Knowledge Solutions

In-House Legal Tip: Knowledge hack your way to in-house excellence

1 min • 01 Nov 23


In the course of our in-house roles – we are exposed to a huge variety of “new learning” scenarios. So much so that if we retained just 30% of it – we could readily emerge as in-house legal juggernauts. 

Sadly, high-levels of in-house “busyness” typically prevent us from capitalizing on these opportunities. 

To unpack this point, let’s take the realm of “contracting function” support. The reality is that the average in-house lawyer who supports a contracting function will over the space of 24 months see most of what there is to see.

They will have seen the full spectrum of approaches to drafting, negotiations, risk allocation, commercial calls, schedules, project management, etc. – from great, all the way down to the atrocious. Yet, someone with just 2 years of contract experience is still just a “legal baby.” 

It is not always the case that the more you do something the better you get. There is science involved here. Specifically, knowledge-based growth is determined by whether we can process newly acquired experiences beyond our short-term memory so that they are available to be drawn down on in the long term. 

So, being busy is simply not enough if you want to develop outstanding in-house legal skills. In fact, the busier we are – the more likely it is that your short-term memory will jettison that which it doesn’t need for the task at hand.

So, you must plan your knowledge acquisition.  Purposefully and intentionally.

Optimal knowledge acquisition will not simply occur. Fortunately, it takes less than an hour a week to reach “expert” standards.

Interesting work has been done in the field of interval-based learning. Such principles represent a potent knowledge acquisition hack for in-house counsel. It also sits behind the in-house training programs offered by GLS. 

Here is a rough explanation of the problem: 

  • Within 1 and 7 days of learning something new, you will have forgotten 20% and 80%+*, respectively. 
  • Within 30 days, nearly 100%*. 

*These retention rates/intervals vary a bit depending on what academic source you review.

However, you can arrest the “forgetfulness curve” by “recapping” (i.e. interval-based recollection) for just a few minutes at intervals of 1, 7 and 30 days.

This will boost your memory retention to well above 80%. If you recap again at 180 days, you could well achieve 90%+ retention rates on a permanent basis.

The point here is that as in-house counsel, you are generally so busy that you don’t have time to “lock-in” the full spectrum of knowledge gains you are exposed to. In fact – most of it is lost to you. 

So, if you really want to consolidate the abundance of new learning opportunities you actually face – then you need to “schedule” your knowledge acquisition. 

Learning is a discipline that takes discipline.

Underline/highlight things of value that you encounter during the day – you can use Evernote or something like that to help. Then find 15 minutes at the end of each day to recap what you identified as being of value/interest. Spend 30min recapping the weekly findings, and then 60min for the monthly findings. 

Rapidly acquired and genuine expertise awaits you.


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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