In-House Legal Tip: More Means Less

1 min • 09 Oct 23


Achieving more with less presents a significant challenge to the in-house community. So, how can every legal team systematically and assuredly achieve this?

Whether it's needing to oil the wheel that is squeaking the loudest or dealing with sheer workload volumes, most in-house legal teams (“IHL”) are too busy to work out how to become less busy. A vicious cycle of inefficiency can easily set it.

So, here are 10 insights as to how any legal team can become more efficient at handling their “business as usual” and trade- up on the quality of the focus they are delivering to support the attainment of their Business’s objectives:

  1. Mandatory Step Back Sessions: IHLs must spend not less than 1 hour per week actively exploring ways to help make the team “less busy”. Ensuring you achieve a regular “strategic breath” is essential.
  2. Identify Your Grind Zone: typical in-house teams spend 80% of their time on “business as usual” legal work that does not relate directly to the Business’s stated goals. You must accurately identify your Grind Zone as addressing it is the first focal point for achieving in-house efficiency.
  3. Assess Grind Zone Time Cost: identify your top “Grind Zone” workflows and start calculating how long it takes you to complete each task. You must build up a “data based” picture of how much those tasks actually “cost” your legal team.
  4. Time Task Compression Targets: each month identify several “Grind Zone” workflows where you think you could reasonably achieve time task compression wins. Always start with low hanging fruit workflows (i.e. areas that are simple to improve).
  5. Use Standardization & Process: hit your targeted Grind Zone workflows with standardization and process improvements to achieve time task compression ratios. In the first instance, concentrate on improvements that can be achieved without needing to implement new technology.
  6. Capture Process Improvement Data: measure the time and quality improvements that your new processes are delivering back to the Business. Capturing improvement data helps build in-house legal team credibility.
  7. Leverage Optimised Processes: at the initial stages, you should explore how you can further leverage improved processes through training, delegation to juniors, educating internal clients and/or establishing shared services. In time, also consider the cost-benefit analysis of outsourcing to external providers. 
  8. Rinse & Repeat Cycle: continue the process outlined above and systematically work through your Grind Zone on a “gradual” basis over a 12 month period. Be realistic, this is the minimum time it takes to improve your Grind Zone. 
  9. 85:15 Rule: going forward – not less than 15% of your in-house team’s time should be spent on ways to improve your “Business as Usual” operations. This is a bare minimum and can be justified as improvements to your BAU is the secret to upgrading the quality of in-house legal team’s focus.
  10. Tech Leverage:  after working through most of your “Grind Zone” workflows (typically after 12 months), consider whether or not what you have optimized “offline” can be safely supported through “tech-based” process leverage. 

Note that nothing in the above calls for you to buy technology platforms or engage external consultants. Whilst this can clearly expedite the process, and we routinely help teams achieve this, the reality is that in-house teams can, by following the above 10 steps, start to deliver far greater contributions by spending less time in the Grind Zone. 


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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