The ACC Top 10 30-Somethings awards recognize in-house counsel between the ages of 30 and 39 for their innovation, global perspectives, proactive practice, advocacy efforts, and pro bono and community service work.
Larry Venturelli joined Zurich North America, a commercial insurance company that provides insurance to more than 95 percent of the Fortune 500, as a paralegal in 2011. He knew he wanted to work in the corporate world rather than a law firm after earning his JD, so he took the paralegal position knowing he would have to prove his worth. Fewer than three years later, he was promoted to an attorney position, managing four paralegals. Today, he is a recognized leader in the legal department, responsible for the insurance giant’s end-to-end subpoena process.
When third parties need information for a legal case, they will subpoena Zurich for the documents. It could be anything from an underwriting file related to a business Zurich insures to information on workers’ compensation claims to more complex vendor relationships. As the number of subpoenas per year increased to more than three times the amount received in 2012, Larry was tasked with finding a more efficient way to manage the subpoena intake process. In collaboration with the legal department's operations team and the company’s IT department, he led a 10-month-long project to develop and implement a robotic solution called ROSI for Robotic Operation of Subpoena Intake.
It was the second major project that Larry led that addressed the subpoena process. In 2013, using Lean project management techniques, Larry cut off unnecessary steps of the intake process to automate a standard repeatable process.
ROSI scans each subpoena and inputs the case name, case number, reference number, and other standard fields into Zurich’s matter management system, Larry explains. “Robotics is a very specific thing — an added space can cause the bot to fail and create an exception.” In order to head off potential problems, he worked with internal colleagues and vendors to make sure that fonts or other items wouldn’t change or at the very least provide us notice when changes were being made, which could throw off the robot’s scanning mechanism.
The tech solution allowed Zurich to redeploy the paralegals to spend more time on high-level substantive work, as well as additional opportunities to enhance their career development. Larry says managing paralegals is different than managing a team of attorneys due to working time constraints and other factors.
He makes himself available for questions and provides advice on how a lawyer may interpret a document. And some of the best advice he’s learned away from the office. “Take those volunteer opportunities,” Larry counsels. “They are a good way to develop other skills, satisfy a desire for leadership, and be seen throughout the organizations you are involved with.”
As immediate past president of the ACC Baltimore Chapter, he led its members through a year of virtual events. A chapter board member since 2016, he is looking forward to events returning to Baltimore locales like Ravens field, the Guinness Brewery, and the Sagamore distillery.
He joined the board of First Eagle Federal Credit Union, a 10,000 member financial institution with assets of over US$100 million, where he has overseen the roll out of the bank’s mobile app.
Of the learning experience, Larry jokes he “learned what a credit union does” and has had a chance to work in a leadership position outside the legal realm.
First as coach of his daughter’s soccer team, and one of the commissioners of the 1,500 player recreation league, he has learned one overarching lesson: Be patient. “Listen to what everyone has to say,” Larry advises. “Everyone has their side of the story. A lot of people think attorneys are there to say no. The only way we can counter that is by listening to the issue and by being involved early to find a solution.”