In-House Legal Tip: Get Outcomes, not Headcount

1 min • 12 Jul 23


Given the dynamic needs of the modern in-house legal team, (e.g. those dealing with new laws, markets, structures, products, technologies, etc.), gone are the days when a single team of lawyers could do absolutely everything that was required to be done. Not, if consistent high performance is your goal – as it should be.

We see a clear change in the resourcing strategies of high-performing teams – with a specific shift to an efficient “core” and needs-based “extensions”. 

The “core” is your full-time legal team members who specialize in meeting the primary needs of the business. The core sets and implements group legal policies, handles strategic assignments, serves as the primary internal client interface, and brings to bear the unique advantages of the full-time team member (e.g. relationships, knowledge, etc.).

The “extension” meets the “specialist needs” of the legal team – whether for extra capacity, specific skill sets, and jurisdictional expertise. The “extension” is mobilized as a legitimate part of the legal team, when needed, enjoying a welcomed and trusted status, based on a pro-actively acquired level of knowledge and competence of the in-house environment.

The challenge with early deployments of this model typically resided in where to access the “extension”. Law firms are typically not financially viable. The traditional body shops (e.g. you know who they are) – whilst marginally more affordable than the law firm, they are generally devoid of the pastoral care commitment that allows for the “welcomed” and “trusted” part-time/periodic team member status to emerge.

However, in-house legal teams now have considerably more qualitative and financially viable ways of accessing the "extension” personnel in ways that deliver the welcomed and trusted support that is needed. GLS’s own GLS Overflow Support™ is a great example of an on-demand resource that meets all of an in-house team’s periodic needs – whether for specialism, speed, or capacity.

We will let other providers peddle their own wares in terms of their ability to serve as the “extension”, but our primary point is that legal team recruiting has reached an inflection point. To retain outstanding quality – full-time in-house teams must offer career paths (best done without overcrowding), meaningful work, and a professional environment. 

Operating a “core” and “extension” model, when implemented correctly, ticks most boxes needed to drive the in-house goals of high-quality performance, talent retention, and strong financial management.

So, the question for every in-house leader is to what extent are you using or considering using a “core + extension” model to drive performance in your legal team?

Later in the week, we will unpack more thoughts on the versatility and value creation that agile resourcing strategies can bring when deployed in a strategic manner.  


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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