Morae Global hosted a legal innovation dinner on June 27 at Stefani Prime restaurant in Chicago that gathered law department and legal operations innovators from Chicago-area companies including Abbott Laboratories, Allstate Insurance, Baxter International, Brunswick, R.R. Donnelley & Sons, Walgreens and Zurich North America.

Moderated by Morae Global President James Neath and David Cowen, President of The Cowen Group, the event focused on the increasing challenges faced by legal executives and what they want and need from a true strategic partner. Morae Global Director John Mielitz was also in attendance as participants discussed how they were driving change in their organizations.

“Law departments are increasingly pressured to do more with fewer resources,” says Mielitz. “Legal professionals need strategic partners that understand their business challenges, have expertise in not only ideas but also implementation and a proactive ability to demonstrate value.”

The rapid pace of acquisition and reinvention of companies presents unique challenges that require equally unique solutions. Participants emphasized the importance of planning their transformations with the right combination of people, process, technology and strategic partners.

The pervasiveness of legal technology and the need to embrace these advancements were also discussed. “Embracing and effectively utilizing legal technology and the use of data analytics are now vital to delivering the most effective outcomes for the organization,” comments Mielitz.

In addition to embracing efficiency improvements using process and technology, many participants agreed that the most significant barrier to transforming the legal department is change management.

A final key takeaway emphasized how senior in-house counsel and legal operations leaders are not alone in these challenges. All agreed on the critical importance of engaging with peers, colleagues and outside advisors as resources in order to stay ahead of these issues. “Now more than ever, if you want to elevate and accelerate your career, it’s critical to network with your peers and colleagues,” Cowen says.

The Morae Global executive roundtable series provides a unique forum to network, learn best practices and discuss the latest issues facing in-house counsel. If you are interested in attending future events, please contact John Mielitz at [email protected].

For more information about Morae Global’s upcoming events, please visit