoiding litigation and adopting additional improvements departmentwide.

General counsel Timothy Pratt moved over from Shook, Hardy & Bacon in 2008 and immediately launched a revamp that centralized most major duties — particularly product litigation — and set up alternative fee arrangement and case management systems for a preferred list of outside counsel. (For more on that score, see our take on the company's work with outside counsel on page 20.)

Pratt calls his department a "collegial, good-hearted team" that's handled the pressure of four major acquisitions, accelerating courtroom activity due to the industry's transvaginal mesh mass litigation, and demands to control costs and boost efficiency coming right from the top of the organization. (Boston Scientific posted a $4.07 billion loss in 2012.)

Pratt explained that he's tried to build a more efficient in-house department that takes responsibility and seeks outside firms "that manage our department's money as their own."

The department took on several technology projects during the past year, including the development of a risk-management information system that provides dashboard access to updates and costs in product-liability cases. It's moving its electronic discovery team from Boston Scientific's information services department to the legal department so it can work on legal projects alone.