Law, by nature, is slow to change. But legal departments that recognize the need for readjustment and growth can adapt more quickly to the constant flow of work while also focusing on projects that increase the department’s overall efficiency and productivity.
If your legal department spends too much time putting out small fires and not enough time considering the big picture, consider these four tips for changing your corporate legal department for the better:
1. Train your people to lead.
Corporate legal departments focus heavily on developing the legal skills of their top talent. It’s a worthwhile pursuit, given the mission of a legal department. But departments that focus on their attorney’s legal skills to the detriment of their leadership skills miss a valuable opportunity to improve the work of the entire department.
Legal counsel who think like business leaders develop the skills to lead their teams through the most complex and difficult work. They also improve creative problem-solving and integrate their departments more fully into the life of the company as a whole, allowing them to anticipate problems and solve them more efficiently.
2. Treat relationships as long-term investments.
Changing a legal department for the better takes time. It also requires the help of professionals outside the department: consultants, software companies, and staffing firms. To get the most out of these relationships, commit to developing them from the start. Recognize that while trust takes time to build, your department can begin to evaluate compatibility and build a network immediately. Start now to build the relationships your department will need to create lasting long-term change.
3. Break it down.
Before your department can make lasting changes, it must identify its best opportunities for change. Start by gathering data on the types and amount of work being done. Then, look at who does the work, what it costs, how long it takes, and the results achieved. Use the information to decide which tasks can be performed more efficiently and how workloads should be changed to improve efficiency without sacrificing quality.
4. Share what you know.
Once your legal department has established its own best practices for creating and implementing lasting change, share what you have learned from the process with other departments within the organization. Not only will you foster goodwill within your organization, you’ll also help other departments improve their own operations, making the legal department’s job easier.
The experienced staffing partners at Assigned Counsel can help you harness the power of strategic hiring to improve your legal department, one talented candidate at a time. Contact us today.