In today’s 60-second interview, TP ICAP COO legal and compliance Mark Turner talks to The Lawyer about their legal operations programme, which delivered 20% savings of their annual external legal spend in the first year, and what the biggest challenges were to getting it off the ground.

Tell us briefly about an example where your legal team has taken an innovative approach to improving your cost and process management?

The best example of an innovative approach that we have taken at TP ICAP is with our legal operations programme.  Through this we delivered savings of 20% of our annual external legal spend by the end of the first year, rising to more than 25% by year two.

We achieved this through a combination of creating a global panel with agreed legal engagement terms, delivering an eBilling and matter management solution, establishing a legal bill review process, creating a legal advice fund into which our partner law firms contribute based on our volume of spend with them, and generally improving how we engage across our key law firm relationships.  We did not have a template when we started this work so we adjusted our approach over time.  Initially we targeted 10% savings and were pleased that we delivered more than this.  One of our learnings is that we should have been more ambitious at the outset.

Mark Turner

How did you measure the success of these initiatives?

We measured the success of these initiatives by the impact that they had on our business and the savings made.  The savings benefitted TP ICAP in two ways: we reinvested a proportion of the savings into systems upgrades and also contributed a share to the bottom line of the firm.

An example of the impact on our business is that we have funded secondees using our legal advice fund during periods of high demand.  We are in the process of delivering a new document management and contract automation tool which can also support a front door legal portal.  Another measure has been a significant improvement in management information.  This helps to support our decision-making and strategic planning.

Our colleagues in the business are seeking increasing levels of support and faster, more reliable turn-around of legal matters, so we have funded some of that expansion and efficiency through our cost savings and process improvements.

What were the biggest challenges to getting this off the ground and what advice can you share for overcoming them?

Our initial challenge was agreeing the go ahead for the first project, which was our eBilling and matter management system.  We created a business case taking into account our legal teams’ requirements and TP ICAP’s financial and strategic objectives.  The next challenge was overcoming some resistance to change within our legal team, but with some initial wins under our belt we were able to push forward into new and more challenging areas.  The other changes flowed from this.

My advice to anyone looking to do something similar is to tackle the issues in stages, achieve some concrete wins and expand from there.  Build on your early work as you go.  I think that these wins help to create business buy-in and support cultural change in the business.  My other piece of advice is to communicate across the business at every opportunity.

What is your advice on convincing the business of the importance and strategic role of the legal team, in a time where priorities inevitably lie somewhere else?

In TP ICAP’s case, legal considerations are at the heart of many of the firm’s priorities and I think this is similar for many financial services firms.  An increasing number of GCs hold Board level positions which recognise their strategic contribution.  TP ICAP’s global GC, Philip Price is one of three Executive Directors responsible for the firm’s strategy.  I think that the strategic role of legal teams in solving complex business issues has never been more important.

I started my career working within professional services firms and then as a management consultant to them.  I now work within legal operations and through that journey the one constant that I have experienced is the increasing contribution to the strategic agenda that legal teams have demonstrated.  I think that this has evolved alongside the growth of legal operations teams.

TP ICAP’s recent acquisition of Liquidnet is a good example of a strategic priority in which Legal played a critical role.  It was a complex acquisition and also operationally challenging as it was delivered against a backdrop of lockdowns and with interactions limited primarily to video calls.

Name three things on your bucket list.

If you have read this far then thank you.

  1. Find something to laugh at every day;
  2. Spend more time with my parents this year than I did last year;
  3. Answer all of the emails in my inbox.