In-house counsel, partner with your internal clients
As a company grows, the complexity of its business activities also begins to increase. Mergers and acquisitions, contract reviews and negotiations, regulatory concerns and compliance issues become essential, but complex endeavors. As a result, in-house counsel face a range of challenges. Different problems and opportunities demand different solutions, and what worked a couple of years ago might no longer be the best approach.
One of the main challenges of a corporate lawyer is to identify issues and concerns before they become risks. However, all too often, the organization’s complex operations may make it difficult to predict and manage risks. A modern threat to the legal department/internal client relationship has been posed by the increasingly complex regulatory environment. Heavily regulated industries such as transportation, finance, healthcare and biotechnology face unprecedented compliance challenges and have to consider a wide range of emerging risks as they adapt their business to changing regulations. Modern enterprises need advice tailored to their specific needs and way of doing business, specifically where the law and their particular business interests and practices intersect.
How do you overcome those challenges, become a better partner and risk manager to your organization?
Build a solid relationship with internal teams and functions and foster internal partnerships.
Given the differing levels of service requirements being attached to each service of an organization, you have to develop a working environment where the legal team is integrated with your internal clients, and are members of the business team. Collaboration is key; refrain from duplicating the work and efforts. Make sure you keep track of what has been asked, researched and answered. Avoid having folks redo something that has already been done, and avoid “advice shoppers” who try to get different answers from different people. Capitalize on the legal department knowledge.
When business people perceive their corporate lawyers can provide innovative and creative legal solutions with a business standpoint, the legal department is drawn more into business teams as trusted advisors and high value-added contributors. Effectively communicating about the services and contributions of the legal department is almost as crucial as providing timely, high-quality trusted advice. The use of an annual report on the overall performance of the legal department to be presented to the company’s management committee and board of directors is an effective way to communicate your value. Savvy General Counsel have come to rely upon a legal technology that allows them to measure workload, implement key performance indicators and create a scorecard for year-over-year comparisons.
Enterprise Legal Management technologies meet the growing needs for communication.
Bank on a reliable system to track risk exposure across the whole organization, to detect issues and concerns and identify trends, while ensuring the traceability and history of all operations. The key to efficiently partner with other functions is to communicate well enough with members of your organization, that they have a good understanding of your role and how you help them. For example, use a system that allows the structuring and harmony of processes and workflows in real time. This will show your partners your willingness to work with, and for them. Recognition through interactions with all business functions goes a long way. Meet the growing needs for communication with tools that allow collaboration, knowledge-sharing, openness and legal performance with internal and external partners.
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