Regular work needs to be handled in a way which limits its consumption of the in-house legal resource.
As head of a team you need to be working with senior managers to develop or improve processes which facilitate business goals with more selective recourse to the legal team, without compromising management of legal risk.
This might involve relieving the in-house team of some regular work by directing it elsewhere or by undertaking it within the business with proper management and safeguards.
When it makes sense for the legal team to continue to be involved in such regular work the emphasis has to be undertake it as efficiently as possible.
The starting point is to look at the activities which generate regular work, map and analyse the process by which it reaches the Legal team, how it is dealt with by the Legal team and its outcome. This may throw up some or all of the following:
- Lack of engagement on the part of business colleagues
- Involving Legal too late
- Abdication of responsibility (over involvement of Legal)
- Providing inadequate information
- Misconceptions about legal risk
- Poor understanding of issues and solutions
- Failure to apply lessons learnt
- Bottlenecks or inefficiencies within the Legal team
- Losing sight of the goal, getting lost in the task
- Confiscation of responsibility (over involvement of Legal)
- Focusing on protecting the organisation from within
- Lack of appreciation of business needs
- Referrals to experts / specialists
- No best practice guides nor effort targets
A collaborative approach to finding solutions should result in marked improvements.
As a team member you need to apply some project management skills to the files you handle and be mindful of devoting too much effort to something which does not merit that degree of attention.
This webinar for the C&I Group will address the approach you can take to make sure that regular work is not consuming the time you need to spend on more important, novel or challenging issues.