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What GCs Can Learn from Henry Ford — and even Harrison | Productivity, Processes, Tools and Team Work

March 16, 2021

General Counsel teams like yours are feeling the heat. You are under pressure to deliver more, faster—yet maintain precision and reduce risks. But how? If you were any other department in the company, you’d have software tools and processes to improve throughput and increase the visibility of your impact.

Legal Operations Learning from Automotive Assembly to Interstellar Battle

For answers to GCs’ Covid-heightened challenges of today, we can mine intellectual gems of the recent past and fictitious future. Let’s tap the wisdom of heroes from the automotive world and fictitious deep space. First, we’ll put on Henry’s hat and look at the way you create value for your clients—your legal service chain—and share his wisdom as a production engineer. Then, we’ll put our space helmets on to learn what we can from a Hollywood spaceship crew. 

Graphic illustration of Ford Model-T production line

What GCs Can Learn from Henry Ford

Henry Ford did not create the automobile, but by inventing the assembly line, he pumped out Model-T cars faster and more efficiently than ever. When you break down your work, with Henry’s production-engineer mindset, you and your office crew do similar kinds of things for your clients over and over. Considering your team’s situation, Ford’s approach is prophetic: standardize. systematize. specialize.


  • Identify common deliverables
  • Group repetitive types of requests (e.g., NDAs and Contract Requests)
  • Identify custom work - and channel to another path


  • Break your task into steps
  • Establish Workflows for repetitive, frequently performed tasks
  • Monitor and refine process
  • Track and analyze performance
  • Have clients complete their own requests—get complete, clear, comprehensive direction before kickoff
  • Establish a client-request portal
  • Continually improve— measure, identify, engage, refine, repeat


  • Identify skills required for each given step
  • Match required skill to task
  • Assign responsibilities
  • Channel repetitive, low consideration/low-risk tasks to administrators
  • Keep Lawyers/Senior Counsel from administrivia - (time wasted on tedious tasks)
  • Focus high priced talent on high-value work

The Benefit of Henry’s Way

As Henry Ford famously said, “It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.” Taking Henry’s approach to your legal service chain turns time wasted into time well spent. By applying Mr. Model-Ts approach to your legal service chain, you’ll gain:


  • Understanding what skills and time each task requires
  • Knowing what and who is involved from initiation to completion
  • Tracking workload in real time


  • Improved communication, all involved share common task access
  • Better collaboration, each member applies their skills then passes forward


  • Improved ability to assign appropriate resources to tasks 
  • Faster response to identify and respond to process bottlenecks 
  • Confirmation required inputs on-hand before starting tasks


  • Improved planning of workload and human resource allocation
  • Foresight into how long a given request is likely to complete

Graphic of a rocket in space with the moon and Saturn.

What GCs Can Learn from Harrison Ford

As space pilot, the Hollywood Ford (no endorsement, explicit or implied) showed that in just over 2 hours, a small team can attain its goals—overcoming constrained resources, and daunting challenges to win.  

He demonstrated that by relying on trusted technology, and a skilled crew who could squeeze everything out of it, one's team can succeed. What are the takeaways for your legal operations? Choose battle-tested technology, bring together a trustworthy can-do team with deep expertise—who have worked together before, and who know how to bring out the best of each other’s strengths. 


  • Time-tested, battle-proven solutions
  • Large enough to handle large challenges
  • Small enough to be nimble and affordable


  • Industry-specific experience
  • Deep knowledge of chosen technology
  • Can do, problem-solving attitude

The Benefits of Harrison’s Way

Applying Mr. Hollywood’s technology and team approaches to your legal service problem solving: 


  • Count on the skills, experience, and counsel of your advisors
  • Technology built for and battle-tested by legal teams


  • Maximize resources-financial and human
  • Work your way, only better
  • Improved collaboration


  • Work your way, incrementally up-level performance at every step
  • Quickly identify issues and adapt to overcome them


  • Employ available resources in the best way
  • Improved communication, all involved share common task access
  • Improved collaboration, each member applies their skills

In the words of our action hero “Ya know sometimes I amaze even myself.” We look forward to helping you and your team be amazing.

Want to Learn More? | Get the Whitepaper

While Henry and Harrison’s wisdom can set you on the right path, don’t stop there. There’s more to learn about GC team’s path to less stress and more appreciation. mercanix, NetDocuments, and DocuSign have teamed up to create a whitepaper with 7 Recommendations for Optimizing Your Legal Service Chain. Click here to download.

We Can Help - mot-r service and NetDocuments

NetDocuments is the #1 cloud-only document and email management provider for law firms and corporate legal teams that helps professionals store, manage, and protect millions of documents each and everyday. mercanix, a certified NetDocuments partner, is the creator of mot-r — an innovative legal service chain platform that offers workflows, unbounded internal and external party collaboration, and service requests that compound the productivity, power and security of NetDocuments. As a team, we’ve helped many GCs overcome their operational challenges with our problem-solving attitude and battle-tested, cloud-based technologies.

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