Legal departments are highly unusual and complex organizations. Legal department leaders who can identify and adopt the best practices of other leading legal departments and successful business units within their corporate organization will be in an advantageous position. Their clients will understand the value they bring, and the efficient manner in which they provide counsel.
THE LEGAL DEPARTMENT
Legal departments are highly unusual and complex organizations. 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 improve legal department management and improve key operational performance.
External pressure on corporate legal departments are escalating while the internal corporate demands to reduce costs is also intensifying - creating a challenging position for legal department leaders.
Today's uncertain economic times create an environment where many legal departments must demonstrate their value in a clear, measurable way. Innovative and forward-thinking legal department members who can identify and adopt the best practices of other leading legal departments and successful business units within their corporate organization will be in an advantageous position. Their business clients will understand the value they bring and the efficient manner in which they provide counsel. They will also be included as trusted team members when important decisions are being made within a company.
Legal Department: Resource Management
Legal department leaders know that central to their role is the ability to manage the department’s workload. An assessment must be made to measure the workload, triage it, and allocate resources to address legal matters and issues. Mechanisms to understand and evaluate performance (including both legal and business objectives) are critical. Given the complexity of today's corporate legal environment, this is no easy task. Lacking a formal systematic approach to track internal projects and outside counsel services is a road to disaster.
Central to the legal department function is the related cost of legal services. “What did it cost?” is a common question that any leader in the corporate environment must be able to answer. Despite investments in data collection systems, legal spend data is often not very useful for managing legal costs in a business-like fashion. Without useful systems, legal departments struggle to demonstrate that spending is reasonable and costs are being managed appropriately.
Legal Department: An Overview
Corporate legal department management in today’s competitive environment requires a portfolio of legal, management, operational, analytical, and financial acumen. The breadth of responsibilities legal leaders must span includes:
- Legal matter management
- Risk management
- Cost management
- Information and data excellence
- Efficiencies of legal service delivery
- Tools, systems and metrics
- Effective human capital management
- Defensible processes and legal project management
Legal Department: Argopoint Expertise
A new and effective approach to managing the legal department must provide a 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 will be able to be leveraged so that the department can readily adapt to the “predictable surprises” of an evolving business. By balancing risk, and aligning actions with objectives, we help create management strategies that increase value.