Our very own Jo Osborne recently took part in a roundtable event hosted by Juro (the AI powered platform for creating, executing and managing contracts) on the topic of ‘Getting started with legal operations’.
The panel shared their experiences of building legal operations from the ground up as sole counsel within a business or as part of a small team.
As an in-house GC Jo has seen and experienced all aspects of legal operations for start-ups, scale ups and exits. Here are some of her thoughts and practical tips for those in a similar position:
Getting started with limited resources
Think about how you are going to provide structure for legal operations? Think about the end game, what are the company’s objectives and how can you align with those goals? Get buy-in from the leadership team for the changes you want to make. It’s imperative to keep it lean – there’s unlikely to be much (or any) budget early on but use metrics and evidence to show how legal can add value and contribute to the end game.
Streamlining processes and workflow
- Think about using what your company already has in terms of resource. Make the tech that is there work for you.
- Open up channels of communication with other teams such as HR and finance so that you can work together in a frictionless way, but also agree where the boundaries and responsibilities between teams lie.
- Often the same questions and queries will come into the legal team again and again so knowledge management is not just a nice to have, it will make you more efficient.
- Particularly if you are a sole counsel, you need to be realistic about how much individual ‘hand holding’ you can do. So put basic systems in place to help people in the business help themselves. This may be as simple as an intranet page with links to further information for people to access.
- Invest time in getting template contracts in place early on; this will pay dividends as the business grows.
Justifying legal ops to the leadership team
This really isn’t as hard as you might think. You need to use evidence, KPIs etc. to show how legal operations makes the business more efficient, reduces friction and cuts down time taken to complete tasks and transactions. A really good way of illustrating what legal ops is doing is to use a dashboard. It’s transparent with the vital information all in one place, the leadership team can then easily see where the risks lie.
Legal operations are often underappreciated because the business doesn’t truly understand what they do and the value they add. I’ve learned not to be shy! If me or the team have achieved something amazing, I make sure the leadership team knows about it!
For more on this theme see our blog: do in-house lawyers have an image problem?
How can we help you?
We work with in-house legal teams that need additional support on a flexible basis without adding to headcount. Whether it’s overflow work, a project or just a much-needed extra pair of hands we can help. We get the job done without supervision, working seamlessly as part of your team or behind the scenes, whatever works best for you. We don’t do endless negotiations on the clock or write long legal memos. We just help prioritise, find solutions and get it done.
We understand the challenges and demands of in-house teams because we’ve been there. We work as an extension to your team, get up to speed on business priorities quickly, and help you keep control of legal workflow and budget. Talk to us about how we can help you with your legal operations – get in touch on email@example.com