April 18, 2019 – It’s awards season, and the WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) (WellCare) Legal team is celebrating being named Legal Department of the Year by the Daily Business Review in the 2019 Florida Legal Awards. This well-deserved award highlights WellCare’s Legal department for their hard work in representing WellCare nationwide, protecting the company’s interests and serving as a trusted advisor across a multitude of matters.
The Florida Legal Awards spotlight the state’s top in-house legal departments in distinct categories. The awards are based on success stories: how a given corporate counsel’s office, regardless of its size, came up with innovative programs, used ingenuity to solve problems or surmounted a scarcity of resources and still delivered a high quality of client service.
“I’m incredibly proud of the amazing work that our team has accomplished over the last few years to ensure that WellCare’s reputation and commitment to our members are consistently protected and represented,” said WellCare’s Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Anat Hakim. “Our talented and diverse team of attorneys and support staff across the country are dedicated to the company’s values and are invaluable business partners for our leadership and their teams, who work tirelessly to position WellCare as a healthcare leader.”
Hakim joined WellCare in 2016 and began transforming the Legal department. Under her leadership, the company undertook a strategic review of the structure, talent and culture across the Legal department. One of the first changes implemented was a restructuring, which moved over 50% of the department’s attorneys into markets outside Tampaand created a regional attorney support model. This resulted in increased collaboration between Legal and WellCare’s markets.
Improvements in the approach to litigation resulted in a significant reduction of the litigation docket, an overhaul of WellCare’s outside litigation counsel panel, and the use of alternative billing arrangements, all of which led to increased efficiencies, reduced litigation costs and quality improvements. Likewise, technology enhancements implemented by a newly-created Legal Operations team automated several legal processes that were previously handled manually, resulting in further increased efficiencies and productivity within the department. Finally, on the mergers and acquisitions front, the WellCare legal department was front and center leading the company’s multiple acquisitions over the last two to three years, helping to drive WellCare’s growth.
In March, Hakim and Corporate Counsel Rachelle Sico received the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2019 Top Corporate Counsel and Top Corporate Counsel Rising Star awards, respectively. Hakim was also named to The Legal 500 GC Powerlist, which recognizes the nation’s most influential and innovative General Counsel.