"Best-in-class" legal department strategies increase shareholder value by developing a proprietary set of actions that make the “whole” worth more than the sum of parts.
Legal Department Strategic Planning
Legal Department Strategic Planning: Objectives
For even "best-in-class" legal departments, there are numerous, complex challenges to running a high-performing in-house legal organization. Today's legal environments is more complex, often more punitive. External pressures on corporate legal departments are escalating while internal corporate demands to reduce costs are also intensifying.
To address these many managerial, legal, financial and organizational challenges, in-house legal leaders must establish a role that goes beyond merely monitoring legal matters, overseeing operations, and allocating resources. Without a governing framework aligned to the corporate business strategy, legal departments can under-invest in areas highly critical to the business.
Maximally efficient and effective legal departments have formal strategic plans that are cohesive and highly aligned with their respective business organizations. Strategy involves decisions about "where to play," how best to operate, and "how to win." The goal is for the legal department to reach its full organizational and functional potential.
Powerful legal department strategies bolster shareholder value by developing a proprietary set of actions that make the “whole” of the department worth more than the sum of its parts. A strategy provides both long-term direction and boundaries; it identifies and capitalizes on the unique competencies of the in-house legal organization. Both day-to-day issues must be addressed and the ability to adapt to emerging “hot” issues must be developed.
Legal Department Strategic Planning: Overview
At Argopoint, we understand the leadership and managerial challenges that are unique to in-house legal departments. We have a track record of working with leading legal departments across diverse industries to help them chart their strategic direction, identify and exploit critical opportunities, and improve core operational performance.
We direct our clients through our tested strategic planning process that includes a rigorous formulation of strategic options, data-driven evaluation of alternatives, and measurements to ensure sustainable implementation.
An effective strategic plan will allow an in-house legal department to accomplish the following:
- Establish a portfolio of priorities that drive differential resource allocation and differential targets across the legal department.
- Raise the legal department’s core effectiveness (and the satisfaction of the corporate client it serves). By way of more efficient day-to-day operations and an enhanced stakeholder value, other departments benefit from this higher level of performance.
- Recognize the departmental core capabilities (and constraints), enabling optimal utilization of outside counsel.
- Create demand management disciplines. Legal departments fail when they become "order takers"; they need to actively identify customer needs and prioritize stakeholder requests.
- Achieve system sustainability and "repeatability", creating a competitive advantage for the company through “learning curve” effects.
Legal Department Strategic Planning: Solutions and Savings
Our clients complete our strategic planning process with a clear idea of their desired "future state", their current capabilities, and a "road map" to get from "current state" to the "future state."
The department's strategy will ultimately provide the legal department with a clear understanding of both short- and long-term objectives, along with a well-defined pathway to meeting these objectives. As desired, new technologies and new management tools can be leveraged so the department can readily adapt to the “predictable surprises” of an evolving business.
Ultimately, our clients complete our process aligned around their new strategy and ready to execute. Additionally an effective strategic planning process will improve in-house legal departments relationships with their business clients and align the department with enterprise-wide objectives. In-house legal departments with an effective strategy leverage their resources to enhance their effectiveness, organizational impact, and become highly cost-effective.