5 Keys to bring the legal department closer to the company's strategy
The legal department is a centre of opportunity and value for the company. This is an area of key strategic importance, which should not need to be self-defining, self-defending or self-positioning. However, there is a biased view of legal that positions it as a cost centre and a service area that sometimes does not even manage its own budget. Any legal department that is not perceived with this strategic vision has a key task ahead: to strengthen its figure and position itself as a necessary part of the company.
How can this be achieved? Let's find out what are the five keys to empower the legal department and which is one of the main allies in this process. Stay tuned to the end to find out the definitive guide for your department.
5 keys to making the legal department a strategic part for the company
- Think and behave like any other department
- Use legal operations in a modern way
- Changing the mindset of the whole team
- Communicate effectively
- Be a strategic partner
Think and behave like any other department
If the legal department wants to be strategic in and for the organisation, one of the first steps to be taken is to think and behave with the same business rigour in its management as any other department in the company and, in particular, than the departments that are normally seen as strategic departments (such as the finance department, for example).
It is about directing and managing the legal area in an entrepreneurial way, following the parameters that other strategic areas have already internalised and constantly apply.
Use legal operations in a modern way
Legal operations help us in this task of positioning the legal department. They are the tool that brings order to the department and help it in many different ways:
- Generate a new way of seeing and experiencing the direction and management of the area. That is to say, to lead and manage from what is important and not from what is urgent.
- Define the area's strategy, aligned with the company's strategy. Lead and manage by strategic objectives and not by the urges and urgencies of the organisation.
- Review and optimise processes and resources. Yes, we are talking about both concepts, as it is as important to optimise processes as it is to optimise resources.
- Select and manage suppliers. It is essential to have the right technology, and there are legal tech solutions to boost the work of the legal area: document automation, contract management, electronic signature, or Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM), which encompasses these and other technologies.
- Define and establish KPIs. Sufficient to perform the reporting function based on data and risk levels.
Changing the mindset of the whole team
There are many virtues of legal operations, as we have just described, but the main one is that they change the mindset of the legal director and the rest of the team, so that the reality of the legal department is visualised and experienced from a business approach, not a merely technical one, and that the internal legal advisory service is defined and planned from strategic planning and not from the urgency of the day-to-day.
What is not communicated does not exist. Lawyers tend not to communicate too much about their achievements and they keep a low profile. The legal department must ensure that the rest of the business understands the importance of its work and how it contributes to the overall success of the organisation. It must communicate clearly and effectively with all stakeholders to build a culture of compliance and risk mitigation.
Communication is essential in all areas. Work has to be recognised, but to do so, it must be communicated clearly and openly.
Be a strategic partner
If, in addition, it has been possible to involve the general management in the process and to count on their direct support, both in the process and in its communication, the repositioning of the department as a strategic area is guaranteed.
By following these five key points, the legal department can strengthen its position within the business and ensure that its work is valued and recognised as a key component of the company's success . But there is more.
You will find a practical guide to all this and much more in our ebook "Empowering in-house lawyers to defend the ROI of their projects."
- How to enhance and empower in-house lawyers in organisations.
- Main arguments necessary to be able to obtain resource approval.
- The most effective legal technology tools.