As CrowdStrike Inc. grew rapidly in recent years, the cybersecurity company’s legal department needed to find new ways to grow the impact and efficiency of its operations.
One approach the in-house team tried was collaborating with the alternative legal services provider (ALSP) Factor, which helps clients with completing transactional legal work at scale.
This new partnership resulted in Factor taking on several different workflows for CrowdStrike, including e-billing and non-disclosure agreement negotiation. The ALSP also has handled discrete tasks within larger workflows, such as third-party due diligence.
But in addition to serving as a much-needed force multiplier, Factor has also helped CrowdStrike’s legal team develop a new operational mindset, according to Ron Wills, CrowdStrike’s VP of Legal.
He said members of the in-house department have begun to see themselves as performing legal service delivery, rather than just professionals who render legal advice.
“Regardless of your substantive area of law, you're in legal service delivery now too,” Wills told Legal Dive. “You're an ops person too.
“You need to be thinking about how to make your process streamlined, more accessible, drive better engagement, improve response time, leverage your metrics, make sure you're using your human capital in the highest and best use,” Wills continued. “All these things are outside of the traditional practice law, yet they're essential to the in-house practice of law.”
Wills said legal departments often have skills deficits in different operational areas, so they would be wise to partner with alternative providers like Factor so they “can ramp as fast as possible with this whole new approach to practicing law.”
Another benefit of CrowdStrike’s partnership with Factor, Wills said, is that it has allowed the company’s in-house legal team to free up more capacity for higher-value legal work.
He pointed to the example of Factor taking on NDA negotiation, which tends to be high-volume and low-complexity work.
As a result of this outsourcing, the CrowdStrike internal team can focus more attention on serving enterprise-level customers with complex, high-touch needs.
“Easing in with the NDA was a real good entrée for the legal team to understand how this partnership benefits everybody,” Wills said.
Varun Mehta, CEO of Factor, struck a similar theme about how the partnership with CrowdStrike allows the cybersecurity company’s in-house legal professionals to focus on the most significant tasks on their plates.
“Our job is to enable them to be successful, enable them to grow and be able to do that in a way where the urgent doesn't crowd out the important,” Mehta told Legal Dive.
Factor refers to the services it provides clients such as CrowdStrike as “Integrated Law” because it combines the expertise of traditional law with the efficiency of so-called New Law. It also brings business understanding to its work with in-house legal teams.
Legal chief’s support
One key to CrowdStrike’s success in implementing new workflows with Factor’s help has been the support of the company’s chief legal officer, Cathleen Anderson.
Wills said Anderson’s backing has been essential because oftentimes legal departments can face resistance when introducing new processes or moving into areas where they are developing new expertise.
“In Cathleen's case, because she wanted Legal to be as innovative and scalable as the business, she was very vocal and supportive in this drive for operational efficiency,” Wills said.
This high-level mandate for change has allowed CrowdStrike’s legal department to sometimes serve as the launch customer for new technology the business has implemented, he said.
The partnership between CrowdStrike and Factor has drawn recognition from the Association of Corporate Counsel, which listed CrowdStrike as one of the ACC Value Champions for 2022.
The association noted how the company worked with Factor to “stand-up a flexible, multi-time zone staffing solution consisting of both attorney and non-attorney legal professionals who were cross-trained on multiple workstreams.”
“The result was a 75 percent reduction in time-to-delivery of new workflows, and an estimated 60 percent decrease in development costs,” the ACC recognition said.