GLS Legal Ops: 20 Tips for Blueprinting your Legal Team’s Transformation

Established best practice for preparing an effective legal transformation solution blueprint

5 mins • 17 Nov 22

Blueprint 2

Legal Operations Essentials: The Legal Team Transformation Blueprint


Successful transformation planning

In this Blog, we want to pull together some of the key “dos and don'ts" applicable to documenting a solution legal ops blueprint for your legal department's transformation. 

For sure, preparing your transformation blueprint can be a time-consuming strategic planning exercise and might even seem quite intimidating if you do not have digital transformation strategy experience. However, it is a vital business process for your legal team to complete.

We intentionally keep our recommendations in short form - with a view to traversing a wide range of suggestions for the in-house legal department ("IHL") leaders to consider applying in a short amount of time.  Finally, we stress that you do not need to be the head of in-house legal operations to put these recommendations into practice.

So, how do you write an effective transformation blueprint that increases your ability to deliver legal services more efficiently and boosts your internal client/customer experience?

Why is a legal team transformation blueprint needed?

Legal team leaders (General Counsel, Head of Legal, Chief Legal Officers, etc.) will need to document a transformation “solution blueprint” for which they can seek approval, internal support, funding, and any additional resources they may need to implement their plans to achieve enhanced legal team efficiency. 

The accuracy of the solution blueprint is critical – the more granular the blueprint the more certain the legal team can be as to what is needed to successfully implement the plan. Indeed, accurate implementation planning will increasingly become a much-valued business process that corporate counsel will need to master. More on that in a future Blog.

The findings from the Current State audit will form the basis upon which legal team leaders will determine its transformation priorities, all of which will then be published in their transformation blueprint.

Obviously, what is included in the blueprint is going to be the manifestation of your strategic planning and consideration. All solution includes need to be prioritized by reference to a range of factors including productivity profile, sequencing, internal resource availability, financial management considerations, etc.

It is noteworthy too that any transformation blueprint will be influenced by the overall strategy and risk appetite that the organization is willing to take, and to which the transformed legal function must be aligned. On this point, we strongly advise against implementations that are overly aggressive. See our Blog on How to Avoid Legal Transformation Project Failure

In formulating a transformation blueprint, IHL leaders must include elements that represent tactical responses to the expectations of many stakeholders beyond merely those personnel that are employed within the IHL (e.g. the Board).

Legal Transformation Blueprinting: 10 things TO do

In preparing your legal transformation solution blueprint we highly recommend you observe the following recommendations: 

  1. Successful Initiatives: only include transformation initiatives that you know you can successfully deliver - particularly those that you intend to deliver in your first year of transformation
  2. Think Modular: as far as possible focus on a modular implementation - small building blocks that can come together as a superstructure
  3. Short, Medium, and Long: consider the short-term as 6 months, the medium-term 12 months, and the long-term as being up to 2 years
  4. Be Granular: state precisely what the initiative is that is to be implemented
  5. Stakeholder Selections: be sure to include goals that are stated priorities of your key stakeholders - this will keep them engaged
  6. Business Benefit: try and focus on initiatives that you can directly relate to an anticipated and valuable benefit to the business
  7. High Visibility Initiatives: include some high visibility (to the business) items to be achieved in Year 1
  8. Measurability: focus on including initiatives where you know you can demonstrate substantially improved performance metrics
  9. Foundational/Repeater Stations: focus on initiatives that will optimize the foundational and repeater stations set out in the GLS Transformation Tube Map
  10. Sequencing: pay particular attention to the sequence in which initiatives are delivered - maintaining a continuum between workstreams drives implementation momentum

Legal Transformation Blueprinting: 10 things NOT to do

In preparing your legal transformation solution blueprint we highly recommend you do not do any of the following: 

  1. Big Bang Implementation: never plan for a “big bang” implementation - there is never a place for this style of implementation in a legal team transformation
  2. Aggressive Timelines: avoid the artificiality of unrealistic timelines - the right time for a deadline is determined by a holistic assessment of resourcing and ecosystem considerations
  3. Wishy-Washy Goals: every initiative must be described in clear and uncertain terms - be clear as to what you intend to do
  4. Shiny Boxes: beware of any salesperson offering you an “all in one” software-led transformation solution - they simply do not exist. Digital technology can help but they are not the entire solution
  5. Overreach: your plan can include lots of initiatives, but be realistic about how long it will take to achieve them. Legal teams are always busy - so don't over-estimate how much additional workload they can assume
  6. Myopic Tech Focus: avoid excessive amounts of “hi-tech” solutions - there is a time/place for them, but wait until you've completed those low-tech initiatives which cost less, are less risky and can typically be done by the existing internal team
  7. Ignoring Processes: do not forget to optimize the key processes that will drive performance across your entire legal team
  8. Success-Based Implementation: do not ignore this GLS Golden Rule - only commit to tasks that you know you can deliver - otherwise failure will likely ensue
  9. Current State Assessment: do not try to prepare your blueprint without first having carried out a current state audit
  10. RPVL Decision Making: do not ignore RPLV Decision-Making when considering what to include (and click to access the GLS RPLV Decision-Making Framework


Please check out the GLS solutions and know-how resources listed on the right side of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. 

Of course, if you would like discuss your transformation needs – please book a 30 minute FREE CONSULT WITH GLS 

In the interim, here are 7 resources and tools that may assist you as you transform the performance capabilities of your legal team:

1. GLS's Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations: download this HERE, and read it thoroughly and regularly. It is a wonderful transformation companion

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: for our free and hugely successful, 10 week long, email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team you can SIGN UP HERE

3. GLS Knowledge Centre: click HERE to access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc. - all focused on helping to improve your legal team's performance

4. GLS Legal Operations Community: join the GLS Legal Operations Community and collaborate with other in-house leaders as they seek to tackle many of the same performance issues that you face, click here to JOIN NOW

5. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS CONNECT PAGE and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community

6. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a GLS TRANSFORMATION SUPPORT PLAN 

7. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: REGISTER HERE to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to receive more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

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