This is a thought provoking piece. Legal transformation is at the forefront of the minds of many GCs. As this blog states, GCs are expecting a continued increase in legal work, but as most will tell you legal budgets, headcount and external spend will continue to be tight. This means that legal transformation is more important than ever. I would even go as far as to say that an in-house team that is not actively evolving and considering legal transformation will not be sustainable in the long term.
On a positive note, we are in a new era of legal services. This piece states that NewLaw is no longer the on fringe of legal. This is absolutely right and I would propose that considering NewLaw firms and other alternatives should be part of any progressive panel review process. However, simply looking at external legal spend should not be at the core of any legal transformation project.
The author of this piece talks about playing with the legal budget being 'Base Camp' and I agree with that, budget is the very base.
True legal transformation is the 'Summit Camp' and requires not only a bigger strategy but thinking outside the box when it comes to just being a 'legal team'. At the start of any legal transformation process, GCs should look at the goals of the business and how the in-house team should be aligned in order to meet the business's goals, but then the next steps would be looking at:
- Skill set/know how the legal team require
- What support and training the team will require
- How technology can assist (not only in terms of contract management systems and AI, but also in other areas such as project management)
- How to best structure and motivate the legal team and how that team or its service should be integrated into the business
- Addressing the base camp issue - analysing external legal spend and how any external support is integrated with the business and the legal team.
We are already working with a number of clients on their legal transformation strategy and this is a real area of growth in the in-house legal community. If you are still at Base Camp, it is not too late to make it to the Summit Camp.
We see two camps emerging in the In-house community. The clear majority (let’s call them Base Camp) cling to an increasingly outdated playbook that simply reads ‘we do as much legal work as possible, and try to negotiate better deals with traditional law firms or get more budget’. A second set (let’s call them Summit Camp) have begun to pursue a groundbreaking agenda to meaningfully transform the way they provide legal services.