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Here are five key issues to consider:

  1. Understand what your business really needs from you
  2. Think about your 'as is' state
  3. Get to grips with your data
  4. Think about your 'future' state
  5. Consider how you will execute your plan

1. Understand what your business really needs from you

In-house legal teams often find that they are unable to focus on strategic priorities as they need to deal with the never ending flow of queries and 'BAU' activities on a daily basis. This takes away capacity from what the business may need the most. Create objectives that will align to these strategic priorities within the business, for example strong legal partnering to help navigate high risk; a greater presence on committees to support important decisions to grow the business; being more proactive to protect against competitors, and remain compliant in an ever changing landscape.

Understanding who your key stakeholders are, and what they truly need from you is the first step to transforming your legal function.  

2. Think about your 'as is' state

It's important to understand exactly what takes up your team's time on a day-to-day basis. This will help you to see any gaps between what you've identified you 'should' be doing, and what you are actually doing. 

3. Get to grips with your data

Before attempting any kind of transformation, you should look to understand some important data points. Understanding the volume and complexity of your work; timings and cycles; external spend and the work you send externally can really help you to identify where the work will best sit in a future state. 

4. Think about your 'future' state

You now know what your business needs from you; what you currently do; and the data that supports this. The next key step is to identify who each activity best sits with. Just because something has previously sat with legal team doesn’t always mean this is the best place for it in the future.

Activities that are less valuable, complex, risky, or of lower strategic importance might better sit elsewhere. Look at your options, and ask these questions:

  • Can we empower the business to do certain activities themselves?
  • Can we outsource elements of work that can be done more efficiently and cost effectively by a specialist provider such as an LPO or Legal Managed Service?

For the work that is left over, and any new items you were able to think of in point 1, look at how you can allocate these within your team based on experience levels. 

5.  Consider how you will execute your plan

Now that you have a future state, consider the steps you will need to take to execute this.

Do you need certain stakeholders within the business to sign off? How long will the transition need to take to avoid interrupting the current service levels? Do you need to bring in special expertise to help you plan and deliver the transformation?

Having a robust plan, a communication strategy, and buy-in from your wider business is critical to a successful team transformation. 

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