we vet that strategy with outside counsel, improve it and
Her team’s “continuous improvement” efforts included
analyzing the process between the time the research and
development department announces a new technique or
compound, until the IP legal team determines to take action
to protect it.
“We wanted to make sure at every step of way the process
was providing the right work at the right time, in a minimum
number of steps,” she says.
The result: The team shaved a month and a half off the
timeline by removing roadblocks and realizing that certain
work streams that were going on one after the other could
actually be done at the same time.
Angela Hilt, vice president, corporate secretary and associate
general counsel rounds out the leadership of the legal department. Hilt’s duties lie in four key areas that include corporate
governance and board adviser; traditional corporate law matters such as mergers and acquisitions or real estate; international legal matters of all types including litigation outside
the U.S.; and head of the legal operations program.
Hilt also has seven lawyers on her legal team whose biggest accomplishment in the past year involved broadening
Clorox’s reach into the health care industry through the
acquisition of RenewLife, a probiotics and digestive health
company. This was the acquisition that prompted Stein to
learn the new business.
Hilt says “the key was how effectively we collaborated with
the business side to move forward into a relatively new area.
We put together a swat team of internal legal advisers from
different disciplines from purely legal to more strategic and
were able to get the transaction completed on an aggressive
She says two things help the Clorox legal team stand out.
First is hiring attorneys for their subject matter expertise, with
a goal of broadening into other areas over time. And second,
she says, “is a very strong partnership with business. All of our
senior attorneys have a seat at the table on [each business’s]
leadership team. They function as a mini-general counsel for
that business. It is a terrific development experience.”
“It is both fun and exciting to wear so many hats,” Hilt says
of her business role. “It helps us all be better business advisers
by seeing so many different areas.”
Hilt also found ways to continuously improve on legal
ops processes last year. They included mapping out a more
efficient contract management process, and finding a way for
the legal ops team to better “onboard” new attorneys. Legal
ops also developed a way to facilitate transitions among all
Clorox, she explains, gives all attorneys chances to
broaden their experiences by moving into new areas. “The
legal ops team helped us clarify and improve our processes
for doing these subject matter transitions so we don’t miss a
beat,” she says.
As Hilt sums up the legal team, “adding value to the
company through continuous improvement is just in our
“OUR HALLMARK IS
BUSINESS.” —LAURA STEIN
BEST LEGAL DEPARTMENTS 2017