BMO Financial Group
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BMO Financial Group

September 09, 2015 09:00 ET

BMO Financial Group Takes Home Three Canadian Lawyer 2015 Innovatio Awards Including Innovation of the Year

- Best Practices in Litigation Management

- Imdad Ali named one of Tomorrow's Leaders

- 2015 Innovation of the Year Award

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 9, 2015) - BMO Financial Group has been recognized for its innovative approach to litigation management, garnering three 2015 Innovatio Awards including the top overall honour for Innovation of the Year.

The 2015 Innovatio Awards were announced last night in Toronto at a gala event hosted by Canadian Lawyer InHouse Magazine. This is the second consecutive year BMO's Legal and Compliance group has been recognized by the Innovatio awards program. These awards celebrate inside counsel who have found ways to become more efficient, innovative and creative in meeting the needs of their clients and organizations.

In addition to the overall award, BMO's Litigation Practice Management Group, chaired by Pascale Elharrar, Associate General Counsel and Managing Director, won the Best Practice in Litigation Management - Large Department category for creating a model for legal practice that delivers cost savings and predictability of legal spend. BMO also won an award in the 'Tomorrow's Leaders' category; Imdad Ali, Legal Counsel and Senior Adviser, BMO Financial Group, was recognized for his role in advancing enhancements to the bank's legal risk management practices.

"I am enormously proud of our Litigation Practice Management Group, and of Imdad Ali, for being recognized for the innovative practices they bring to their roles and to the bank," said Simon Fish, General Counsel for BMO Financial Group. "They are talented professionals who look beyond traditional approaches to advance a culture of innovation and productivity and to apply their expertise to what's important to our businesses and customers."

Litigation Practice Management Group, Best Practice in Litigation Management - Large Department

BMO's Litigation Practice Management Group has introduced a number of fee structures that provide measurable cost savings and the ability to forecast what the bank and its lines of business will spend on external legal services. These services extend across several litigation categories, including small claims, investment-related claims, employment litigation, banking and collections. The group's efforts have resulted in significant cost savings and efficiencies for the bank.

Through these structures the bank is also able to outsource high-volume, low-value work, allowing BMO's inside lawyers to apply their expertise and in-depth knowledge of BMO's businesses on work that offers higher value to the bank and its customers.

The bank's inside lawyers have, for example, worked closely with their business colleagues to identify approaches to dispute resolution that reduce litigation, improve the customer experience. In so doing, they preserve customer relationships over the longer term.

Imdad Ali, Tomorrow's Leaders - Large Department

Tomorrow's Leaders award is presented to individuals, with fewer than five years of inside experience and under 10 years at the bar, who are distinguishing themselves through innovative business practices that improve the overall way work gets done.

Mr. Ali is Legal Counsel and Senior Adviser for BMO's Technology & Operations group. He is responsible for supporting the bank's technology, enterprise operations and outsourcing transactions businesses, along with providing advice on intellectual property and supplier governance issues.

Among his accomplishments since joining BMO in 2013, Mr. Ali has:

  • Led the end-to-end restructuring of the bank's external counsel program, better managing BMO's use of external counsel from a risk and cost perspective. This includes introducing an innovative scoring model and implementing a new eBilling and matter management system to the bank, moving BMO's panel law firms off the billable hour to price their services using value-based billing.
  • Developed a new engagement model with enterprise stakeholders on legal contract management. In under a year, this initiative has diverted more than 30 per cent of low risk legal matters to be managed more efficiently without senior lawyer review, allowing those resources to focus on more high-risk and complex matters.

About the Innovatio Awards

The Canadian Lawyer InHouse 2015 Innovatio Awards is the pre-eminent award program recognizing innovation by members of the in-house bar within the Canadian legal market. The Innovatio awards program draws on a panel of in-house counsel judges to determine the winners, based on a range of criteria including outcomes for the overall business, cost savings, efficiency and effectiveness. Nominations were evaluated based on small and large in-house departments. The categories include: Law Department Management, Diversity, Compliance Systems, In-house M&A, Working with External Counsel, Litigation Management, Risk Management, Tomorrow's Leader and Innovation of the Year.

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