back

Back

GLS Legal Operations: The 4 Stages of Legal Dept. Transformation

5 mins • 17 Nov 22

4 steps

Stage 1: Assessing the Current State of your in-house legal team: 

Legal department leaders must assess the current state of their legal teams as the first order of business when embarking on any transformation program. Skipping this stage is never advisable. 

A “Current State audit” allows you to gain a detailed understanding of where your legal team is currently at, before deciding on what it needs to become and how to get it there.  

The good reasons for conducting a Current State audit are literally endless and include: 

  • Transformation Targeting: helping you establish what is missing, what needs to improve, and/or what is already working just fine within your legal team;
  • Capturing Improvement: allowing you to access current “performance” metrics against which you can demonstrate transformation-delivered improvements to your business's credible progress;
  • Internal Client Ownership: obtaining performance feedback from your “internal” client, which allows you to position the transformation plan as a means of responding to what the business has asked for; and
  • Legal Team Enlistment: engaging with your key legal team stakeholders by getting their views on what they need and making your plan address those requirements.

The extent and way you conduct your Current State audit can vary, although the more detail you acquire – the more precisely you can formulate and execute your transformation plan.

The Current State audit is unquestionably the most important stage of the project in terms of identifying transformation targets, efficiency strategies, and priorities. It is a vital form of business intelligence that allows you to engage in strategic planning.  If you do not have a legal ops function, then you need to become your own director of operations. 

Any transformation program that skips the Current State audit will likely be unsuccessful - even if it has enjoyed a degree of success, as you may not have the hard data to demonstrate improvement.

There are many ways to conceptualize your legal team to give a logical structure to an audit of its current performance capabilities, which together determine the overall performance capabilities of the legal team. At GLS, we do it by auditing the 15 critical in-house functions that together determine the overall performance capabilities of the legal department.

The 15 critical in-house functions that we work with are all clearly outlined in the GLS Legal Team Transformation Tube Map, our proprietary interactive online legal transformation reference tool. 

GLS offers a wide range of legal department performance diagnostic tools – not to mention our market-leading free online diagnostic tool – the GLS Legal Dept. Efficiency Audit.

Stage 2: Identifying the Desired State of Your In-House Legal Team

Legal team leaders (General Counsel, Chief Legal Officers, Heads of Legal, etc.) must also decide what they want to become – what their “desired state” is to be – this then becomes the object of their transformation program. 

Historically, this kind of insight was something that few legal team leaders had any real access to. Indeed, there has been very little public literature available regarding the anatomy of high-performing legal departments.

Additionally, there is a burgeoning market for new legal tech solutions and most in-house legal teams simply do not have the capacity to monitor these developments, nor the skills to assess their applicability - and in many cases - the ability to approve their implementation into the corporate ecosystem (e.g., tech systems). 

The most effective way to build your “desired state” is by starting with a clear image of what an optimally performing legal function actually looks like and using it as a reference resource to decide what might make sense for your team. But what does that look like we hear you say?

Well, GLS gives you the most definitive answer to this question that is available by means of a free resource. With the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map - our groundbreaking interactive tool  - you can now visualize and explore the functional anatomy of an optimized in-house legal department.

 Within the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map you can see clearly the 15 critical in-house functions that drive overall performance - and more than that - you can see the key anatomical features of each function. This interactive tool overcomes the obstacles stated above both on an entire department and an individual critical function level.

There simply is no other legal department planning tool in existence that comes close to the level of insight that the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map can give you as to the core anatomical features of a high-performance legal team. 

GLS Legal Team Transformation Tube Map is free for you to use.

Note, we are not advocating that all legal teams need to “blindly emulate” the structure comprised in the GLS Transformation Tube Map – rather, they should simply use it as a reference point to compare and contrast against. 

 

Stage 3: Develop a Solution Blueprint for your legal team transformation

Legal team leaders then need to build up a transformation “solution blueprint” for which they can seek approval, internal support, funding, and additional required resources to implement. 

The accuracy of the solution blueprint is critical – the more granular the solution, the more certain and precise the legal team can be as to what is needed to successfully implement the plan. 

The findings from your Current State audit (which you must do) will form the basis upon which legal team leaders determine transformation priorities, all of which will then be published in the transformation solution blueprint.

Obviously, what is included in the blueprint needs to be prioritized by reference to a diverse range of factors including resource productivity profile, initiative sequencing, internal resource availability, etc. 

Each transformation blueprint will be influenced by the overall strategy and risk appetite that the organization is willing to take and with which the transformed legal function must be aligned. This will obviously vary from organization to organization - however - we always advocate safe, measured, and low-risk implementation. Interestingly, most of the “salvage/rescue assignments" GLS has been asked to perform have been for MNCs that have been too aggressive in their transformation rollouts. 

In formulating the solution blueprint, in-house leaders must also include elements that represent tactical responses to the expectations of many stakeholders beyond the personnel directly employed by the IHL (e.g. the Board) - whether that be better vendor management, improved financial decision-making, appointing a head of legal operations, etc.

For example, it is often the case that your strategic stakeholders will have some "pet peeve" concern that they would like your legal team to address. If possible, these should be addressed!

In our Blog GLS Legal Ops: 20 Tips for Blueprinting your Legal Team's Transformation – we have included a detailed range of tips to be followed in order to formulate a successful transformation solution blueprint.

Stage 4: Implementing your legal team transformation plan 

Once the solution blueprint has been approved, legal team leaders must follow a low-risk, success-based implementation plan. 

In practice, what this means is a simple, modular, low-risk implementation strategy that maintains a balance between the business’s immediate support requirements and your transformation goals. Maintaining that balance is critical given that most in-house lawyers are already exceptionally busy.  

Transformation is best achieved through lots of small, successful steps rather than a single, costly “big bang” that looks to change everything overnight!

When advising on transformation plans, GLS normally advocates the tried and tested “85:15 Rule" – that is 15% of your team’s capacity each week should be focused on transformation initiatives - and ideally transformation initiatives that relate to internal client-generated workflows that require immediate support. 

This enables almost any legal team to i) deliver a comprehensive transformation over 2 years, and ii) avoid overwhelming the business or leading the legal dept. to neglect its “business as usual” support activities whilst delivering far better overall program financial management.

The reality is that the transformation journey is a “continuous mode of operating” rather than “a single project to complete” - once the first phase of substantial implementation is done you will find yourself repeating the exercise again and again. 

The good news is, that once that first phase is completed, the subsequent phases generally require less effort – as the efforts are dedicated to maintenance, tweaks, and optimizations.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

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

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Legal Team Efficiency: a Legal Operations Model that Works

12 mins • 18 Jul 22

LO_Model_2_1.jpg

Legal Team Efficiency: a Legal Operations Model that Works

A legal operations capability is a key agent in driving improved legal team performance - but far too few in-house legal departments ("IHL") are actually deliberately leveraging legal ops strategies. 

Whilst "time and budget" are frequently cited as reasons for slow legal ops uptake - we believe that a lack of understanding around (i) the benefits of legal ops strategies and (ii) how to go about formulating a legal ops plan are likely the more cogent reasons.

In GLS's Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations (available for free download) GLS explains the benefits of legal operations capabilities in detail.

In this blog, however, we wanted to focus our thoughts on the importance of the availability of an "accessible" legal ops planning model. We hope that this will help to drive much more widespread adoption of legal ops within the global in-house legal community.

Both the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (see their model at: CLOC) and the Association of Corporate Counsel (see their model at: ACC) offer conceptual models of the legal operations domain designed in order to help the planning processes and to achieve legal operations improvements. Whilst both models are indeed insightful - they do not in our view help the 95% of in-house legal teams globally that DO NOT actually have a dedicated "legal operations team" to help them embrace legal ops and related strategic planning.

Specifically, neither model is representative of the "typical in-house legal team". So the models are not something that most in-house legal teams could actually recognize or instantly apply in order to drive enhanced legal team performance. In short - in our view, an accessible legal ops model must feel relevant if it is to be useful.

A conceptual model that allows IHL leaders to access, understand and implement legal operations and legal team efficiency strategies is a "must" if legal teams are to transform into more productive and business-enabling functional stakeholders.

GLS felt that we needed to fill this gap - so we produced a proprietary legal operations planning module that can be used by the entire in-house legal community.

We call it the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map - a conceptual model/tool to help you plan an effective legal team transformation. This is a model that would be recognizable and relevant to every legal team in the world.

The CLOC Legal Operations Model

The Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (see their website site here: CLOC) is relatively recently established, and the most prominent of the US-based “pay to participate” legal operations associations.

The CLOC has developed the "CLOC Core 12" model which sets out what they consider to be the core elements of an optimal legal operations function.

CLOC Core Competency Legal Operations Reference Model

The CLOC's CORE 12 functional areas include:

  • Business Intelligence
  • Financial Management
  • Firm & Vendor Management
  • Information Governance
  • Knowledge Management
  • Organization Optimization & Health
  • Practice Operations
  • Project/Program Management
  • Service Delivery Models
  • Strategic Planning
  • Technology
  • Training & Development

As useful as the CLOC's view of a legal operations function is - few legal departments are actually structured in the way assumed by the model.

The risk here is that if a legal team cannot recognize itself in the "legal ops model", it might assume that legal ops is simply not an available option.

The ACC Legal Operations Maturity Model

The ACC has released the ACC Legal Operations Maturity Model 2.0, which describes the legal ops spectrum in terms of 14 functional areas:

With many similarities to the CLOC Core 12 - the ACC model does not take into account that most legal departments, do not have dedicated legal ops resources and are not organized around these competencies.

Legal Ops Planning must Reflect the In-House Environment

In our view, neither the CLOC nor ACC models represent a view of the typical in-house legal team domain that most in-house legal teams would actually recognize or be able to instantly interact with in order to drive enhanced legal team performance.

Yes, in-house legal teams are definitely interested in all elements comprising the segmentation represented in any model, but neither model reflects how a legal team is typically structured, or for that matter, how any dedicated legal ops team is structured.

Again, our commentary is not offered to be critical but rather it is made so that we can make legal operations planning tools more accessible to all in-house legal departments. Indeed, it appears that both models assume the existence of an established legal ops function, which typically is not the case for most legal teams.

The GLS view of the world is that for a legal ops planning model to be useful it must:

  • reflects the actual operating environment of most in-house legal teams
  • present a recognizable model of the in-house legal operating environment
  • relate to the major activities/functions of the average in-house legal team
  • be conscious that very few legal teams actually have a dedicated legal ops function
  • recognize that legal ops initiatives may often be pursued by in-house lawyers themselves
  • the mission priorities of the legal team (the internal client and the business)
  • be described in a way that the model relates back to typically available "legal team resources"
  • show how performance improvements depend on the availability and usage of legal team resources
  • be presented in a visual way to aid understanding of i) the overall in-house legal domain and ii) how each element within the model relate to each other element

We think that a more accessible and effective organizational principle for our model is for it to reference the "key functions" carried out/utilized by in-house legal teams. So, by working on countless legal team transformation projects, GLS has been able to identify 15 critical "in-house functions". By visualizing these functions, it becomes possible for the model to accurately assess the overall performance of any in-house legal teams.

The GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map

The GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map is a powerful visualization of an optimally performing in-house team. You can use this model as a reference to guide your own legal team transformation journey and to set your own legal ops priorities.

You can find and explore the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map free of charge.

Critical in-house counsel legal team functions

The GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map is based around the 15 Critical In-House Legal Functions, which in our view, will determine the maximum attainable performance capabilities of most in-house legal teams.

GLS's Key In-House Legal Team Functions:

  1. General Counsel Function - team performance through enhanced General Counsel / Head of Legal leadership
  2. Internal Client Function - focus on strategies for better serving the internal client
  3. Human Capital Function - operating conditions of your legal team members are vital
  4. Knowledge Function - using knowledge assets and strategies to drive performance
  5. Legal Tech Function - how to achieve legal-tech leveraged performance outcomes
  6. Overall Department Performance - measuring and enhancing dept. performance
  7. Legal Operations Function - whether or not you have a dedicated legal ops team all legal departments can use legal ops principles
  8. Data Analytics Function - all legal teams must show the value of their actual contributions via hard data
  9. Service Provider Function - legal teams need strategies to enhance service provider performance and manage legal spend (e.g. law firms, vendor management generally)
  10. Compliance Function - one of the most important functions for those legal teams that own this responsibility
  11. Company Secretarial Function - a necessary corporate hygiene matter
  12. Intellectual Property Function - IP capture, protection, and monetization
  13. Disputes Management Function - early detection and efficient dispute management
  14. Managed Services Function - internal/external process management solutions
  15. Contracting Function - contracting/contracts management is one of the most visible & impactful legal team contributions

In keeping with our "tube map" journey analogy, in the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map we call these functions the "IHL Lines".

How does the GLS legal ops model help you?

Use comparison to drive legal team productivity

As an in-house leader, by being able to see the “entire” in-house legal domain in full-color granular detail, you can:

  • access a deep array of insights into the current performance levels of your legal team;
  • readily locate focal points for efficient improvement;
  • prioritize decision-making based on your currently available legal dept. resources*.

*For a guide on how to maximize the utilization of the full spectrum of resources available to your legal team see our blog RPLV: Transformative Legal Ops Decision Making.

Specifically, the GLS Transformation Tube Map allows you to harness the power of “comparison” to efficiently make sense of what is needed for you to successfully implement an effective legal operations transformation agenda.

"Comparison" is the act of evaluating the relevant characteristics of two or more things by determining and assessing i) whether a difference exists between those characteristics and ii) if a difference is present, to what degree.

Where characteristics are different, the differences may be evaluated to determine which is best suited for a particular purpose (i.e. formulate an action plan that works best for your organization).

We are not saying that every legal team should be comprised as per the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map - but rather, we offer it as a potential "North Star" for planning purposes.

Legal Ops planning insights from our model

The GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map provides a user-friendly reference framework that helps in-house legal teams visualize and/or identify:

 1. Essential IHL processes: visualize on a “whole of department” basis, the essential infrastructure/processes that invariably exist inside an optimally performing IHL;

 2.  Comparative performance: quickly glean deep performance insights by simply comparing your department's existing infrastructure, processes, and performance against the referenced “world-class in-house legal department”;

 3.  Critical process gaps: quickly and objectively assess the existence of any essential infrastructure gaps within your dept. (or indeed gaps within a particular process within your dept.), that are preventing your dept.'s optimized performance;

 4.   Performance enhancement points: quickly identify what improvements can be prioritized in order to achieve the greatest performance enhancement, and easily provide reasoned justifications for resourcing the same;

5.  IHL process reliance: understand i) the key elements that make up each legal department process/function and ii) the points of "overlap" between the different processes/functions. This will allow you to start adjusting specific function elements to achieve and enhance the “end-to-end performance” of your legal department;

 6.  Vital process shapers: identify which elements inside each legal dept. process/function tend to dictate the overall performance of that process/function. These "foundational elements" can then be focused on to deliver great “productivity ripples” across the entire process/function;

 7.  Logical starting points: effectively assess where are the best points in your legal dept. to commence your transformation work. In making such an assessment you will take into account efficiency, existing workloads and your organization's ability to process change;

 8.  Common performance elements: identify what are the common elements that appear in multiple legal dept. processes/functions. These "repeating elements" can then be focused on as they represent points of leverage, where shrewd interventions will deliver a “productivity ripple" effect throughout your entire legal department;

 9.  Legal technology pathways: build up an improved vision of how legal technology works across your legal dept.'s functions, and factor such insights into your overall legal technology strategy; and

 10.  Your transformation journey: identify, break down, prioritize and plan your IHL Transformation journey in the most efficient manner.

Legal ops transformation planning made easy

Be your own head of legal operations

Legal teams (particularly smaller ones) do not need to have a stand-alone "legal operations team" led by a dedicated legal operations manager in order to achieve legal department efficiency via legal ops-based practices.

All in-house legal team leaders will have an instinctive idea of where improvements are needed. Nonetheless, producing a cogent, prioritized and objectively justifiable transformation plan that leverages existing legal resources is not easy.

Indeed, formulating a legal team transformation plan has traditionally been one of the biggest hurdles for in-house legal team leaders. The spectrum of challenges include:

  • you know you need to transform but do not know where to start
  • the need to have an "impressive start" to get your transformation efforts underway
  • the need to focus on “high impact” and “client visible” initiatives
  • that your transformation efforts must not distract the team from their current workloads
  • that all efforts must deliver “clear” wins to the business
  • that staff are generally wary of underwhelming “efficiency initiatives”
  • the need to avoid all preventable mistakes
  • finding a plan that will show your team that the business supports meaningful change

In our view, the three most intimidating challenges associated with planning your legal operations agenda include:

  • One: Understanding what an optimally performing legal team actually looks like.
  • Two: Understanding how your dept. is performing compared to such an optimized team.
  • Three: Deciding where to actually start your transformation journey.

 

 

The GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map allows all corporate legal departments to visualize the elements that make up “high-performance legal function” and compare that against their own individual contexts.

In-house leaders no longer have to rely on "instinct" alone - our powerful planning tool, together with our RPLV** decision-making, makes legal transformation-based decision-making far more efficient and effective for any legal team of any size.

**Please see our blog "Legal Ops: A simple decision making framework to drive legal team transformation".

A comparative Legal Ops tool

Clearly a legal team model can be "sliced and diced" in an infinite number of ways, but we have chosen to focus on the above 15 functional differentiations.

The objective, of course, is not to achieve 100% agreement from the in-house legal community on the best representation of the in-house legal function - but to simply achieve a majority view - as we have done.

If, when viewing the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map, you see a function that is not expressly noted then it may be that the function:

•   is captured by the activities that we have associated with an existing IHL Station;

•   itself falls outside of those core activities that the “typical in-house legal dept.” would typically be responsible for; or

•   is not an activity that is truly critical to adding direct value to the business.

To be super clear, we are not saying that every legal team should mirror the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map - but rather that the Tube Map is offered as a powerful tool that can be used for your own planning purposes.

If you do feel that we have missed a “core activity” please send your feedback to info@gls.global – we are always looking to build our knowledge base and improve the resources that we make available to the in-house legal community. So we would very much welcome any and all constructive feedback!

As a reminder, the goal here is to aid legal operations strategic planning by accessing the power of comparison. Ours is a working model that gives every legal team a model from which they can consider their own needs and circumstances.

Formative Stations - key building blocks for legal team transformation

Most legal dept. functions have a core element that defines the overall success of that function – on the Tube Map, we call those elements the “Formative Stations”.

The Formative Stations are without doubt the most important transformation points in each function/process. Their qualitative status directly impacts the quality of each of the other elements within the function and the overall performance of the function itself.

Put another way – a legal dept. function/process can only ever perform to the standards and quality set by its Formative Station.

From a transformation planning perspective, the Formative Stations are the first and most essential areas to be addressed if you want to optimize a legal dept.'s performance.

If you do not focus on your Formative Stations first (with maximum attention), you will risk reducing the overall performance potential of that entire function/process.

Repeater Stations - a key for legal team efficiency

Certain elements within each legal dept. function will also be present across multiple other functions - in the Tube Map, we call those common elements the “Repeater Stations”.

From a transformation point of view, Repeater Stations, if optimized, offer the potential to improve multiple IHL Lines simultaneously, thereby delivering a “multiplier” effect to your transformation work.

A great example of a Repeater Station would be a "Group Legal Policy".

Get your legal ops planning underway

We believe that the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map represents a potent legal ops planning tool for all legal teams and we use it on each and every transformation assignment that we work on.

This tool allows legal dept. managers to visualize what a theoretical "optimized legal team" operating in an efficient manner might look like so that they can:

(a) better understand what an "optimized" environment looks like and set transformation goals;

(b) audit the state of their current ecosystem to assess current status/start points;

(c) set priorities with an understanding of the role of each process element;

(d) develop transformation plans that maximize productive ripple effects by appropriate targeting and initiative sequencing; and

(e) make decisions by reference to a model that resembles the actual environment in which they operate.

The CLOC and ACC models are academically useful, but they often offer categories of concern that often fall beyond the environment that most legal teams actually operate within.

Legal ops is not something that is taught at law school nor given much attention in private practice. As such, we highly recommend the GLS's Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations as a great induction to this rapidly growing management science

You can also visit the GLS Legal Operation Centre for instant access to the best infrastructure, tools, and resources to help implement your legal operations agenda.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

What are Legal Operations?

4 mins • 12 Jul 22

Lawyer_at_table.jpg

What Are Legal Operations?

They support the business’s legal function, taking a multidisciplinary approach to managing it. This includes functions such as:

  • Legal technology
  • Organizational planning
  • People management
  • Project management

Legal operations can be a part of an in-house legal department or law firm. They can provide high-quality legal services to both their internal clients and external clients.

Their goal is to improve productivity, efficiency, and profitability. 

While many companies may not have defined “legal operations” per se, it is likely that they already have people who perform such duties as supporting various aspects of the law department. This can be a good precursor when you establish the legal ops function.

Key Resources and Functions

It would be ideal if each legal department could run its own business. This means that a legal ops program should ensure they focus strategically on the legal organization, scaling appropriately and delivering upon its commitments.

Essentially, it is like all the other business units in a company, in this way, including these key functions.

Organizational Planning

This is a critical piece of legal ops. Identifying the goals of legal operations is the first step. The second step is the strategies and policies needed to support their goals.

Business Performance

Third, legal operations will need to define what success is. This requires tools for tracking and measuring their efforts. They will need to define metrics so that they know if they are successful or if they need to adjust.

There are plenty of ways to measure success, and these measures may need to change based on such factors as the structure of the company, size, political and cultural issues, personalities, finances, and policy goals of the business.

Legal Technology

It is important that the entire legal team work on a team tech vision under a joint banner. This is how they can streamline workflows.

Technology is critical to helping legal operations vet and select technology vendors and suppliers. Further, they must leverage technology for automating repetitive tasks and they must expect tech stack needs.

Legal operations necessarily incorporate legal tech, which means everything from low-tech solutions (e.g. checklists, playbooks, etc.) all the way through to high-tech (e.g. A.I. contract reviews, automated contract life-cycle systems, etc.).  The importance of legal technology is considered in one of our series of master classes which can be found here: GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 6 - Legal Tech: Embracing it safely.   

People Management

Thomas Reid once said that “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” This is the same thing for business. You want brilliant people so that you can achieve amazing outcomes.

Colleagues who can effectively manage your legal operations are an invaluable resource. They also create an engaging culture to work in.

Legal operations create standards for the hiring process. They are fair and well-planned. This is how your business can assemble an effective legal team to achieve objectives.

Practice Operations

In-house, lawyers can get spread thin quickly when they do not have help. Tasks will pile up that is not a legal practice, at least in the narrow sense of it, but they must be done, regardless.

You do not want your in-house lawyers or outside legal services to spend time on low-value tasks that will still eat up valuable financial resources. Beyond being cost-effective, it is also a distraction.

Legal operations ease such burdens and free up capacity, to be used as it should be.

Project Management

To effectively practice law, it requires smart individuals to follow a series of tasks. These tasks make up a bigger picture (or matter). Missing a step or task can prove harmful to the company.

For a positive experience, project management is key in legal operations.

Business Intelligence

At the core of business activities, there should be data. This is no different for in-house legal. Today, too many legal departments poorly use their data.

For legal ops, data is pivotal. It is how they determine daily legal work and strategy. They spot patterns, discover trends, improve business outcomes, and make use of opportunities that are currently hidden otherwise.

Information Governance

In-house lawyers cannot keep track of a high volume of data. No one can see the big picture with data insights when they live in information silos. This means that the company will lose out on much-needed data-driven opportunities.

Legal operations will step in and take action to rectify this. They create best practices for information management. It is a way for the team to help the legal department discover sound data and implement firm information policies that will work successfully across departments.

Vendor Management and Outside Legal Services

A legal department that is a part of a larger business may look for outside legal services for help. Law firms do the same. This means that they need partner firms and vendors that will be compatible with the business.

It is up to legal ops to seek and hire such help.

Unfortunately, the cost of seeking outside legal help can be significant. Many legal departments may find that working with outside legal services can be the biggest line item within their budget—most of it being outside counsel fees.

Legal operations look past pricing models that are traditional in their approach. Instead, they leverage their clear, data-driven know-how to form vendor relationships with a strategy in mind.

Delivering efficient, transparent-based vendor deals to in-house lawyers is a significant contribution to legal operations. It means they have to go to partners with a strategic approach that meets the needs of the business.

That is where legal operations can make a big impact. When you can manage outside legal services processes effectively within your legal ops, it leads to a significant reduction in costs. Plus, you will find legal ops will improve the efficiency and quality too.

Financial Management

A top challenge for in-house lawyers and legal administration is budgeting. This derives from a disconnect between spending and outcomes. Legal operations can build a transparent budgeting process because they possess sound financial management.

Knowledge is power, so legal operations help businesses and their legal counsel plan for future costs and opportunities. Further, there is consistency with budget planning. When budgeting is predictive, in-house lawyers and the legal administration can get the most out of their allocated budget.

Benefits of Legal Ops

Based on the functions and strengths previously mentioned here, legal operations assist in-house lawyers, legal procurement, and outside legal services, leading to massive benefits.

The data that legal operations possess, from policies to vendor management, is tangible proof of their invaluable success in the business.

They take care of repetitive tasks that can bog down in-house lawyers or outside legal services. This frees up time. Everyone can focus more on strategic, high-impact activities.

Legal ops create transparent, standardized processes. This means that companies have predictable legal spending, so there is a better way to dedicate budget needs. Once spending is locked down, it creates opportunities for key resources to go to the best tasks and activities for the spending.

Further, legal operations have a good understanding of the needs of in-house lawyers. They can also determine the possibilities for vendors to help, too. This means that can make the best-suited match for in-house teams to work with external partners.

Legal operations ensure an alignment between tools and optimal business processes.

When legal professionals can focus more on the legal work because legal ops are supporting them, giving them the chance to optimize their time, everyone wins. The business itself wins.

Legal operations allow for scaling and optimizing the legal process.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

GLS Legal Ops Opinion: In-house legal teams must transform

4 mins • 30 Jun 22

GLS_IMAGES16.jpg

GLS Legal Ops Opinion: In-house legal teams must transform

Why in-house legal teams must transform

Globally, many in-house legal departments struggle to meet the rapidly growing legal and compliance requirements of the businesses they serve, whilst they are simultaneously being asked to reduce costs and demonstrate more value.

Do you know any in-house lawyer that would disagree with the statement above? We don’t and communicate with more than 10,000 in-house lawyers multiple times each month.

One thing is for certain, the way in which in-house legal teams operate needs to adapt – or, to be more precise, in-house legal teams need to rise to the challenge of demonstrably achieving “far more with far less”.

The Case For Legal Ops: In-house legal teams face constant pressure

 

What does legal team transformation look like?

The future for all in-house legal teams is about evolving into teams that can achieve manifestly more with the resources that they have at their disposal – this process is what we call - legal team transformation.

If you had to offer a definition of legal team transformation it would probably be something like this.

"Legal team transformation is the management, deconstruction, and re-imagining of how in-house legal teams work so that the “business as usual” is executed far more efficiently and thereby leaving far greater capacity for strategic and “business enabling” contributions."

Another way of describing it would be simply that legal teams must deploy a "legal operations" agenda to help their legal teams deliver greater strategic focus and productivity.

An even better way of understanding it would be to conceptualize it visually. In the below diagram, we show you what moving from “Old Law” to “New Law” via legal team transformation would look like.

Legal Ops: The Legal Team Transformation Process

 

The journey to get from Old Law to New Law is your own unique legal team transformation and is achieved through the application of legal ops-based thinking and principles. The journey is from your “current state" to your “optimal state” - which of course is not a “static” endpoint - it too moves/improves over time. 

For in-house legal team leaders, typically experts in the law and department management (i.e. the “Old Law” structures), imagining how legal tech, data analytics, business process engineering, and Millennials might aid in-house legal transformation (i.e. “New Law” considerations), is not always easy.

Fortunately, for those in-house legal team leaders eager to undertake the transformation of their legal teams, the challenge is not nearly as great as it might appear at first glance given that now is a great time for legal transformation. 

Now is a great time for legal team transformation

Apart from constant legal transformation being essential for every legal team, there actually has been no better time for legal teams to start planning their legal team transformation journey. Consider the following:

Systemic inefficiencies in the legal industry

Much legal industry activity has historically been conducted in such an inefficient fashion that achieving massive productivity gains from existing resources is actually not that difficult. Quick wins are available to every in-house legal team.

Corporate counsel can access legal innovation

We all now operate in an environment that offers a steady stream of new technologies and innovations that increasingly make substantially elevated legal team performance imminently feasible. The cost of such solutions is now much less of an issue than awareness of what solutions are available. 

Corporate counsel must plan their own transformations

Self-authored change is always more effective – few will know your business and all of its foibles as well as you – and your proactive efforts will be recognized as “initiative”, not corrective action imposed from above.

A word on obstacles to legal transformation

Whilst the case for profound change in the legal industry has been overwhelming for well over a decade, our industry, the legal industry, has always proved stubbornly change-averse.

This generally holds true whether you are an in-house lawyer or in private practice - but of course most especially in the case of "Big Law" and its provision of legal services. The billable hour has not proved a good bedfellow for innovation and efficiency.  

The obstacles to change within the in-house legal community, whilst nowhere near as acute as they are in private practice, are largely centered around the same issues – outdated practices and mindsets, and leadership with vested interests. 

Unlike any other industry, the legal industry has generally been rewarded for saying “no” to new efficiency-based initiatives. The vested few best served by “old ways” might say “don’t fix what isn’t broken”. Newsflash – it is broken! Check out our blogs Traditional Law is Broken - Part 1 and Traditional Law is Broken - Part 2 to hear our views on this topic!

To make our point though - consider this: what would you make of the farmer that uses hundreds of men with shovels to dig a field instead of hiring in an earth mover for a couple of hours? Would you celebrate their wisdom or question their sanity?

As an example, the reluctance to professionalize external legal procurement is one of many examples of the millstones of old-guard IHL leadership. Why has law firm and legal spend management proven immune to the global best practices applied by all other procurement functions? We have a little bit of a rant on this topic in our blog Performance Managing External Counsel

Legal ops is more than just law firm costs

The global business community desperately needs its in-house legal team to do far more now than ever before, but sadly the discussion prioritizes containment of law firm costs and not enhanced legal team productivity.

Increasingly, in-house legal teams are being viewed just like “any other department” and are no longer immune from organization-wide rationalization and /or efficiency programs/audits. As The American Lawyer notes “today’s general counsel are being asked to think like business leaders, not just lawyers.” In this context – “self-authored” change is clearly preferable.

Fortunately, unlike the private practice community, there is no economic incentive binding in-house legal teams to past inefficiencies – the in-house legal community is far more amenable to change, and is far more aligned with its client (i.e. the business) that demands it.

And as such, more in-house legal teams are willing to consider how a legal ops agenda can help deliver greater strategic focus and productivity outcomes - (i.e) rapidly catch up with the rest of the business community.

With the help of legal ops principles. legal teams can adopt improved vendor management, strategic planning, legal analytics tools, knowledge management, and contracts management tools, amongst other things, to achieve greater strategic focus and productivity.

Legal ops or legal obsolescence

We believe that imminent danger lurks for legal team leaders claiming to be "too busy with the day-to-day to find time to plan" . Such leaders will find themselves becoming rapidly outdated and will be outperformed by other legal teams that have deliberate plans to focus resources and effort to achieve a more legal ops-focused legal team.

So, that is the GLS conclusion - change it is – widespread legal team transformation will occur across the in-house industry either voluntarily, because you know that it is the only way forward – or mandatorily because it is forced upon you by a business that demands that every business unit demonstrate value and cost savings.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Legal Ops: A Simple Decision-Making Framework to Drive Legal Team Transformation

Bring a legal ops perspective to every day legal team decision making

9 mins • 23 Jun 22

GLS Legal Ops Original Image

Legal Ops: Decision-making that drives legal efficiency

In our recent Blog "What is legal operations and can it benefit all legal teams?" we defined "legal operations" as:

“the means of maximizing the productivity expression of ALL available legal team resources, in provable ways, and which drive legal team value recognition.”

We also said that:

"Our definition of legal operations is really simple. It simply requires legal teams putting more conscious thought into the use of legal department resources and trying to track performance outcomes"

In this Blog, we are going to show how easy it is for any in-house legal team("IHL") to put our concept of "legal ops" into practice - without needing the support of a dedicated legal operations team.

We will also introduce you to a simple and effective decision-making framework that we have conceived that will help you transform your legal team into a far more productive and value-generating legal function through an active legal ops agenda.

We have named this "legal ops" decision-making framework “RPLV Legal Transformation Decision Making” ... or just “RPLV” for short.

And one last thing before we get going - we use "legal transformation" and "legal ops" as interchangeable terms - as both are used to describe the means of achieving greater levels of legal team productivity.

Legal transformation decision-making

GLS's RPLV Decision-Making Framework is a free and simple decision-making framework that legal teams can use to ensure that all decision-making is placed in a performance transformation context.

RPLV: An Effective Legal Ops Decision Making Framework

How it works is really simple. In-house lawyers simply place their day-to-day decision-making into the RPLV framework, particularly those decisions that relate to the use of limited legal department resources.

The elements that constitute RPLV Decision-Making, and which can very easily deliver a strategic planning context to all legal department decisions are as follows:

1. Legal Ops - Resources

Legal ops begins with an awareness of all resources available to the legal team and developing a strategic plan to optimize them.

In our experience, most legal departments do not actually realize the full range of resources available to them or are too busy to actually use all the resources that they have available.

2. Legal Ops - Prioritization

Legal team decision-making should always be made by reference to an approved domain of responsibility - that is a clear understanding of the priorities that the business has set for the legal department.

Ironically, far too many legal teams operate on the basis of doing whatever is asked of them - something which is wholly inappropriate and sets the team up for perpetual failure and inefficiency.

3. Legal Ops - Leverage

It is important to ask when considering how to allocate/task finite legal department resources, which use allocation scenario will deliver the optimal ongoing productivity outcomes for the legal team and its associated business?

Active consideration of the "legal resource leverage profile" as part of decision-making is absolutely essential but it is frequently overlooked by many legal professionals in an in-house legal team environment.

4. Legal Ops - Validation

Not only must in-house legal teams achieve more with less, but they must also be able to demonstrate this to the business.

As such, before a legal team makes a definitive resourcing decision, it must give active consideration to the ability to validate associated resource performance outcomes.

Obviously, there will be times when a legal team's decision must be made when it is difficult to provide an objective report on the value that it creates (e.g. briefing a law firm to defend a litigation claim).

However, the point is that it is increasingly important that in-house counsel make it a habit to ask - "if I make this decision, can I demonstrate the value it creates for the business".

Why is RPLV Decision-Making such an effective legal ops tool?

RPLV decision-making places in-house legal team decision-making into a strategic transformation framework which allows for small and effective resource optimization steps to be identified and missteps to be avoided.

Moreover, a steady, incremental approach based on small successful steps led by the In-House team is the ONLY pathway for a successful to achieve effective transformation of your legal team as:

  • In-house legal teams are actually best placed to “author” their own transformation plan
  • change should come from within as most categories of legal resources are not fully used
  • foundational transformation can already be achieved with little to no expenditure
  • the In-house legal team must deliver results that the rest of the business will want to support

Whilst legal ops is often seen as the poster child for legal tech (e.g. contract automation, data analytics, predictive analysis, machine learning, and artificial intelligence solutions), RPLV is the most important Day 1 legal ops step you can take.

Oh, and one more small detail - applying RPLV Decision Making is entirely free for you to use - and takes just minutes for you to apply to your decision-making.

In the balance of this article, we will explain how RPLV works, along with how easy it is to bring a legal ops perspective to daily decision-making in your legal department.

Available In-House Legal Team Resources

A key principle for a successful legal team transformation is that each and every class of legal resources deployed by a business must achieve optimal productivity expression.

Sadly, too many businesses view their legal resources in limited terms such as "headcount” and “external” budget – and in so doing deprive themselves of the ability to optimize.

Such an approach is like a professional sprinter training solely by running fast and disregarding core strength, explosiveness, visualization, flexibility, CO2 capacity, recovery, sleep, diet, routine, etc.

Accordingly, the essential pre-cursor to a successful legal team transformation is to identify the true scope and nature of legal resources available to your legal team.

GLS advocates that the In-House team must consider their legal resources using the below types of resource categories, each of which can be optimized and uniquely combined for optimal effect.

Legal Ops effectively utilizes all legal team resources

With this enhanced view of the available legal team resources, the ability to make strategic resourcing adjustments that deliver multiplier performance outcomes is greatly enhanced.

So here are your first "legal ops" wins that do not involve any legal expenditure. Simply take the time to correctly identify all of your available legal team resources.

A legal ops agenda focuses on "priorities"

If a legal team lacks a mandate setting over its roles and responsibilities, and for that matter its decision-making authority within the business, it lacks the ability to "prioritize" the resources it has available to it.

This is tremendously important for every legal department - particularly as legal team budgets become tighter as they are each and every year.

Few legal teams have the resources to do everything that it actually needs to do so most legal teams are forced to prioritize their focus - ideally on things the business most values.

Sadly, most legal teams do not benefit from a clear board-approved operational mandate, known to the business, which in turn contextualizes resourcing decisions and against which performance is judged.

If such policy assets are not in place, the in-house legal team may find that its legal transformation efforts are hindered by the following “handicap” conditions:

  • a reactive footing – the team finds itself reacting to the business instead of actively pursuing established priorities in a manner that permits optimized resourcing
  • compromised capacity – the capacity, status, and reporting lines are not easily understood by the business resulting in diluted effectiveness and diluted ability to influence the business
  • inability to performance manage – a lack of clear objectives and responsibility deprives the team of the ability to performance manage and track progress against goal realization
  • inability to access resources – it is difficult to make the case for essential resources if they do not relate to business-approved legal team priorities

All legal teams need a clear Legal Team Authority Mandate that clearly sets out its roles, responsibilities, and operating authority. See how legal teams can solve this problem here.

So here is your second legal ops win - it will be far easier to determine legal team resourcing priorities if you have established a clear legal team authority mandate with your business.

Legal ops maximize resource leverage

Once your true inventory of available legal resources available is understood, choices can be made as to how to achieve optimal productivity resonance for each class of legal resource across the business.

Leverage profiling involves assessing the extent to which the deployment of a class of legal resources can achieve maximum ongoing and sustainable resonance across your organization.

As a simple example, commissioning the creation of a new legal template that your business will use all the time offers better ROI than a template for a one-off non-critical deal type.

It is noteworthy that the highest levels of legal resource resonance can frequently be achieved from legal resource classes that are needed to meet the 80% “business as usual” requirement of the business.

The leverage assessment includes looking at efficiencies that can be built into each class of legal resource itself and/or what can be achieved by that category of legal resource. Typical questions include:

  • how frequently does the underlying legal support requirement arise?
  • how can the resource deployment benefit the business most?
  • what resource deployments create the loudest organization resonance?
  • how can the resource deployment be re-utilized by the business?
  • is there a productivity multiplier effect that can be achieved?
  • will the resource deployment result in a knowledge harvest opportunity?
  • does the legal resource category offer standardization potential?
  • can automation of the resource category/workflow be achieved?
  • what is the extent to which the deployment will resonate across the wider company/group?

In view of the above, it is easy to see why policy-based legal assets offer the highest organizational resonance and are essential for any New Law transformation.

The General Counsel that does not consider the leverage profile of each class of their legal resource, especially for the 80% Requirement, is likely passing up on utilizing significant levels of untapped capacity.

Legal ops is based on strong legal analytics

All in-house legal teams must be able to demonstrate the value contribution they are making to their business in order to survive and particularly if it wants to support/funding for additional legal ops / legal transformation projects.

Increasingly, the notion that the intangible nature of the in-house legal role, driven by its non-P&L construct, renders it immune from performance management, is being rejected.

Accordingly, the extent to which you can track the productivity outcomes achieved by a particular class of legal resources is becoming an increasingly important factor in decision-making.

Successful legal teams will increasingly choose to operate in what we are calling the “empirical data domain” where they adopt and monitor performance metrics such as those set out below.

Legal Analytics: Potential Legal Ops KPIs

Rich performance data will allow legal ops-focused legal teams to increasingly improve the quality of their decision-making and the productivity returns they can achieve from all classes of legal resources.

To deny the increasing importance of data analytics to a legal department is a little like thinking that a mobile phone that can take pictures will not catch on. Legal teams must embrace analytic tools and data analysis to inform decision-making and validate results.

The future is legal ops-driven legal transformation

In-house legal teams must now also deliver far more “business-enabling” support to their business – they must contribute far more to the revenue and strategy-based projects of the underlying business.

This must be achieved as the overall in-house workload continues to rise. The most successful legal teams demonstrate a surgical focus, sharp prioritization, the ability to leverage, and the ability to validate their performance. Your legal team can increasingly achieve these outcomes each day with GLS's RPLV Decision-Making Framework. 

Effective legal transformation can be achieved by all legal teams - including those that do not operate with a standalone legal operations team - as is the case for most members of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium.

So whilst legal ops can be expensive and involve tech-enabled solutions, e.g. financial management, contracts management, and sophisticated legal analytics tools as part of the legal operations toolkit, all in-house legal teams can improve and bring greater efficiencies to their operations by doing something as simple as adopting RPLV Decision Making.

And best of all - RPLV Decision Making is not only free for you to apply - it is means by which you can achieve greater productivity out of legal resources that you already have in place.

As an additional resource, we would like to watch our Legal Ops Mater Class Seminar on RPLV - you can find it here - "In-House Challenges and the RPLV Response".

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Can legal operations benefit all legal teams?

4 mins • 22 Jun 22

GLS_IMAGES13.jpg

Can legal operations benefit all legal teams?

Legal ops is for all legal teams

Legal operations helps improve the performance of legal departments. To date, the adoption of dedicated legal operations teams has primarily been limited to larger legal departments.

The largest organization in the legal ops space is the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, or CLOC, and they define legal operations as:

“a set of business processes, activities and the professionals that enable legal departments to serve their clients more effectively by applying business and technical practices to the delivery of legal services.”

The CLOC definition risks discouraging some legal teams from developing a legal ops agenda as the CLOC definition does not appear to be relevant to them.

For example, most legal teams around the world are actually small in size (1-5 legal professionals) and do not have a dedicated legal operations team.

We think more legal teams would develop legal ops agendas if legal ops were actually defined in a way that was more accessible to the wider in-house legal community.

In this blog, we offer a definition of legal operations that is relevant to most legal teams and encourages the exploration of legal efficiency.

We believe that more legal teams will be willing to explore how legal ops can drive improved performance and drive legal transformation.

CLOC has a narrow focus on legal ops

CLOC's focus tends to be on larger corporations with more well-resourced legal departments, including dedicated legal operations personnel - as you might typically find in the MNC context.

In CLOC’s 2021 State of the Industry Survey" – see here, it is noted that:

  • a small legal dept is profiled as having 15 full-time lawyers; and
  • its survey respondents had on average, 7 full-time dedicated legal operations personnel.

Our experience is that the average in-house legal team is one that:

  • comprises 1-5 full-time in-house lawyers and often just a single General Counsel;
  • faces legal service requests that far outweigh the legal team's capacity
  • desperately needs to improve in-house lawyer productivity
  • has limited legal department resources available to it; and
  • is currently unable to deploy a dedicated legal operations team

As you can see - the characteristic of the average legal team does not really match up with the CLOC's definition of legal ops - that is a legal department with a dedicated legal ops team.

Does this mean that smaller legal teams cannot benefit from enhanced vendor management, data analytics, legal analytics tools, and legal tech including artificial intelligence and predictive analysis?

Absolutely not! All legal teams can benefit from legal ops.

CLOC focuses on the needs of large legal teams with dedicated legal ops capability

Most legal teams globally compromise between 1-5 in-house lawyers and barely any have a dedicated legal ops support team - making them fall outside CLOCs definition of legal ops.

Not many in-house legal teams will have access to the same level of resources available to the legal teams at Google, Microsoft, Gap, Oracle, and Fidelity Investments. CLOC's leadership comes to these organizations.

As such, it should not be surprising that CLOCs agenda tends to focus on the legal ops agenda of similarly larger companies.

Unsurprisingly, the CLOC agenda focuses on the concerns of larger legal teams with dedicated legal operations capabilities, to the exclusion of most legal departments globally.

In our opinion, the CLOC definition risks discouraging the average in-house legal team from considering legal ops as a means to improve legal team performance.

This is an unacceptable outcome as almost every in-house legal team is struggling to meet legal support requests with the resources available to them. New productivity strategies must be encouraged.

As we say above ...

Legal Operations can benefit all in-house legal teams

Every legal team, no matter how big or how small they are can benefit from a legal operations agenda not least of which because all in-house legal teams are under constant pressure to engage in legal team transformation - see our Blog GLS Legal Ops Opinion: In-house legal teams must transform.

Indeed, we believe that more legal teams would consider developing legal ops if it is defined in a way that makes it relevant to their legal team. Legal ops cannot be the exclusive domain of extremely large legal teams.

We take a far more “practical” and “accessible” approach to defining legal operations – one that allows any legal department to benefit from a legal operations function.

Accordingly, at Global Legal Solutions we view “legal operations” as:

“the means of maximizing the productivity expression of ALL available IHL resources, in provable ways, and which drive IHL value recognition.”

Legal ops is more helpfully understood as making sure your legal team constantly considers how to achieve more with the resources it has and gives more thought to how performance is measured and reported.

Our definition of legal operations is really simple. It simply requires legal teams to put more conscious thought into the use of legal department resources and trying to track performance outcomes.

With our definition, any legal department can use legal operations to drive performance - something you can still do without the presence of legal operations professionals with access to significant resources.

Get your legal ops agenda started

So there you have it - legal ops is in fact for every legal team provided it is defined properly.

If you want to learn how you can place your everyday legal department decision-making into a strategic legal transformation content (ie legal ops), please read our blog RPLV: Transformative Decision Making and make use of the proprietary GLS RPLV Decision-Making Framework (available on a complimentary basis).

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

News / Press Releases

Top 10 In-House Legal Team Resolutions for a New Year

6 mins • 08 Apr 22

light bulb

A new year is a new opportunity to transform your in-house legal function into the world-class operation that you know it can be.

If you haven't set the goals for your legal team just yet, below are the Top 10 “New Year’s Resolutions” that in-house lawyers ("IHLs") tell us that they want to achieve this year by way of vital transformation initiatives.
 

Noting that achieving any resolution obviously takes commitment and hard work, GLS has also set out the tools & solutions that will most effectively enable you to achieve each resolution.
 

RESOLUTIONTOOL FOR RESOLUTION REALISATION

1) Cut costs, cut costs ... and keep cutting costs! 

Every IHL we speak to says that they are under great pressure to reduce costs - with many going into 2020 requiring cost reductions of 20-40%, and for some, much more.

What this entails is IHL teams being able to do far more for themselves and, spending less on external counsel - see Resolution 2 below.

These reductions are required despite IHL workloads continuing to grow exponentially. 

GLS Legal Operations Centre™

The GLS LOC gives you instant access to 700+ tools & solutions that help you reduce the financial, time and lawyer resource consumption of your legal team.

The GLS LOC gives you "finger tip" access to tools & solutions that allow your team to massively leverage its performance, and reduce resource expenditure. 

You can also CLICK HERE to register (for free , no commitment) and get a Welcome Pack that includes over US$15K of tools for you to try for free.

2) Better manage law firm relationships

Cutting costs also means spending less on law firms wherever possible, whilst improving the value that you receive from those firms.

Indeed, most IHLs are looking for a more leveraged & strategic relationship with law firms that boosts IHL team performance, as opposed to just depleting its resources.

NEWSFLASH!  the engagement terms of law firms do not provide a framework for these outcomes - you have tell your firms what you expect from them. 

GLS Guidelines for External Legal Counsel™

This vital policy asset has distilled 1000s of man-hours from some of the world’s best in-house and private practice lawyers into a policy based tool that:

provides a robust framework for strong & strategic relationships with outside counsel that focuses on "value creation";

offers the latest thinking in tools & techniques to better "performance manage" external counsel;

has been used by some of the world’s biggest MNCs to reduce their spend on external counsel whilst upskilling their internal legal team; and

is very easy to implement - as it just makes sense. 

3) Transform your team to New Law

Hot off the heels of Resolutions No. 1 & 2, is the desire to transform the IHL team into a more productive, agile, responsive and performance assured legal function. 

Historically, most IHL teams have been too busy to make themselves less busy - however delaying such team transformation can no longer be justified.

Developing an In-House Legal Team Efficiency Strategy can be an intimidating process and involves considerable personal risk for any Heads of Legal making such decisions. 

RPLV: Decision Making Framework 

IHLs need a simple, effective and easy-to-implement strategy over which they can exert maximum control to guide their journey from Old Law to New Law.

GLS has developed its "RPLV" decision-making framework to help guide your IHL team from Old Law to New Law - and it is available:

HERE for you to read; and

HERE as a webinar presentation. 

RPLV places IHL decision-making into a strategic transformation context allowing for effective resource optimisation steps to be identified, and missteps to be avoided.

4) Improve internal client satisfaction

Many internal clients expect miracles from the IHL team - frequently without themselves having a clear understanding of the support they require.

The volume and spontaneity of internal client requests is frequently challenging - but incomplete/incoherent requests missing key background information amplifies those challenges.

It's time to fix those “Bad Instructions” that increase the time taken to respond, raise legal and commercial risk and make for a fraught relationship with non-legal teams.

GLS Legal Services Request Form™

Simplicity is the antidote to complexity. Always.

This tool helps you receive complete and accurate instructions from your business on every matter requiring internal legal team support.

IHLs utilising this tool:

receive fewer “half-baked” support requests from the business;

deliver faster turnaround times;

have an effective basis for KPI reporting; and

improve internal client relationships.

5) Better manage the unpredictable 

IHL teams are routinely asked to shoulder greater responsibilities and manage additional workloads (typically on short notice) that surpass available capabilities & capacity. 

As increasing headcount is rarely an option, nor necessarily always the best option, the workloads of existing teams place increasing strain on overall team performance.  

Finite resources can only be stretched so far before something gives.

GLS Manpower™ - access help in around 3 minutes

GLS Manpower™ can give you access to an extra set of lawyer hands or a particular form of legal expertise, in around 3 minutes.  

Not only can you mobilise world class lawyers to join your team in minutes - you can do so for assignments as short as 4 hours, and at rates as low as US$129 p/h.

GLS Manpower™ is the only flexible resourcing option globally that delivers you such fast, high quality and affordable support. 

6) Produce necessary templates & policies 

Creating sorely needed contract & policy assets has been on your “to do” list for months - if not years if you are the typical IHL team.  

We all know though that your day-job is already full and that you really don’t want to spend your evenings/weekends drafting new contract templates and internal policies. 

GLS Legal Docs™

GLS has done the hard work for you - your team can instantly access the templates & policies they need.

Our online automated, legal-doc creation software means that world-class versions of most "BAU" contracts & policies can be produced in <5min, at prices you cannot ignore.

7) Explore how Legal Tech can help 

You have read all the headlines about how legal tech is the future, but you are yet to make sense of it all, let alone try it. 

You have heard about how A.I. might be able to help with contract reviews, but you have little experience of it and little budget to spend on it.

GLS LegalSifter

GLS LegalSifter is one of the most effective A.I. powered contract review solutions available on the market today.

As importantly, it is also one of the most affordable solutions and within easy reach of most legal teams.

You can try it for yourself for 2 weeks, with no commitment and completely cost free.

8) Increase team recognition

Management are increasingly pressuring you to value the worth of your legal department with objective and standardised KPIs.

Recognition feels good - but equally, if you are unable to demonstrate the value your team represents to the business you will struggle to get the resources you need. 

GLS Legal Dept. KPI Manual™

In the new era of empirical performance data, unlike private practice lawyers who point to “billings”, IHLs need to define and track the value they represent to their businesses.

GLS Legal Dept. KPI Manual™ helps you measure, demonstrate and appraise IHL team performance by reference to its contributions to the overall business.

This resource provides an introduction and overview of common KPIs, developed for the specific purpose of appraising IHL team performance against defined metrics.

9) Develop a single, organisation wide "contracting" policy

You do not have a single policy asset that informs your business on the safe & desired parameters within which third party contracting can occur. 

Having a single unified basis upon which you contract with third parties just makes sense - but so far it has eluded your business. 

GLS Contracting Policy™

This tool develops an aligned view of your business's contracting policy - making better, faster, cheaper and safer contracting possible.

No single resource is more important to drive "total contracting infrastructure" efficiency.

Creating this vital policy asset is an absolute must for every IHL team.

10) Make a Playbook

You want to free yourself from the “basic / often repeated” legal queries, to free up your capacity, and to focus on making genuinely strategic contributions.

So you want to empower both lawyers and non-lawyers in your business to negotiate contracts to a higher standard, without them having to ask you questions every 5min...

GLS Playbook™

This is a game changing contracting support tool that drives leveraged performance.

It instantly equips your contract negotiators (regardless of their level of experience) with a world class knowledge of:

how each key clause works;

how to negotiate each element of each clause;

the arguments likely to be raised by the counterparty;

how to respond to known counterparty issues; and

much more.

 

If you don't want your IHL team to start next year with the same list - please let the GLS Group support your transformation now.

Welcome to Global Legal Solutions

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Legal Operations Essentials: The Legal Services Request Form

The gatekeeper to effective in-house legal function transformation

15 mins • 04 Feb 22

Panic button on wall plate with speaker and two status indicators, isolated on white

Legal Operations Essentials: The Legal Services Request Form

The gatekeeper to an effectively run legal department

15 minutes • 04 Feb 22

Panic button on wall plate with speaker and two status indicators, isolated on white

Transforming an in-house legal function involves constantly “improving what you do”, yet too few in-house lawyers spend time analyzing the workflows they support in a bid to improve their strategic planning and performance.

Legal Service Request Forms (“LSRF”) – the basis upon which you take instructions from your business – are one of the most potent “efficiency” enablers available to all legal departments and a key tool for effective legal team management.

The LSRF is not just a shield to protect the legal team against “garbage in and garbage out’ legal instructions from your client, it can be uniquely tasked to generate powerful data analytics to help support and optimize your in house legal team decision making.

Far too many IHLs are not taking advantage of this simple legal ops tool that could substantially improve their performance data based insights and decision making, despite the tool being free to implement.

This blog explores the:

  • detriments that an in-house legal team will face if it is not using a legal services request form as the key basis upon which it takes instructions from its internal clients;
  • important the role of the LSRF to in-house legal team transformation process; and
  • how quick and easy it is for a legal team to implement a legal services request form protocol.

So, lets explore this powerful legal ops essential tool - the LSRF.

GLS Legal Ops Insight: Legal data analytics drives optimized legal team performance

You may find yourself constantly servicing client support requests, leaving little time to strategize how to make your in-house legal team more efficient.

Legal function optimization requires strategic, potent and data driven interventions to maximize the productivity of finite resources typically available to corporate counsel and to evidence underlying legal dept. function value.

The legal transformation process starts by building up a crystal-clear picture of what the business:

1. expects you to do (i.e. your domain responsibility); and

2. is actually requesting you to do on a day to day basis.

Whilst we cover “domain responsibility” in our blog Legal Ops Tools: The Legal Department Services Charter, the ability to identify precisely what you are doing for the business is critical.

Understanding your legal teams workload should never be a matter of speculation and recollection, or adversely impacted by recency bias - it should be based solely based on legal ops data analytics. And, you do not need a dedicated legal operations manager to provide this data to you.

By using the simple LSRF, every legal department can very efficiently build up a detailed view of its legal workflow demographics - whether day-to-day, seasonable and/or special project based.

Before offering tips on the incredible efficiencies and insights that LSRF enabled client engagement brings, lets quickly revisit the price that your legal department may well be paying for not having put a LSRF in place.

GLS Legal Ops Insight #2: Legal teams that do not use an LSRF are running blind

Legal teams that do not utilize an LSRF-based protocol for taking instructions from their business, are likely to face some, if not all, of the following challenges and suffer the resulting diminished legal team performance:

• Legal Instruction Quality: incomplete, low quality instructions that you spend valuable time clarifying

• Workflow Allocation: difficulties to more efficiently leverage optimal work type / SLA priorities

• Legal Team Responsiveness: reduced ability to build capacity to respond to urgent matters

• Legal Dept. Forecasting: difficulties to effectively forecast workflows/man-hour support requirements

• Legal Resource identification: reduced ability to assess and forecast team skill/resource requirements

• Self Help Resources: difficulties to drive internal client users towards self-help resources

• Legal Resource Stretch: chronic resource stretch and consequently low team morale

• Internal Client Satisfaction: generally lower than desired internal client satisfaction levels

 Legal Team Transformation obstacles: limited collection of data to author/ justify your transformation agenda

Without LSRFs, legal work requests arrive via a deluge of emails, WhatsApp's, voice mails, corridor conversations, etc., which are typically late, short on detail, and require significant clarification.

Most likely, you mobilize on the basis of a mix of FIFO and “oiling the wheel that squeaks the loudest” – creating manic operating conditions, where you are always busy but always on the back foot.

This operating model no longer “cuts it” – either for you, or for your internal client. Being too busy to become less busy is not sustainable.

So, how can the LSRF help?

Legal Ops Insight #3: A simple LSRF can unlocks significant legal team management efficiencies

Here are just a few of the benefits of implementing a LSRF into your legal ecosystem:

• Quality Instructions: a dramatic boost in the quality of your legal team instructions - work type priorities can be established and assigned

• Legal Team Productivity: more impactful use of legal team capacity as less time is spent clarifying instructions

• Powerful data analytics: data driven insights on fundamental team performance data rapidly emerge (work type, volume, client usage behavior, number of instructions, including per lawyer, etc.)

• Enhanced KPI Reporting: the ability to meaningfully report against basic legal team performance KPIs ... and to add on more detailed data requests into your LSRF going forward

• Legal Team Resourcing: data driven insights into future resourcing requirements of the team

• Formative Legal Advice: asking the correct questions early delivers more effective advisory outcomes

• Legal Tech Automation: potential to automate the instruction process (eg host on intranet)

• Workflow Centralization: all instructions are received via the same “ingress” point, enabling effective oversight even if you are operating a de-centralized legal team model

• Team Skill Tasking: greater scope to match tasks to team capabilities and work loads

• Workload Prioritization: data analysis starts to drive your ability to more efficiently prioritize work tasks

• Resource Forecasting: greater data on work type & capacity forecasting allowing to make data backed resourcing decisions

• Legal Data Analytics Insights: IHLs can better understand and respond to workflow/busyness patterns - e.g. - seasonable busy periods, training and development and knowledge management needs, etc.

• Validation: ability to objectively demonstrate IHL’s contributions via empirical data

• Transparency: clearer insights into each team member’s workloads

• Budgeting Justification: legal budget requests can increasingly be supported by hard data boosting the validity of the general counsels budgetary request

• IHL Relief: IHLs gain respite from the pressures of ad-hoc/low quality support requests

• Standard Definition: establishing a LSRF helps you think about defining IHL SLAs

• Customer Services: LSRF promotes an internal customer service mentality

• Saves Client Time: the internal client knows exactly what is needed to mobilize IHLs

• Improved Quality: better instruction inputs drives better IHL support outputs

• IHL Morale: is improved as workflows/contributions become matters that can be reported

• Client Satisfaction: internal clients are reassured about improving team service

In short, the case for implementing the LSRF is as overwhelming if you want to achieve greater legal team efficiencies and/or start to introduce your own legal operations function.

Legal Ops Insight #4: An LSRF can is simple to produce

Let’s now look at the essential elements that should go into a basic LSRF deployment

 

“An effective LSRF delivers a quality instruction that allows IHLs to efficiently mobilize whilst generating valuable legal operations data to drive ongoing legal function improvements.”

The LSRF data included by organizations may differ, but at a minimum it must allow that organization, in its own unique way, to achieve the above stated outcomes at a pace their organization can handle.

At a bare minimum, the LSRF (for non-litigation instructions) should include the following data points:

  • Client: who is the underlying client requesting support (eg business unit)
  • Contact: who to contact in connection with the instruction
  • Deliverable(s): what specific deliverables are being sought
  • Parties: ID and contact details of any counterparties
  • Background: essential background information
  • Documentation: attach all relevant documentation
  • Deadline: a realistic date by when a response is required
  • Red Flags: any instruction related sensitivities to be observed

Obviously, the more data you capture at the point of instruction the more legal ops insights/efficiencies can be derived. However, the maturity of your internal client will positively correlate with LSRF sophistication.

The LSRF can reside on any number of effective mediums – whether an intranet portal, Microsoft Form, Spring CM task card or simple Word Doc - but in all cases it should create an e-record.

Enabling LSRF’s via “e-forms” is critical to compressing the time internal clients spend generating instructions - the use of checklists, drop-down menus also help drive the precision of the instruction.

Legal Ops Insight #5: Far too many in-house legal teams are not using a legal services request form

We observe that over 80% of in-house legal team are not regularly using a formal LSRF process.

Given that LSRFs can be so effective, why aren’t more IHLs adopting them?

Some oft-cited reasons for not adopting such tools include:

• Overlooked: many legal functions perpetuate existing practices so may not have thought of it

• Culture Change: the client will see this as an additional burden (they always say that!)

• Lack of Time: you need to stop, think and prepare the LSRF – this does take time

• Reference Models: what should the LSRF actually look like?

• Data Capture: how much is too little or too much instruction related data to be requesting?

 Skepticism: skepticism that such a tool can be formulated and deliver substantive benefits

The reality is that all IHLs want better quality instructions and all IHLs are under pressure to perform more productively.

So the above excuses no longer represent good reasons for not implementing your own LSRF.

Legal Ops Insight #5: A ready to go LSRF is available from the GLS Legal Operations

GLS has developed a world class, fully worked up suite of “off the shelf” LSRF’s that IHLs can quickly customize and implement into their business environment, all for just USD99.

GLS Legal Services Request Form™ includes both a basic and an advanced LSRF allowing you to simply select what is most suitable for you and your unique organization.

This solution allows you to instantly and qualitatively improve your business’s engagement process, make better use of your limited available resources and improve your legal team's outputs.

This solution will allow you to better track, record and report inbound instructions for legal support, thereby capturing important data for budget defenses / transformation agenda advocacy.

Critically, our solution allows you to implement a vital enabler for IHL transformation – the ability to generate performance data to take greater control over your future.

And, as with all GLS solutions, this tool includes guidance and support on how to effectively implement it into your business ecosystem (including change management guidance).

Legal Ops Insight #6: You cannot afford be without an LSRF

If you do not know precisely what work your IHL team is doing then nobody else in your organization will either - compounding the chronic low value recognition profile of most IHLs.

Spending USD99 and a tiny amount of time to implement a Legal Service Request Form should be a “no brainer” for any serious legal operations transformation agenda.

Your LSRF will empower your legal team with data driven insights that will significantly increase legal team management efficiencies, and will be a vital cornerstone of your legal operations function agenda.

The GLS Legal Services Request Form™ and all necessary guidance on how to implement it, is now instantly available to you - you can obtain your LSRF from the GLS Legal Operations Centre.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Legal Ops: Deploying an agile resourcing strategy for legal professionals

Headcount restrictions SHOULD NOT deny you access to Legal Dept. Talent

15 mins • 05 Dec 21

legal document template library Singapore

The resourcing of legal departments traditionally centered around full-time staff and more recently in limited instances, part-time lawyers – (onsite lawyers weren't typically available in fractional quantities).

While legal personnel remains the most potent of all legal dept. resources - it also is an expensive resource category that historically has not been easy to mobilize or scale to meet variable and strategic needs.

While a number of prominent “flexible” legal resourcing providers have emerged, they typically only serve Big Law clientele on longish term mandates at expensive rates whilst offering little strategic agility.

Reliable access to strategically agile and dynamic legal personnel resources is now an accepted tenet of “new law” operations – as no static team can do it all, all the time.

In this white paper, we analyze the criticality of legal personnel, historic mobilization challenges, and now, just how easy it is for your legal team to deploy strategically agile legal personnel resourcing. 

Access world-class legal department talent in 3 min - GLS Legal Manpower™

GLS ISSUE INSIGHT

A good in-house team gets things done, communicates, makes peace, offers insights, leads, inspires, spreads calm, reads & recalls everything, picks its battles, takes risks, and retains its personality.

Traditionally, the response of the traditional in-house lawyer ("IHL") to increased workflows has been to seek out extra “legal hands” – which makes sense unless you need a bulldozer for 5 min rather than a lot of people with shovels for years...

Sadly, a significant number of GCs still maintain a relatively fixed view of legal personnel resourcing models.

Such models are increasingly outdated and preventative of legal function optimization and transformation.

Whilst most GCs agree that IHLs are increasingly challenged by highly volatile demand for both capacity and capability, many still maintain a very static talent bench - a structural legacy from their law firm days.

The net result is, as we all know, a systemic condition where IHL teams are chronically overworked, forced to outsource work unnecessarily, and generally fail to be as responsive as the business would like.

While personnel potency can be enhanced via legal transformation (i.e. lawyers + legal tech), our macro focus here is on how businesses can deploy more agile and scalable legal resourcing strategies.

Relaxing the fixed view of legal talent management can be key to departmental transformation – as has been well demonstrated in many other specialist business departments.

Let’s take a look at the IT Department:

Many CIO functions will reserve around 30% of their overall “head count” budget to bring in “contingent talent". This is seen as critical, as it allows for more agile and dynamic responses to business needs.

IHLs have in part used this model via law firm secondees, but typically only for major project/overflow scenarios and not as a more permanent means of meeting the more strategic requirements of the team.

Traditionally, it has been very difficult for IHLs to deploy a dynamic, agile, and scalable legal personnel strategy due to the myriad of associated challenges in building and deploying the same.

Let’s now examine these challenges:

LEGAL PERSONNEL OPTIMISATION OBSTACLES

Legal personnel resourcing was recently described by one of our new GC-level clients as the

“Alpha Romeo of the legal resource world – expensive, everyone wants one, but hard to keep on the road..."

Whilst many in the profession might not appreciate the comparison with a sports car of questionable reliability, this GC was using humor to acknowledge the perennial challenges of legal resourcing.

Looking through the lens of the IHL ecosystem, the challenges associated with this category of IHL resource, over and beyond strict headcount restrictions that most organizations face, include:

Lead Time: it generally takes a significant lead time to hire and integrate new recruits
Culture: getting the right fit for a team is a massive hiring challenge
Recruitment Cost: using recruitment firms is hugely expensive
Attractiveness: the budgets of many businesses don’t extend to attracting the very best legal talent
Pressurised: the IHL context is increasingly pressurized as workflow outstrips IHL capacity
Retention: IHL retention rates are moving increasingly towards that of private practice
Motivation: progression and remuneration pathways are far more limited than in private practice
Knowledge: no lawyer knows everything and what he/she knows is always a subset of the organization’s needs
Scalability: it is tough to scale a lawyer, often “1 lawyer only equals 1 hour
Full Cost: traditionally you could not access a fraction of a lawyer
Location: many IHLs are limited to a particular physical location
Shortages: there is a big shortage of 3-5 PQE lawyers, the point where value and price are thought to best co-exist
Reluctance: rarely are probation exit rights exercised, even in the face of early negative performance
Morale: until you get the personnel strategy right, team morale typically takes a hit

Yet, despite all of these issues, the criticality of legal department personnel remains unquestioned - and rightly so.

In light of the above, it is not difficult to see why developing a strategically agile, potent, focused, scalable, and cost-effective legal personnel strategy has proved so elusive.

Until recently, the 3 ways you could address your legal personnel requirements were as follows:

Direct Hires

See the above challenges of direct hires – the process is frequently neither easy nor quick, even if you don’t suffer from headcount restrictions.

Even with great due diligence and significant effort, the risk of bad/mediocre hires remains significant.

Your Panel Law Firm

If your corporate law department was big enough and you had a panel-type system in place, you could request a secondee.

However, law firms don’t like to fill short-term secondments and if they do so, it is with the expectation of future work. There is also a difficult post-secondment transition, as the secondee’s costs can change from a stable wage to nearly $600+ per hour overnight.

One small detail - the majority of the world's businesses do not have "panels".

Big Law Body Shops

Many legal personnel resourcing platforms do offer "flexible resources", but such platforms are typically only accessible by "Big Law" type clients.

They have a minimum duration of engagement (typically 3 weeks), can cost more than law firms, and take time to mobilize.

If you are the 5% of businesses that make up Big Law’s client base, then this might be attractive – but it does not deliver strategic agility to most businesses.

None of these options offer real respite to the deluge of, frequently short-notice, need for skills or capacities required to enable business needs and to keep your internal team focused on strategic matters.

Like cholesterol clogging up veins over time – every micro-support requirement that goes unmet adds pressure to the capacity and morale within your IHL team and taxes overall operating performance.

Fortunately the GLS Group, through a combination of blue-chip talent, superior business process, and technology, enables you to turn legal personnel resourcing into a powerfully strategic and agile tool.

“GLS can give you access to world-class
in-house legal personnel in as little as 3 minutes, for
assignments as small as 4 hours, at a cost likely to be
less than your own full-time staff… all done online.”

THE GLS SOLUTION

GLS Legal Manpower™ gives you near instantaneous access to the legal personnel you need to become a better legal team - whether for overflow scenarios or more strategic department transformations.

Any IHL team can now instantly and disruptively (in terms of accessibility, usability, and price) meet their legal personnel requirements in a strategically agile way characterized by:

Speed: you can access our lawyers in as little as 3 minutes
Choice: choose from GCs, Senior & Junior Counsel, Contract Managers, Legal Operations & Paralegals
Skills: a diverse range of skills, including specialist in-house skills, legal tech, and legal operations
Transformation: you can access the talent that enables the transformation of your legal function
Supported: our personnel operate from a global platform dedicated to legal operations and come to you with that perspective - they represent far more than just a warm body
Tools: our personnel have access to many of the 273+ productivity tools in the GLS Legal Operations Centre, to make them more effective in your service
Onsite/Offsite: our personnel are available both remotely and onsite in 23+ countries 
Burst Capacity: whether you need 1 hour of lawyering or 100 hours of lawyering in 1 hour
Micro Projects: our lawyers are near instantly available for projects as small as 4 hours - a totally new market option
Mega Projects: major cross border teams can be assembled in record time
Experience: most of our lawyers have 5+ years’ experience
Simplicity: you can submit a work request online, and in under 2 minutes
Location: our personnel are available globally - whether you need them onsite, offsite or both
Pricing: our lawyers are likely to cost less than the fully loaded cost of your own IHLs 
Interchangeable: we will replace any of our lawyers for any reason to ensure the right fit
Poachable: if you really want to hire our lawyers – ask them nicely – we do not obstruct this
No strings: unlike law firms, there are no expectations attached 
Continuity: your working relationship with our lawyers can continue as long as you like

GLS Legal Manpower™ gives you access to the legal personnel you need, when you need them – allowing you to deliver a strategic, agile, and potent legal personnel strategy and circumvent historic challenges.

By building a strategically agile component into your legal personnel resourcing strategy, your IHL team will be better able to progress effectively through the transformation process as seen below:

CONCLUSION 

Whilst most GCs believe in the case for transformation, less than 25% of IHL teams have actually begun that journey.

Legal personnel are a vital category of legal resources and will remain so forever. However, numerous traditional obstacles have prevented them from being available as a strategically agile resourcing category.

Through GLS Legal Manpower™ those obstacles are removed and with that, IHL teams are presented with a quick transformation "win" – and an easy shift to strategic, agile, and potent resourcing.

GLS Legal Manpower™ gives you the opportunity to empower your legal personnel strategy into a realm where agile resourcing extends well beyond filling “operational gaps" and becomes core to strategic needs.

Most businesses globally can unleash the value contribution of efficient legal personnel resourcing in a zero-fuss manner – they just need to visit the GLS Legal Operations Centre.

GLS Legal Manpower™ gives you fingertip access to world-class in-house legal personnel in as little as 3 minutes, for assignments as small as 4 hours, and at a cost likely to be less than your own full-time staff…

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Legal Ops Essentials: Building Your Case For Legal Team Transformation

2 mins • 01 Dec 21

digital_transformation.jpg

Building Your Case For Legal Team Transformation

Too much work and not enough resources

Every GC we speak with complains of not having enough people, enough money, and/or enough time whilst their workloads are increasing exponentially. It is quite likely that you are no exception.

The case for developing legal operations competency centers around 4 key and irrefutable principles:

Premise 1: IHLs are required to support the growing legal & compliance requirements of businesses.

Premise 2: The resources available to most IHL teams are finite and/or reducing.

Premise 3: The IHL function has traditionally been seen as a “cost center”, which must now justify its existence by reference to its contribution of demonstrable value to the business.

Premise 4: IHLs must now start to speak the “hard numbers” language of the business if they are to attract value recognition and required resourcing.

As obvious as the above may seem, we like to offer another super accessible case for legal operations that is perhaps the easiest of all to digest. It is as follows:

Formula 1 drivers do not wash their own car

“Formula 1 race teams do not ask their drivers (their most expensive team members) to clean the car, check the tyres, tune the engine or transport the car to the next race, etc.”

They want their drivers to focus on their primary responsibilities – driving the car as fast as possible, avoiding accidents, turning in fast lap times, securing pole positions and trying to stay ahead of the pack.

The IHL team is like the F1 race team – it comprises high-performance, expensive, and task-focused team members who have been trained for a specific function.

But unlike the F1 team, IHL teams are often bogged down by tasks that prevent them from focusing on performing in the areas where they are needed most and performing the best.

The sad reality is that IHLs, like most lawyers, are fundamentally helpful people, rarely say “no”, and too frequently agree to take on extra work. In short, many IHLs lose their strategic focus because they are simply
too helpful

We explore the case for legal team transformation through legal ops-led improvement programs in Part C of GLS's Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

How to avoid legal transformation project failure (Part K - GLS’s Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations)

An introduction to Part K - 10 Things That Can Sink Your Legal Operations Agenda (GLS's Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations)

5 mins • 23 Nov 21

train_2.jpg

Protect your legal team transformation project from failure

In this Blog, we share some of the most valuable insights that we can possibly share with the rapidly growing GLS Legal Operations Community - how to protect your transformation project from common risks of failure. This Blog is a “print it off and pin it to your wall” legal ops insight.

In our Blog - The In-house Leader's Leadership Dilemma - we wrote about the high personal price that can potentially attach to in-house leaders if their transformation efforts were to fail. In this piece, we focus on effective strategies that in-house leaders can deploy to mitigate the risks of failure from their legal team transformation plans. 

The recommendations in this Blog, if implemented, can help spare you and your legal team from the high price of project failure - something that can bite personally (on your reputation), impact your team (damaged morale and increased churn) and cost your business hundreds of thousands (if not millions) in squandered resources and lost productivity. 

A reminder of the price of legal team transformation failure

Failure is not an option. It sounds simple, and we have all heard the expression before. But does it make sense in the legal team transformation context?  

In-house leaders (General Counsel, Chief Legal Officers, Heads of Legal, etc.) do not want to be tarred by the brush of failure. And critically, if your transformation stumbles and falls - whatever limited support you might have could quickly disappear. 

The odds are actually stacked against legal transformation in most organizations. A cynical view? Yes  - but our experience confirms it each and every day. Most internally led and implemented legal team efficiency initiatives fail to deliver. Why?

In truth, most corporate ecosystems are littered with the remains of failed transformation projects (think of the failed HR, ERP, and CRM implementation). 

Internal corporate appetite for transformation initiatives generally remains low in most organizations. It is a job on top of a job for most employees and almost always a move away from the comforts of known ways of doing things - even if they are imperfect. 

Additionally, in the in-house legal space, corporate counsel are generally not considered likely ambassadors for effective change. Lawyers don't necessarily have the historic background as “change” makers.  This is changing of course but it is a pretty good characterization of a reputation well earned by the legal profession over the past 200 years. 

And yet, for those that dare to embrace an incredible opportunity, legal transformation can still readily thrive in spite of the challenging landscape into which it is implemented. One thing that is more predictable than the inertia and apathy of the average corporate ecosystem is the infinite number of fathers willing to claim ownership of a successful son. If you can demonstrate success after success you will be very popular indeed.  

The answer, therefore, is that legal transformation can only be successfully pursued if you aggressively and obsessively pursue a “guaranteed to succeed” implementation strategy. And this means ruling out any and all obstacles that might negatively impact your program. 

Let's quickly look at a major cause of legal team transformation failure - i.e. “you”. That is a version of “you” that thinks that what you currently know is all that you need to know to get the job done right.  

DIY legal team transformation - inherently risky

There is a significant inherent risk in presiding over your own legal team transformation - that is, defining it and implementing it all by yourself without an active strategy to access the skills, support, resources, methodologies, and experience that you need to succeed.

Board support for transformation obtained - well done!

Consider the following: your Board now supports your case for legal transformation - congratulations. You have made a powerful case for a legal transformation program that better aligns the legal team with the objectives of the business - the Board is now determined to see it succeed. They now want to find the very best person to lead this job.

Let's look at this challenge through the eyes of what is best for the business - a lens through which your legal team needs to be looking each and every day. What do you see?  

Perspective: you are now on the Board of your business. Your persuasive legal team leader (i.e. the other you) has finally convinced the Board that the legal team is very much in need of transformation so as to support the strategic needs of the business. You (as a Board Member) now need to consider who is best placed to lead this initiative so that it has the best prospects of success - whether that be an internal or external resource. 

You (as a Board Member) start working up a list of credentials that you believe would be needed for the transformation program to succeed. Take a look at the criteria below and, as a Board Member, consider whether you disagree with the inclusion of any of these criteria from your leadership job spec. After all - given the importance of this project to the business - would you want to skimp on any qualifications and criteria in the leadership of this program?

Head of Legal Team Transformation - could that really be an “as-is” version of you?

If you wanted the best person for a critical task - your head of operations/transformation program job description might read a little bit like this:

"We are seeking an outstanding professional to lead our legal team as it transforms into a world-class team that positively supports the realization of our Company's corporate objectives in a business-enabling, safe and efficient manner.

The ideal candidate will be able to lead our transformation into a legal team where our legal team members are motivated to perform at the highest levels and in an environment that achieves operational excellence and exceptional legal team efficiency each day through optimized operating practices that, in turn, delivers greater capacity to our legal team to focus on the strategic support needs of our business. 

We are looking for a candidate that has the following attributes - lets us know if you meet our requirements - which we do not want to compromise on - as we all know how very important the legal function is to our business." 

  • Solution Landscape Familiarity: Familiar with best-in-class current legal services solutions landscape
  • Legal Process Management: Expert in legal process management
  • Legal Operations Expertise: Knowledge and competency in legal operations management - director of operations experience highly desirable
  • Legal Technology Expertise: Deep industry-wide legal tech knowledge expertise
  • Change Management Credentials: Proven success in change management
  • Digital transformation: Experience formulating a digital transformation strategy for the legal function
  • Vendor Management Track Record: a proven track record of value generation with strategic vendors, including law firms
  • Transformation Track Record: Strong record of successful implementations - case studies of prior success required
  • Available Workload Capacity: Actually has the capacity to devote to the project
  • Data Analytics Expertise: Expert in data capture,  interpretation, and data-led decision making
  • Business Process Engineering: Knowledgeable in business process engineering and optimization
  • Excellent Communication Skills: Proven communication skills
  • Proven Implementation skills: Acknowledged as a successful “implementor” of internal projects
  • Strong Internal Stakeholder Support: Strong stakeholder support - Board, Finance, IT, Compliance, Risk, etc
  • Motivated Internal Team: Ability to generate enthusiastic and motivated support from the existing legal team that currently faces significant capacity constraints
  • Systems Integration Expertise: Proven competencies in systems mapping and integration
  • Technology Approval Authority: Ability to define legal tech solutions, secure budget, and implement
  • Proven Budgetary Skills: Strong track record in productivity yield from available budgets and financial management generally
  • Knowledge Management Expertise: Expert in knowledge leverage strategies as evidenced by current/proven knowledge outcomes
  • Internal Client Champion: Proven to command respect and support from internal clients
  • Strategic Planning: Strong record for effective strategic planning
  • Data Driven: Established track record of data-driven decision-making and planning
  • Legal Dept. Tool Success: Strong experience in developing, implementing, and using legal department technology solutions
  • Client/Customer Experience Centric: Able to deliver a strong client-centric focus to legal service delivery strategies
  • Cross Functional Collaborator: Proven success at cross-function collaboration
  • Academic Qualifications: Bachelor of Applied Science, Management, Computer Science or similar
  • Minimum Experience: At least 5+ years of proven experience in legal operations. Current admission to a recognized bar and past experience in legal practice is also highly desirable.

Do you fit the transformation leader job description?

Now - please switch roles - one final time - you are no longer a Board Member - you are in fact you in your present role. As awesome as you are - how strong would your application for this role be? Do you have the capabilities and the capacity to perform this role in addition to your current role as functional head of the legal team? 

"And that is the inherent risk of self-authored and self-delivered legal transformation projects." 

Not that you are not, in fact, great at what you do - but what needs to be done involves a diverse range of skill sets that you might not have despite historically having been at the top of your game. It also requires precious time for you to focus and dedicate solely to the task at hand. 

And this is also why so many internally defined and led and implemented transformation projects end in failure or simply fail to get off the ground in the first place. 

Avoiding common causes of legal team performance project failures

Having supported so many in-house legal team transformations we have gained great visibility as to where the “potholes” can typically be expected to be – we wish to share this knowledge with you.

Here are 10 things that can sink your legal team transformation program:

  1. Shiny Boxes: there is no single shiny box solution for a legal team/department transformation - if someone offers you this - run!
  2. Institutional Inertia: it is a real thing - you need strategies to combat it
  3. Big Bangs: never attempt a Big Bang implementation. Instant failure. No chance of success.
  4. Myopic Technology Focus: focus on a solution design that doesn't require technology first - seriously! Tech should always come later.
  5. GC Only Initiatives: heads of Legal - get the heck out of the road and let your team help. You are likely the least qualified person to lead the program. Involve your juniors.
  6. Aggressive timelines: transformation cannot be rushed - the end. It takes 2 years as a minimum.
  7. Pass & Proceed: only do the next thing if you were successful with the previous thing
  8. Budget: don't be fooled - you don't need a massive budget to transform - budget is not a reason for inactivity
  9. Formative Stations: do not ignore legal team infrastructure components that have the effect of determining overall function capabilities (See Part F of the GLS Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations for more on this)
  10. Ignoring Data: do not ignore data capture that justifies decision-making and demonstrates your success

Each of these themes is unpacked in far more detail in Part K of the GLS Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations which is available as a complimentary download. 

Part K of the GLS Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations examines in detail how to avoid legal team/department transformation project failure and is available to download as a standalone chapter here:

 

Or you can download the entire interactive version of the GLS Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations here. 

Beware consultant-led and delivered programs

Be under no illusions, this Blog is not advocating that the internal team should strike transformation from their agenda. Far from it. A legal team that does not substantially self-author and actively participate in the transformation project is just as likely to encounter project failure. 

The secret to success lies between the two extremes and doing what lawyers do best - which is being lawyers. 

Despite being terribly placed to oversee a legal team transformation by reference to vocational experience - lawyers are outstanding in acquiring massive amounts of information quickly. 

So, in-house legal team leaders need to obtain the information they need to tool up in transformation knowledge as quickly as possible - you are on that path by reviewing this Blog and utilizing the vast array of resources that GLS offers to the GLS Legal Operations Community (see more below).

And, you must obtain potent support on the things that truly matter on your project and/or where you simply do not have the capacity and/or expertise. 

A fundamental truth as you seek optimal legal team efficiency

If you have not managed to review our video introduction to the GLS Legal Operations Centre you can do so below. In that video we sought to define our proposition as succinctly and genuinely as we could. The leadership of GLS Group agonized over the script until we got it just right. 

There is one line in particular which we  want to share with you as it is a powerful message in support of the theme of this Blog - how to avoid failure. The line goes like this. 

At its heart is a fundamental truth. To achieve anything truly great, some tasks require the help of others. And this is what we do at GLS - we collaborate with you so that you can achieve successful results. 

Watch our introduction to the GLS Legal Operations Centre here - it is a perfect introduction to our core offering and goes for less than 90 seconds. We hope you love it as much as we do. 

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

 

back

Back

Legal Ops Essentials: 20 Tips to help you successfully implement your legal team transformation plan

5 mins • 23 Nov 21

hints & tips

20 Tips for the Successful Implementations of Legal Dept. Transformation Plans

In this Blog, we share with you 20 powerful tips on how to increase the chances of success of your transformation program – all derived from GLS’s 10+ years of client transformation implementations. 
 

1. Quick Wins First: 

Every organization is filled with failed transformation initiatives. So, if you want your transformation agenda to succeed, it is incumbent upon you to deliver an extended string of successful initiatives straight away. Success is the ultimate driver of transformation success, and you must deliver successful results from day 1.

2. Modular Implementation: 

Break down each initiative into small, interconnected, but self-contained modules. Focusing on modular implementation increases strategic focus and massively reduces implementation risk.

3. Continuum of Implementation: 

As far as possible, there must be a direct nexus between each initiative that you implement. You should not flutter between a variety of disparate initiatives. Each initiative should be logically, physically, and chronologically connected – this is essential to ensure strategic focus and maintain project momentum.

4. Pass-and-Proceed Methodology: 

Your implementation plan should only progress to a new phase after the current phase has been successfully completed. Not only is this good project management, but it also builds vital momentum and program credibility – whilst keeping your work focused. 

5. Avoid Long Shots: 

Don’t ever seek to implement an initiative that has a difficult implementation risk profile – certainly not in the first year of your transformation. Low-risk implementations allow you to build up a proven record of implementation success– which will be essential if you ever want to take on more complex transformation initiatives.

6. Low-Tech Focus: 

There is no single “high-tech solution” for a legal department that doesn’t require you to define the rules by which your legal team works. So start your transformation program with the production of policies, checklists, approval protocols, etc. – these are “low-tech” initiatives that are low cost and low risk but have powerful effects on department productivity. Always get these right first – before moving on to high-tech programs.

7. Measurable Initiatives: 

As far as possible, you should focus on initiatives where you can build up an objective, empirical picture of “before” and “after” performance levels. You want your business to know that your transformation was a success – so it is incumbent upon you to capture and report “hard data” that demonstrates the success that was actually achieved.

8. Maintain Workflow Nexus: 

Transformation initiatives that have a direct nexus to the workflows that the legal team is currently required to support enjoy greater success rates. Almost all legal teams are already working at full capacity – so tasking them on “unrelated” assignments can create unmanageable workloads (and resentment).

9. No Major IT Implementations: 

This is a golden rule – there should be no major IT implementation (e.g. core systems) during the first year of your transformation program. Major IT deployments are a sign of “buy-solution-itus” –an affliction that many MNCs contract thinking they can spend their way through legal-tech-led transformation. It never works and is usually incredibly expensive. – This rule does not apply if your Current State Audit confirms that you already have all of your “low-tech initiatives” properly implemented/in place.

10. Stakeholder Delivery: 

You must 100% deliver the strategic initiatives that your key stakeholders are most attached to. If you want their ongoing support, you must deliver their “pet projects” – even if those might not be the most obvious/logical projects. “Victory” here is not the initiative itself – but the stakeholder’s ongoing support.

11. Low-Hanging Fruit:

Whilst these should not be your exclusive focus– it is important to address “low-hanging fruit” projects both initially and at key transition points during the transformation. You want your program to start with and then continue to share “successful” implementation results on a constant basis.

12. Drive User Uptake:

Implementation success is not in itself the “goal” –massive user uptake of the relevant initiative is the goal. Upgraded and newly entrenched behavior is what you are looking to achieve, and your implementation must encourage this. E.g. don’t implement something that only a handful of your most tech-savvy colleagues can operate – encourage its widespread use!

13. Build Increasing Momentum: 

You must create a “growing wave” effect within your transformation program – the bigger the wave the more it can carry. It is critical that the initial momentum that a correct program launch creates is maintained throughout the program. E.g. by the strategically scheduled implementations of “low-hanging fruit” initiatives. Continuously build on that momentum throughout the program. The bottom line is that momentum means transformations get completed.

14. Program Management:  

Establishing a good program management team (“PMT”) is vitally important. This is especially true for larger legal departments and larger transformation programs. Ensure that your PMT includes/can access the following skill sets: strategic transformation experience, legal operations expertise, young/millennial lawyers, paralegal support, and some administrative capacity. The PMT should be driving all initiatives and demand accountability whilst positively incentivizing performance.

15. 100-Day Focus: 

From Day 1 of your transformation program, and for every day thereafter, you should be focusing on a rolling “100-Day Plan”. The 100-Day plan is an effective way of ensuring that you remain task and output-focused. It is also a very effective means of ensuring constant productivity over programs that can take years (if ever) to complete.

16. Pre-Mobilisation Activity: 

It is vital to build momentum prior to the “official launch” of your transformation program. This period is about focussing on stakeholder mobilization and engagement, formalizing program management, early starts on “low-hanging fruit” initiatives, and ensuring effective change management communications have been handled. Do not start your program only to have to immediately stall it to do the things that should have already been done!

17. Empower Your Juniors: 

The reality is that junior legal team members are more likely to embrace transformation as it gives them the things they need: mobility, tech, interest, and responsibility. It is a reality that older members of established legal teams may display the most “muted” levels of enthusiasm for the transformation program.

18. Constant RPLV Application: 

Every decision that you make throughout the implementation must involve the continuous application of the principles of Resource.Prioritisation.Leverage.Validation ("RPLV") decision-making. RPVL decision-making will ensure that you make each decision in a strategic framework. Apply RPLV to every single decision that you make during implementation. Click the embedded links to learn more about RPLV Decision Making and to access the GLS RPLV Decison-Making Framework for free.

19. Embrace Dynamic Adjustment: 

As you launch into the implementation phase you can bet your last dollar that you are going to discover things that were not known to you when you were formulating your solution blueprint. This is okay – but what it does mean, especially when applying constant RPLV decision-making, is that certain decisions, priorities, etc. may need to be revisited. This should be viewed as constant optimization – and you must embrace it. Don’t doggedly hold onto the directions set by your initial blueprint.

20. Avoid Known Potholes: 

Obviously, you must avoid known potholes. To do this you can lean on the experiences of those that have conducted transformation programs previously. GLS has published a significant commentary on transformation potholes – in particular – Part K (10 Things That Can Sink Your Legal Operations Agenda) (please click the highlighted link to download).

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Market Intelligence
Technology Demonstration

Visualizing an Optimal In-House Legal Function (Part F - GLS’s Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations)

Interactively explore the anatomy of an optimally performing in-house legal function

5 mins • 23 Nov 21

Your_GLS_Legal_Operations_Transformation@2x_new.png

Legal Ops Essentials: Navigating an optimally performing legal team

Access a vision of what you want your legal team to become

In this Blog, we introduce the global in-house legal counsel community to the most powerful legal department transformation planning tool currently available to assist your move to legal team efficiency.

And good news, it is available for free to the rapidly growing GLS Legal Operations Community to use whenever you like.

Recognizing an optimally performing legal team

The second step of a legal team transformation journey (See our Blog - The 4 Stages of Legal Transformation) requires you to build up a vision of what you would like your legal function to become - your “Desired State”.

Historically, this kind of insight was something that few legal team leaders had any real access to. No one really knew what their in-house colleagues were up to.

For example, whilst a prolific publisher of content - the Association of Corporate Counsel or the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium are yet to provide a detailed view of what an optimally performing in-house legal team looks like.

All of that changes with the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map - our groundbreaking interactive tool - you can now visualize and explore the functional anatomy of an optimized in-house legal department.

No other legal department planning tool comes close to the level of insight that the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map can give you as to the core anatomical features of a high-performance legal team.

The GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map

By working on thousands of transformation projects, GLS has been able to identify 15 critical in-house functions (each an “IHL Line”) that make up an optimally performing IHL.

We have brought the inner details of each of these critical IHL Lines to life for in-house legal teams by creating the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map.

Together these 15 IHL Lines determine the overall performance capability of the in-house legal team. If any of these IHL Lines are afflicted by inefficiency, then, to varying extents, overall legal dept. performance can be adversely impacted.

The 15 IHL Lines that we use as a framework for in-house legal department performance are:

  1. Legal Operations Function: understand the key aspects of a legal operations team and function
  2. Contracting Function: a focus on the contracting function
  3. Human Capital Function: people - a legal team's most important asset
  4. Knowledge Function: leverage knowledge to boost legal team performance
  5. Legal Technology Function: legal tech to leverage legal team processes
  6. General Counsel Function: understand the Head of Legal, Chief Legal Officer, and General Counsel function
  7. Internal Client Function: key dependencies for effective client relationships
  8. Service Provider Function: vendor management infrastructure - especially for law firms
  9. Compliance Function: when it is housed within the legal department
  10. Intellectual Property Function: management of IP function/assets
  11. Managed Services Function: key elements of a successful managed service programs
  12. Corporate Secretarial Function: dealing with the time-intensive corporate grind
  13. Performance Function: the elements of a performance culture for in-house legal services
  14. Data Analytics Function: data-driven business intelligence for the in-house legal community
  15. Disputes Function: infrastructure for dispute management

This proprietary, interactive, online planning tool presents a highly visual and interactive representation of each IHL Line and its associated critical resource elements (each an “IHL Station”).

You can see the essential components that make up each legal team function and how each component and function relates to every other component and function.

In so doing, the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map provides a powerful reference point that can be used to assess your IHL's performance and to blueprint your transformation agenda.

Finally, you can access an overall vantage point of the in-house legal domain to aid your strategic planning of what is actually an incredibly complex business operating environment - something which is rarely fully appreciated.

Supporting transformation planning

The GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map is an essential legal ops planning tool that helps you demystify many of the historic transformation planning challenges that the in-house community has faced.

Specifically, it will help you in the following ways:

  • Holistic Function Overview: delivers an overall view of the entire in-house legal department domain in never before seen detail
  • Function Interrelationship: provides a visual exploration of the interdependencies of key IHL functions
  • Intervention Points: helps you form justified conclusions on when and where to implement transformation initiatives
  • Carbon Elements: help you identify critical legal dept. resources that impact multiple IHL functions and therefore are considered priority legal dept resources
  • Performance Limiters: helps you understand which legal dept. resources are "apex" - in that they determine the overall performance capabilities of one or more functions
  • Team Benchmarking: helps you form a quick view of how your legal team is performing against peer legal departments
  • Legal Ops Mandate: helps you to quickly identify your transformation priorities - even when you do not have a head of legal operations or legal operations manager

Comparing your legal dept's current state (and your proposed transformation plans) with GLS's theoretically optimally performing in-house legal team will help you avoid pursuing wrong directions, being saddled with unnecessary technical debt, or footing the bill for unnecessary initiatives in the future. 

Learn More about the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map

For a more detailed unpack and commentary on how to most effectively use the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map you can download Part F of GLS's Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations here:

Alternatively, we invite you to download the full version of GLS's Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

The In-House Leader’s Leadership Dilemma (Part E - GLS’s Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations)

Legal team transformation creates personal risk for in-house legal team leaders. Explore how this impacts legal team transformation decision making.

5 mins • 22 Nov 21

Dilemma

Legal Ops Lesson: Managing Legal Team Transformation Risk

The In-House Leader's Dilemma - Avoiding Legal Team Transformation Fallout 

 

The risks of legal team leadership

In the GLS Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations, the leading introductory publication on legal team efficiency, we explored the personal dilemma faced by legal team leaders as they consider the personal risks that they might face in relation to a failed or sub-optimal legal team transformation process. 

In today's corporate environment, as much as people may protest to the contrary, one cannot totally divorce potential personal consequences from good corporate decision-making.

The most powerful fuel for corporate change is to align the corporate agenda with the personal agenda of key stakeholders - wherever that is possible. Historically, in the in-house legal sector “alignment of interest” has not always been what we would like it to be.

Legal team transformation projects can carry significant risks 

Transformation projects of every kind have typically carried significant risks of failure - in most cases, for entirely avoidable reasons. Just think about the ERP, CRP, and other restructuring initiatives that your business might have recently been through. 

Unfortunately, in-house legal teams are not historically known for their ability to embrace change. Nothing controversial in that - we would suggest.

However, and more critically, the tools and processes that can actually help legal teams massively improve their performance are not necessarily areas that legal team leadership has had experience in and/or exposure to.

For example, in-house leaders have not always had to be expert in:

  • legal technology pathways
  • data analytics to assess legal team performance
  • legal process improvements and legal process management
  • digital transformation
  • vendor management and supply chain strategies
  • business process engineering
  • legal operations
  • change management, etc.

Add to this - in-house legal departments have typically been amongst the busiest of all departments within any organization as they focus on meeting the huge demand for legal services. This has left little time to master the skills needed for effective transformation.

The net result is quite understandable - in-house leaders, based on historical experience and ways of operating, are arguably not entirely best placed to be the author of an effective legal transformation plan. 

Yet, the responsibility for legal transformation failure can often be placed at the feet of legal team leaders - that is an all too common (and undesirable) part of the corporate culture. 

What this means is that responding to the deafening calls for improved legal team performance via legal transformation - inarguably carries a clear and definitive personal risk factor for in-house leadership.

We believe it would be naïve to consider that the assessment of personal risk by in-house leaders does not influence the decision not to pursue a transformation strategy. Ignoring this would be irrational - and one thing in-house lawyers are not - is irrational.

Personal Risk. Is it preventing legal team transformation?

So, what is the right response for the in-house leadership community to the personal risk associated with transformation? To what extent does the response of in-house leadership account for the fact that less than 20% of in-house legal teams are actively pursuing a transformation agenda? Does it feature at all?

In Part E of the GLS's Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations, we help in-house leaders (General Counsel, Chief Legal Officers, Heads of Legal, etc.) explore this issue in significant detail and try and put the issue in context - you can download Part E by clicking the link below:

Spoiler alert: here are a few conclusions we reached:

  • now more than ever in-house leadership needs to be pursuing effective, low-risk transformation strategies
  • in-house leaders have no choice but to proactively and decisively move forward with their legal team transformation agenda
  • in-house leaders that do not have a legal operations team need to become their own director of operations
  • strategic planning for legal team performance improvement is now a permanent feature of legal team leadership
  • all legal team members must embrace transformation and improvement performance culture
  • developing a legal operations competency is critical - legal ops is here to stay
  • regardless of discomfort levels - legal transformation is the only viable pathway for legal teams who must improve legal team performance

Fortunately, one of the most formidable skills that most lawyers have is the ability to consume and organize vast amounts of information in no time at all. Our job is of course to point the in-house community in the direction of the right information - or even more efficiently - to provide it to you directly.  

Additionally, GLS can guide you and your legal team through not only the personal risk associated with transformation - but every aspect of implementing performance improvement initiatives into at times - inert corporate environments.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

The Benefits of Effective Legal Operations (Part D- GLS’s Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations)

12 mins • 22 Nov 21

Your_GLS_Legal_Operations_Transformation@2x_new.png

The Benefits of Effective Legal Operations

If you have had prior dealings with GLS, you will have heard us say many times that the workload of the in-house legal community is never going to decrease and that the resources made available to in-house teams will never be increased at a commensurate rate. The net result is that in-house lawyers regularly find themselves drinking from the proverbial fire hydrant.

So, what gives? The answer to that is simply how and what you do with the resources that you already have so that you can achieve betters results (i.e. more responsive, better aligned with the business, and ideally at a lower cost), with the legal team resources that you already have. In short, make far better use of what you have, achieve greater results that can ideally be verified through empirical data - and build the value recognition that your business places on the legal team.

All of this is called "legal operations" - the art/skill/management science of achieving far better results with either the same or fewer resources. Fortunately, legal teams globally are increasingly recognizing that turning to "legal ops" is a far more viable strategy than asking for resources that you don't get or complaining about resources that you don't have. Critically, legal ops is a far better strategy than working your in-house team to the point of burnout.

So, in this Blog, we outline the multitude of benefits that a well-organized legal operations agenda can bring to any legal team - no matter their size, or the resources that they have to hand.

Higher-value lawyering

With far too many lawyers routinely working 50+ hour weeks, time is an extremely precious commodity for in-house lawyers. Unfortunately, "time" is also a massively squandered commodity by in-house legal teams.

Far too many times, the in-house lawyers will stay late or work the weekend because they find themselves saying "I will do it myself because ..."

  • it takes too long to ask a law firm;
  • it is too expensive to ask a law firm;
  • XYZ is away so I need to step in;
  • there simply isn't anyone around who can do it;
  • it will probably be quicker if I do it myself.

All of these reasons might make sense in the moment, but there is a significant chance that habitually doing this, as "virtuous" as it may seem, is in fact blunting the strategic focus of your in-house legal team. This kind of resourcing decision is not aligned with the four goals stated in the point above. Moreover, it is simply not your job to eliminate/mitigate them and this is where legal ops can make a significant contribution. Such a resourcing strategy has an extremely limited shelf life - no one wins.

A well-run legal ops function can help provide far better resourcing options that allow you to achieve more of what the business wants you to achieve within your limited time. It keeps your work efforts strategically on point, makes justifiable cases for additional resources, and claws back valuable time that can be better spent.

The value of in-house legal teams is not the hours they put in - but what they achieve during those hours. And, if you are consistently 60+ hours per week, you are not doing yourself, your health, or your family any favors.

Consider this - if your value to the business is in the hours you work - then you are shortly going extinct. With the advent of the internet and remote working models, your business has plenty of options to get non-strategic work done to the same or to a near-enough satisfactory level as you can perform it, but at less than 40% of the cost. For many businesses, this is "good enough" at that price point. So, your value is simply not in the hours you work - it is in the value that you bring.

Reduced cost and improved quality

Legal operations, when done correctly, can rapidly increase the quality of support that a legal team provides to internal clients whilst significantly reducing legal department spending, particularly on external law firms.

Even the most elementary legal operations agenda can strip out significant legal team expenses (both internal and external) whilst boosting the quality of the support provided. For example, the contracting function - by simply implementing a contracting policy that is baked into your legal team templates, reflected in your checklists, calibrated against review processes and protocols, and is the subject of team training can drastically improve the efficiency of the contracting function.

If you want to go even further with minimal expense, augment these upgraded contract function assets with A.I. based contract review services and/or an automated approved clause bank - and the efficiencies are multiplied many-fold. Thousands of hours of potential review/negotiation time can save for a middling-sized legal team - which can easily represent hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings. And all of this should be done before you even think about spending thousands on a contract life cycle management system (See our Blog - How to Avoid a High-Tech Train-Wreck).

For the average in-house legal team, there are literally hundreds of simple and effective initiatives that can be quickly and safely deployed to substantially reduce legal team costs whilst materially improving quality in a verifiable way.

The legal operations team will look closely at vendor management, project management efficiencies, supply chain management, legal team production processes, and the customer experience amongst other performance/cost factors as part of its overall financial management and strategic planning.

Better support corporate goals

The legal team must perpetually chase value creation. and the most significant contribution it can make to the business is to proactively help the business achieve its corporate goals.

Decision-making must be made through the lens of "what value" the action/inaction of the legal team means for the business. Looking through this essential lens, one of the most powerful contributions that legal ops can make is to ensure that the focus of the legal team aligns up with the strategic needs of the business.

This is a major tenant of GLS's RPLV Strategic Decision Making framework that we recommend to all in-house legal teams. If you are considering a resourcing decision that does not have a "high-value" contribution to the business, then it is likely not the most pressing priority you can be pursuing. You can read more about RPLV in our Blog: RPLV Decision Making (A simple decision-making framework to drive legal team transformation).

New-era in-house leaders must constantly consider how well their activities align with the realization of the business's corporate goals. The wider team must similarly actively consider how their daily tasks relate to the strategic needs of the business. In so doing, the entire legal team becomes more closely engaged with the strategic objectives of the business.

By creating this "value link" culture, you achieve three exceptionally important outcomes as follows:

  • Legal Team Value Recognition: by focusing on business-aligned tasks where you can achieve verifiable results, you can show the business data and evidence-based account of the value your legal team is creating for the Business
  • Better Team Focus: the legal team will increasingly be working on what matters to the business and therefore drive its "value recognition" profile within the business
  • Career Progression: lawyers that are consistently working on what is deemed important to the business, and doing a great job, will enjoy substantially improved career trajectories.

In-sync in-house legal teams

All too often, we hear that mid-to-large legal teams feel disconnected from their peers. There are many reasons for this, including the increasing prevalence of the decentralized in-house legal team model (a subject for a future blog for sure).

Whether it be due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen many in-house lawyers working from home for the past few years, or the nature of the role (i.e. the need to support multiple businesses/locations and across multiple time zones), in-house legal teams can often feel disconnected from their own teams and the internal clients.

One of the biggest reasons is simply that lawyers are busy and spend too much time staring at screens and increasingly prefer to DM as opposed to speaking directly. To unpack this issue would take us well beyond the realm of legal operations and into a commentary on the harm that the prevalent social media culture is doing to society as a whole.

Regardless of the reasons, all too often, there can be disconnects with your legal department that are entirely avoidable. They might relate to perennial communication challenges, carrying out obsolete work types and the usual “who’s doing what, when, where, why”. For sure - a legal ops function can help deliver an inclusion communications channel that keeps the entire team on the same page - and helps build a team culture in our Web 3.0 world. 

Our tip is that this is going to be increasingly important as the "lawyer" remains the most valuable asset of a legal department and they need to be able to collaborate.

Strategic workload management

The primary objectives of an optimally performing legal team include:

  1. Value Focus: to ensure the legal team focus on the more strategic and value-creating work;
  2. Internal Production: getting more work done internally when it makes sense;
  3. Better Careers: create greater career pathways for lawyers that retains talent; and
  4. Reduced Costs: reducing operating costs whilst increasing value generation.

None of the above can be achieved unless the legal team has a firm grasp of workflows and work type demographics. With this type of data feed, the legal team can make better decisions about how work is handled to ensure the above goals are progressing.

A basic legal ops function will cross workflow forecasts, matching it with capacity, overlaying it with the skill development priorities of legal team members, and ensuring that it is being done in the most cost-effective ways.

The legal ops function, through strategic workload management, can make a significant impact from the chronic or regular work overload with which the in-house community is so familiar.

Improved Legal Team Value Recognition

Historically, legal team value recognition has been low (we think far too low). And no one likes to feel unappreciated.

No one needs an unpacking of how the role of the in-house lawyers often involves intangible contributions. Historically, we have all heard in-house lawyers talk about their "silent" contribution going unnoticed by the business but with a "smug confidence" that the business was not smart enough to understand. That was then - this is now. If you cannot measure it and report it, then it may as well not have happened.

Accordingly, you need to be able to demonstrate the value you create and it starts by aligning your agenda with things that the business values (talked about above) and then measuring/ reporting it in a way that the business understands. In-house teams need to talk the language of business which is hard data

Value recognition is one of the four pillars of RPLV Decision Making - that will help your daily legal dept. decision-making occurs in a strategic context of overall function performance improvement.

Control over cost

If you can get a million dollars worth of goods that you need for US$100,000 - some might applaud you - the CFO may simply ask why you spent US$100,000 in the first place. That is the world that we live in - the bean counters look at what you spent, and not necessarily the value that was created. This does not diminish the importance of "value" alignment and reporting - it is just a fact of life - for which your legal department must be ready.

Ask just about any in-house counsel, and the majority will tell you that their legal spending is a material key performance indicator they regularly report to their business. Add to this that no legal team operates in the land of "infinite resources" legal teams need to have a sharp and keen eye on the bottom line.

There is where a legal ops agenda can really help. Apart from real-time reporting about how your team is performing against financial budgets, a focus on cost control through efficiency and productivity release can help the legal team get what it needs, but in as cost-efficient a manner as possible.

Obtaining law firm value

In our experience, very few General Counsel/Heads of Legal/Chief Legal Officers consider their ability to analyze and manage external counsel spending. All too often, management of external counsel spending is on a "reactive" and "after the event" basis.

Data surrounding the use of external counsel for many legal teams, by in large, is not the subject of performance-based examination. What this means - is that for most legal teams - their single largest expense is frequently not the subject of strategic analysis.

A basic review of law firm expenditure can help yield substantial and immediate value insights. Matters can be assessed by strategic value, law firms can be performance-rated, best value providers can be identified, and value creation goals can be set for external firms.

This data yield can help you amplify the strategic contributions of the law firms you work with. Law firms that consistently fail to stick to fee estimates/agreed budgets can be replaced with more dependable providers. Also, it may be that you identify opportunities to engage alternative legal service providers / lower-cost providers for more of your low-risk, low-value, high-volume matters that may have historically, and for convenience, been sent to larger, more expensive firms. Also, you might find that you could be doing certain work types more efficiently yourselves and bring them in-house.

Driving innovation and digital transformation strategy:

If you want to innovate - you need support from your business to try new things. This means explaining the "adverse cost" of the current state and the benefits that the business can derive from doing things in a new way. Good quality data can help optimize every process within the in-house legal team driving legal team efficiency.

This is where legal operations capabilities can really help your legal team to embrace innovation and innovative ways of working, including the use of new digital technologies. The legal ops team can help you collect the right data that justifies your legal team's experiments with innovation generally - whether it be through embracing contract automation, A.I. based contract reviews, new business processes, new business models, better knowledge management systems, or different ways of collaborating.

No doubt, reading this Blog you can see that "data" is King in the new era of the in-house legal profession. We are not advocating that the primary job of the lawyer is to become a data analyst specialist, although all in-house lawyers will increasingly need to acquire a base level of literacy. The in-house job is to get more done with less, and innovation is often the key to this. You cannot innovate if you cannot justify the decision to innovate and this is where "data" proves exceptionally helpful.

Oh, and a small point, a good legal ops capability, will always be looking for ways to do things more efficiently including via innovation -and will also be "tapped" into the wider legal apps community for efficient innovation pathways.

With the right data to hand, particularly in this digital age we live in, your legal ops team can increasingly flag out opportunities to deploy new and innovative solutions. Common focal points include bringing efficiencies to repetitive and low-value tasks, knowledge, and better ways for the legal team to collaborate etc.

Legal team insight-based reporting

Legal departments must be able to speak the language of business - which is numbers and value. The legal team must be able to produce reports which clearly demonstrate how efficiently they are operating and the value that they are delivering to the business. However, reporting is a specialist area and can be incredibly time-consuming.

This transcends more than the “justify your existence”; quality reporting is an opportunity to drive value recognition. The legal ops function plays a key role in ensuring that you track the right metrics and report on the right things.

A legal ops-inspired reporting function will cover a wide range of matters, including matters handled, resourcing allocations, costs forecasting, performance against budget, and cost overruns - not to mention specific data around value created, whether it be hours/costs saved.

The ability to automate this type of reporting is increasingly viable, particularly if the correct processes have been set up, and the appropriate "function management" systems have been deployed (and which are increasingly affordable).

Regardless of whether you have a "function management" platform - the job of the lawyer is to "stay on task" and not to get bogged down with reporting tasks - regardless of how important it is. Some in-house legal teams who do their own reporting are losing days, if not weeks, of time each year, producing reports, instead of advising the business.

As such, with the right legal ops support in place, your lawyers can increasingly stay on task whilst you responsively report to your business client on utilization, budget, or strategic alignment matters.

Better legal team decision making

This one is easy - with better information, legal teams can make better decisions on how they allocate their resources. The data provided by in-house legal operations teams will greatly enhance the data-based decisions, massively increasing productivity maximization, resource justification, and in-house legal team credibility.   

Lawyers empowered to be lawyers

You didn’t go to law school to sift through Excel spreadsheets or review law firm bills. When in-house counsel are buried in clerical hassles, they risk burnout, and companies lose out on one of their best assets: their legal minds.

As legal operation managers take over non-legal tasks inside the legal department they enable lawyers to focus on delivering high-quality legal solutions. Some say this increases the quality of the legal work as corporate legal counsel do not spend time and energy on other business-related assignments. 

Final Thoughts

For most IHLs the pathway towards a better future necessarily comes down to something far less complicated than “available budget” – ultimately, it comes down to something as simple as “choice”, which costs nothing. The benefits of a legal operations agenda ... and mindset ... are too compelling for any in-house legal team to be ignoring.

We explore the benefits of legal operations to your legal team further in (Part D - GLS’s Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations) which you can download here:

We recommend this to you as a further summary of the benefits of legal ops together with some commentary on how quickly your legal team can realize the benefits of the same.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

GLS Legal Ops: 25 Signs Your Legal Team Needs to Transform

Warning signs that in-house leaders should not ignore

3 mins • 22 Nov 21

254.jpg

Legal Ops Essentials: 25 Signs Transformation Is Required 

Identifying legal team inefficiencies

In this installment of GLS's Legal Ops Essentials - we shine the spotlight on legal team performance indicators that could be limiting the performance capability of your legal team members.

In the GLS Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations we wrote extensively about the key indicators of when in-house leaders should consider implementing a legal ops-led approach to enhance legal team performance.

As such, it seemed a good idea to publish a Blog specifically dealing with the common array of legal team performance indicators that many corporate legal departments are forced to contend with.

Ignoring legal team efficiency assessments

As most in-house legal teams battle with huge workloads - it is all too often the case that they do not have time and capacity to address system areas of inefficiencies - they simply carry on regardless.

Indeed, all too often, legal function inefficiency is underwritten by in-house counsel who ends up racking up ever greater hours of work contact time each week - in many cases to address workflow that could be significantly reduced through better processes, procedures, infrastructure, and working practices.

However, ignoring legal function inefficiency ultimately does not help the legal department or the corporate counsel within the team. Most in-house lawyers are incredibly thick-skinned in terms of what they put up with, and are happy to work long hours - much more so than most other professions. However, when they are doing so because of systemic inefficiencies, things can become quite problematic.

In our extensive experience, legal teams that are riddled with departmental inefficiencies tend to experience greater in-house team member churn/attrition/turnover rates. In short - lawyers tend to leave inefficient legal teams - or at least "good lawyers" tend to leave. In this sense, legal team transformation has a very real nexus and positive correlation with team member churn rates and overall department performance.

Become your own director of operations

Experts in legal operations will routinely survey the legal function for signs of underperformance and inefficiency. We appreciate that most in-house legal teams do not have a dedicated legal operations team so in this Blog, we share with you 25 of the most common signs of underperformance.

So, be your own director of legal operations and start assessing whether your legal department is afflicted by any of these signs of inefficiency.

Download our corporate counsel checklist

Download and review our checklist to assess whether your legal team is afflicted by common underperformance indicators. You can do that right here.

With our list in hand, we recommend that you identify the presence of specific areas of under-performance is a vital step in your legal transformation planning.

Amongst other things, doing so will help:

  • you engage in precise strategic planning - allowing you to pinpoint inefficiency-generating areas
  • gives General Counsel, Heads of Legal, and Chief Legal Officers hard data to support transformation efforts
  • improves legal service provision by detecting matters that distract corporate counsel focus
  • you understand and are better positioned to assess the contributions of potential productivity resources that are increasingly available to your legal team
  • you consider whether your current business model makes sense for your legal team
  • identify areas that could be positively impacted by tech-enabled digital transformation strategies
  • identifying areas that might cause "customer expectation" rub amongst your internal clients
  • you review aspects of your vendor management strategy that might result in financial and quality inefficiencies

Download GLS Legal Ops: 25 Signs Your Legal Team Needs to Transform right here.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

What is meant by Legal Operations (Part B - GLS’s Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations)

15 mins • 21 Nov 21

UGLO PART B

This is a sample chapter from the recently published ‘GLS Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations’ . It's a revolutionary look into In House Legal (IHL) processes, with 14 dedicated chapters on how to improve the efficiency of your legal function. To get your copy of the entire ebook for free, click here.

PART B: IT IS ABOUT LEGAL RESOURCE AND PROCESS OPTIMISATION

Legal operations: per se is a relatively new term to be bandied about in legal circles but what does it really mean, and what should it mean for you, your IHL, and your business?

The Corporate Legal Operations Consortium or CLOC – a relatively recently established and the most prominent of the US-based “pay to participate” legal operations associations, defines legal operations as:

“a set of business processes, activities, and the professionals that enable legal departments to serve their clients more effectively by applying business and technical practices to the delivery of legal services.”

Whilst accurate, the problem with this definition is that while it might serve a “think-tank” body whose members are dedicated legal operations personnel, it is not particularly accessible nor user-friendly for the "average legal team" that:

• is looking to improve their performance:
• has limited resources available to it; and 
• is currently unable to employ dedicated legal operations personnel.

The above is the reality for most IHLs and is in sharp juxtaposition to the organizations that the leadership of CLOC represents – i.e. Google, Microsoft, Gap, Oracle, Fidelity Investments, etc.

Major multinationals have far more resources than the average IHL. As such, the extent to which CLOC’s leadership (and the agenda they set) can relate to the chronic challenges faced by all IHLs is obviously an issue.

We flag this not to be critical, but to simply acknowledge that thought leadership in the legal industry (along with legal press coverage) has historically tended to only focus on “Big Law” firms and “Big Clients”.

Indeed, in CLOC's "2021 State of the Industry Survey" – a typical CLOC member's ‘small legal dept' is profiled as having 15 full-time lawyers. Additionally, survey respondents had on average 7 FTE dedicated legal operations headcount. Sadly, this is not what 95%+ of the world's legal departments look like. Most are 1 or 2 lawyers, with no legal ops personnel at all!

Given the potential that legal operations offers to drastically improve the performance of all IHLs, we feel it is imperative that legal operations are not perceived as the exclusive domain of only the biggest IHLs.

CLOC, like any interest-based group, is free to determine whose “interests” it chooses to represent. CLOC is therefore under no obligation to act as a “lightning rod” for legal-industry-wide change of the kind we pursue at GLS.

The point we seek to make though is about context – that legal industry thought leadership and associated headlines tend to be dominated by the 1% of Firms and their Clients. This means that coverage of the real issues faced by the majority of IHLs can be harder to assess. In short, Google’s legal department is not a bellwether for the average IHL with its 1 to 2 legal team members.

For a much clearer idea of the burning issues faced by most IHLs on a daily basis – please see our opinion piece on the "Top 10 In-House Legal Team Resolutions for a New Year".

What is desperately needed by the legal industry is a large dose of "whatever it takes" to make legal support more accessible to all businesses – and this means presenting legal operations in a way that is easily accessible. Accordingly, at GLS, we view “legal operations” as:

“the means of maximizing the productivity expression of ALL available IHL resources, in verifiable ways, and which drive IHL value recognition.”

Our definition makes the discipline of legal operations accessible to all IHLs – it makes it more of “a way of thinking”, as opposed to “another department” or set of practices that are only available to dedicated legal operations professionals with significant resources.

Legal operations is not an “exclusive domain”. By simply cultivating a legal operations mindset any IHL can access a powerful and viable means to elevate performance. You certainly do not need a legal team of 15+ lawyers in order to massively benefit from legal operations.

Legal operations, as propagated and practiced by GLS, is an inclusive concept that all IHL teams in any business in any jurisdiction can access simply by adjusting the way they think about resourcing decisions and tracking outcomes.

 


EFFECTIVE LEGAL OPERATIONS  IN 7 WORDS

Without getting “too deep into the weeds”, here are a few key observations as to what the discipline of legal operations entails. These observations are built around 7 simple words that sum up our view of legal operations:

NEEDED

There is not a business on the planet where the demand for legal support does not exceed the available in-house resources, especially where such support has not been optimized and/or prioritized.

The goal of legal operations is to enable the IHL to deliver greater levels of support to the business whilst reducing human and financial resource consumption, and to do so in a way that helps the business recognize and appreciate the support being given to it.

Legal operations is therefore an essential agenda item for all IHLs that are looking to deliver high-caliber performances, no matter their size or budget.

FOCUS

A legal operations agenda can only ever succeed if it maintains a laser-sharp focus on realistic objectives. Whatever those objectives are, they must be kept front of mind. 

At the “30,000 foot” level, your legal operations agenda should focus on:

• ensuring every category of available IHL resource is identified and performing optimally; and
• optimizing all the tasks that do not require a legal qualification in order to free up the capacity of your lawyers so that they can focus on legal work.

As your agenda progresses, this focus can be refined to match the sophistication of your IHL – there are literally hundreds of distinct and accessible transformation focal points that have their time and place in a full IHL Transformation.

With the understanding gained from the full GLS Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations, identifying when and where you should place your efforts will become a logical process that occurs in sync with your organization’s tolerance for change.

MANDATE

Legal operations require legal and compliance functions to define a clear mandate of responsibility, in the context of which the IHL can help their business to realize its strategic goals.

If you do not know what you are responsible for, it is difficult to launch a truly efficient legal operations agenda. This will be a major hurdle for many IHLs that have “evolved” into existence rather than being designed for efficiency from the DNA level up.

GLS discussed the importance of legal teams establishing their respective mandates in our 2020 Legal Operations Webinar Series (which we obviously recommend watching). Not having a proper IHL mandate (in the form of a Group Legal Policy) merely cultivates inefficiencies.

An effective IHL mandate is required at an operational level as without it, IHLs cannot efficiently “priority-task” finite legal team resources or thereafter objectively judge the team’s performance.

Indeed, the growing interest in “legal operations” presents an opportunity for many IHLs to finally get a formal domain of responsibility defined by their business – establishing a clearly articulated mandate is simply the logical response to a business that is demanding “better performance”.

If the business wants improved performance, IHLs should ask the business for a clear definition of what it is that they would like to see improved (i.e. a mandated scope of IHL operations) so that the IHL can do just that.

Related Resource: GLS Legal Operations Master Class (2020) – Webinar 2 – Foundational Legal Team Policy Assets & Prioritisation

Related Resource: GLS Group Legal Policies™ – Know What You Want To Achieve

Related Resources: Contracting Policies: Eliminate Weakness in your contracting function

THINKING
 
Above all, legal operations is a “way of thinking” that extends beyond traditional legal department management practices and which, happily, makes its potency accessible to even the smallest IHL.

Effective legal operations require an awareness of all of the IHL’s available resources and priority tasking them, with a focus on i) productivity leverage and ii) ways that allow for performance verification.

We have generated an IHL Transformation decision- making framework that we call “R.P.L.V.” (i.e. “Resourcing / Prioritisation / Leverage / Validation”) that instantly places IHL operational decisions into a strategic transformation context.

We unpack R.P.L.V. in more detail, particularly in relation to how it effortlessly places “daily resourcing” decision-making into a strategic IHL Transformation context in our White Paper R.P.L.V.: Transformative Decision Making (and also in Part J of the GLS Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations).

DATA 

IHLs must better prioritize their focus, leverage every resource allocation, and measure their performance to facilitate ongoing optimization decisions and demonstrate the value that their actions deliver to the business.

Enhancing efficiency within an IHL requires that IHL to operate on the basis of empirical data – rather than just operating on the basis of guesses or “Old Law” networks. Such inefficient decision-making processes frequently deprive an IHL’s internal clients of maximum value.

Data analysis and reporting are critical aspects of legal operations. IHLs must harvest the data generated by their workflows to enable ongoing optimization and resource allocation performance.

Related Resource: GLS Legal Dept. KPI Manual™ – Commonly Used Legal Dept. KPIs 

MULTIDISCIPLINARY

Legal operations is a multidisciplinary competency that draws on backgrounds like finance, marketing, data analytics, technology, learning & development amongst other areas.

A mature IHL will develop a dedicated legal operations function to provide strategic planning, financial management, project management, and technology portfolio investment expertise – freeing up the lawyers to focus on providing legal advice.

As the size and maturity of an organization increases, so too does the case for dedicated legal operations staff – something which many of the largest US-based MNCs have already implemented (or are in the process of doing so).

However, for teams too small to have dedicated legal operations staff, useful skills can be developed through the application of a bit of time and effort. The key point to remember though is that if this gets to the point that your lawyers are being diverted from “lawyering”, then you have gone too far. (We investigate this in Part F of the Ultimate Guide: The Interactive GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map which speaks to the GLS Legal Transformation Tube Map)

A core tenet of legal operations is, after all, to remove as many “non-strategic distractions” from your lawyers as possible (see Part C: The Case For Legal Operations. Section “F1 Drivers do not wash their Own Car”). 

Related Resource: The CLOC Website


 

SOLUTIONS

Transformation is about solving problems – so to transform your legal team effectively, you must develop a clear understanding of the problems you are trying to solve.

Indeed, we have seen that effective IHL transformers consistently demonstrate problem-solving that not only overcomes their immediate problems but also creates an ongoing competitive advantage for their business.

For IHLs, the core challenge is figuring out how to achieve “more with less”, which means finding new ways of working and embracing such new technologies that are capable of delivering ongoing value and savings, and a fast ROI.

In many cases, as you get into the specifics of your IHL transformation journey, you may find that your problem is actually just limited to a few critical components that define the overall productivity of what is otherwise a well-constituted IHL process.

The key to an IHL’s transformation is, therefore, to efficiently identify what are the problems that are preventing its performance optimization, and then to efficiently find the solutions to those problems.

It is for this reason that every tool, solution, and/or resource found on the GLS Legal Operations Centre is defined by reference to a very specific underlying problem (and related challenges) that IHLs want to address.

The next time you deal with a problem inside your IHL, we recommend that you visit the GLS Legal Operations Centre to see if we haven’t already developed a specific solution to resolve that problem for you.

Chances are that most issues you face are not unique to your organization. As such, it is likely to be one of the problems that we have already addressed with a sustainable solution via the GLS Legal Operations Centre.

WRAPPING IT UP SO WE CAN MOVE IT FORWARD

Broadly speaking, the reality is that most legal departments do not currently have a dedicated legal operations function due to one or more of the following factors:

  • not being familiar with what legal operations entail
  • thinking that their legal team is too small to benefit from legal operations
  • antiquated legal department management styles or
  • a wholly erroneous perception that legal operations is just “another cost”

However, as long as your team is under-resourced, it will have to develop an increasingly sophisticated legal operations mindset – which does not cost a cent.

This means that all in-house lawyers will need to become increasingly familiar and competent with legal operations – many aspects of which are not vocationally delivered to the average lawyer.

Fortunately, however, lawyers are typically experts at acquiring new skills and as such can readily learn, adapt and implement many “legal operations fundamentals”, including those set out in the full GLS Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Certification & Training

Legal Team Skills: Rid Your Documents Of Typos

5 mins • 06 Dec 20

Tiny_woman_showing_grammar_and_punctuation_errors.jpg

When I was in high school, I belonged to a band called the “Happy Funk Band”. Until an unfortunate typo caused us to be expelled from school...” - Colin Mochrie

Rid Your Documents Of Typos With GLS Proofreading Tips

9 mins • 27 Dec 22 

Typos cause professional embarrassment - they are the enemy of legal practice. 

Given that the culmination of legal advice is almost always a written document of some sort - whether in the form of an opinion, transaction document, or an application to the supreme court - clear and precise documentation is one of the most frequently utilized vessels through which lawyering is delivered.

As such, proofreading is an important part of what lawyers do. In this Blog, we ask the question of whether is it something that lawyers must themselves be doing all the time?

We examine:

  • why proofreading is important;
  • whether lawyer productivity is being diluted by proofreading tasks;
  • what a good framework for effective proofreading looks like;
  • how to get good/better at proofreading; and
  • what to look for when proofreading.

Okay - here we go - let's try and find some solutions to a major bugbear of many lawyers. Also, to “lift the curtain” on an issue - certain words have in this Blog been spelled in multiple ways, this is not us failing to take our own advice, it is simply to drive SEO and get as many eyes as possible on this important and practical issue!

Why must solicitors be good at proof reading?

Documentation excellence is, of course, in and of itself highly desirable - not just for the quality of legal work - but also for the future of the solicitor themselves. 

In private practice, senior lawyers actively seek out trainees and junior lawyers that represent proof reading excellence. 

Of course, the same could be said of the secretary that also had an “eye for detail”, they are all considered to be a tremendous asset to the team. Further, in the context of a legal team, documentation excellence should be considered a shared responsibility - with everyone having a role to play. 

In the context of “modern in-house legal teams” (and for all lawyers for that matter) the principal purpose of proofreading is to: 

  • avoid points of ambiguity / potential miscommunication; 
  • avoid basic errors that undermine the professional reputation of the company; 
  • correct inconsistencies within the document; 
  • ensure the accuracy of whatever it is that is being communicated/agreed upon; 
  • ensure the logical flow and coherence of the points covered in the document; and 
  • ensure formatting is applied correctly and consistently so that the document is “easy to read” and comprehensible. 

As such, proof reading is an exceptionally important vocational skill that you must be really good at regardless of whether you describe yourself as a lawyer, attorney or solicitor.

Moreover, no matter how smart you are, if you are not good at proof reading the perception of your legal abilities can easily be tarnished, which will impact your career trajectory. This is just a fact - if you can't spell correctly how can a client trust your advice?

How much time are lawyers spending proof reading?

Lawyers on both sides of the in-house/private practice divide spend inordinate amounts of time proofreading documents, but unlike the lawyers in private practice the in-house lawyers do not get to charge their clients hundreds/thousands of dollars per hour to do so.

Consider your own day as an in-house lawyer. How much of your work with a document (contracts, advice, emails, presentations, etc.) is legitimately "lawyering" (i.e. delivering value) as opposed to mere proofreading (i.e. documentation editing)?

Our research indicates that most lawyers spend around 1.5 to 2 hours every day on what can be described as simple proofreading. Think about that - that is between 7.5 to 10 hours per week ... or 390 to 520 hours a year - just on proof reading!

If you were in private practice those numbers grow exponentially. In fact, we estimate that more than 40% of the billable hours of a private practice lawyer up to 4-years PQE relates almost entirely to proofreading documents. Do the math on that - an 1800 billable hour target - 40% of that is 720 hours at US$480 per hour - well that is US$345,600 dollars made for the partnership from what is effectively proofreading.

Larger international law firms make a huge amount of their money from junior lawyers doing proof reading. Law firms do not mind whether their lawyers spend an hour proof reading, researching, negotiating, drafting, etc. Regardless of the activity, it all adds up to the same hourly rate charged to the client in the name of “legal services.”

Does proofreading have to be done solely by lawyers?

Those committed to efficiency and improvement frequently find pathways forward by challenging conventional/accepted practices by carefully examining established propositions to see if new pockets of efficiencies can be tapped.

So with this in mind, we at GLS have asked - is proofreading the most valuable thing that the most expensive resource of most legal departments can be doing for their business? Are there not better things that the lawyer could be doing?

The answer to that is simply - "Sometimes yes, but most of the time no!"

Whilst there is no hard and fast rule to help you identify the precise moment when the "lawyering is done" and you are effectively just in a "proofreading phase", most lawyers will instinctively know. In any event, here are some typical scenarios where a lawyer could claw back significant amounts of time which would otherwise be done proof reading/editing.

  • Near To Final Drafts: when your document is near to final - this is when the proofreading workload is usually the greatest.
  • Presentations: once you have your key ideas on the page - finalizing your presentation is largely a matter of proofreading and editing.
  • IPO/Prospectus Work: a huge amount of capital markets work is effectively proof reading.
  • Execution Bundles: getting the document ready for signing entails a huge amount of proof reading, cross-referencing checking, and generally document tidy-ups.
  • Court Submissions: these documents have to be perfect and so a significant portion of time is spent on de-weeding submissions rather than on substantive matters.

In the above scenarios, much of the work required to get the work delivered as intended is not “pure lawyering.” This is when significant amounts of time can be clawed back.

We believe that you do not need to be a lawyer (or at least charge the fees of a lawyer) to proofread a document. Below we set out the 21 things that we think a good proof reader should look for, and none of them require you to have a law degree.

It is a fact that if you plan efficiently enough, then you could be clawing back many hours by utilizing non-legal proofreaders, or even better, by utilizing disruptive proof reading services like GLS Legal Proof Reading™

However, this blog is about how to be good at proofreading - so let us continue.

Top 10+1 proofreading tips for lawyers

Apply each of the following to make your proofreading more consistent, more accurate and easier to complete: 

1. Read out loud: Read the document aloud and slowly. 

2. Reverse it: Read the document in reverse (i.e., start with the last word and work forwards). This forces your brain to focus on the spelling of each word rather than anticipating what is to come from the syntax. 

3. Spellchecker: Use a spellchecker and other online tools (e.g. Grammarly) all the time - but do not rely on them 100%. They are tools, not trained lawyers that understand nuance and context.

4. One Issue at a time: Never look for all editing/proofing issues simultaneously. Do one pass to look for spelling, one for grammar, one for consistent definitions, one for punctuations, etc. You will complete faster and have fewer “misses” if you concentrate on 1 issue at a time.  

5. Punchlist: Always make a "to-do list" of issues as you edit. For example, check the usage of the defined term "Applicable Law", etc. - I.e. take a note of errors and then apply Rule 4 above to ensure you deal with them throughout the document, perfectly.  

6. The little things: Double-check “little words” as these are often erroneously interchanged, e.g. “or” vs. “of” and “it” vs. “is”. 

7. No lawyering: Remember that the purpose of proofreading is not to review the “substance” of the document for shortcomings, legal merit, or otherwise. Proofreading is to clean a document of grammatical and typographical errors.  As tough as that might seem to be - avoiding diving back into complex legal drafting will improve the quality of your proofreading. Simply make a note of the "legal issue" you might need to revisit - and revisit them later.

8. Fresh eyes: Where possible, have the document proofread by someone who did not author the document so that “fresh eyes” can look purely for errors without any preconceived assumptions. 

9. Legibility: If you are marking-up a document by hand, ensure that you avoid “doctor’s scrawl”. Legible, neat, and clear handwriting is essential, so use basic printed letters – no cursive writing is allowed! 

10. 4 eyes are better than 2: Ideally, each proofreading job should be double-checked by a second person to ensure consistency, quality, correctness, etc. Though, this is not an excuse for you to rely on quality control to do the “proofreading” / to correct a less-than-perfect drafting exercise! 

11. Your Own Pet Mistakes: as it's GLS, we are giving you an extra tip… Every person has their own "repeat often mistakes" - it is just how it works. Make a checklist of the things that you frequently mess-up, keep it to hand, and specifically check each issue when you proofread your own work.

GLS's suggested attorney "Proofreading" best practices

We have prepared the following suggested best practice proofreading process to ensure consistently excellent results: 

STEP 1: Use Spellchecker Software

By no means infallible, proofreading tools like "Grammarly" can certainly help your proofreading efforts. So, you should use spell-check software to sweep up all the obvious/easy mistakes quickly. Windows and iOS all include proofreading tools and there are plenty of free online spell-checker solutions for you to utilize. 

Do not make the mistake of over-reliance on these tools as they are not perfect. However, as you use them you can introduce your own unique dictionary and generally teach them - the A.I. learning features of these tools improve the quality of the support they can deliver for you.

STEP 2: Proofread on paper

The reality is that proofreading on-screen is never as good as proofreading from a piece of paper. If your work is really important, you must proofread your writing from a hard copy of the document.

During this pass, you must look out for: 

  • Spelling (use a dictionary if in doubt and decide if you are using British or “American English”). 
  • Consistent tense – writers very often slip from past to present tenses in a single sentence or paragraph.
  • Consistent use of singular/plural (e.g., using “I” vs. “we” throughout). 
  • Consistent use of first/third person etc. (e.g., using “we” vs. “the Company”).  
  • Remove biased writing. 
  • Remove or explain jargon (e.g., define each abbreviation the first time it appears).  

STEP 3: Check Headings, Captions, Quotes, Etc. 

It's easy to miss errors here unless they are read as separate items.   Ensure that spelling is correct AND that the style/formatting is consistent. 

STEP 4: Check Page Numbering, Clause Numbering, AND Cross-Referencing

Use automatic numbering and cross-referencing in documents wherever possible, and check for any “error” messages in the document.  

Check that there are no manually written out cross-references. Golden Rule - please do not ever use manual cross-referencing - automatic cross-referencing was invented for a reason!

Check that paragraph numbering all runs logically.

STEP 5: Check The Spelling of Proper Nouns, And Contact Details 

Never assume that you know how to spell a name. Double-check against an authoritative reference. 

Finish with any unusual checks, such as math calculations. 

STEP 6: Read The Document Backwards For Spelling 

This is optional as reading a document backward can take a very long time, but it is highly worthwhile if you can afford the time.  

Reading backward removes the meaning from the text, so you will be inclined to focus on the spelling of each word (and thereby catch many more errors!).  This might be advisable if your document is particularly important and you cannot risk mistakes.

GLS Legal Proofreading™ - a 21 Point Checklist for Proofreading 

At GLS, we apply a 21-point review checklist to maximize the accuracy and readability of documents. 

By applying these 21 points to proofreading assignments, we can demonstrably enhance the editorial quality and clarity of your documents and reduce the turnaround time (and cost) required to finalize your documents. 

The GLS 21-point proofreading check is as follows: 

1.             Spelling mistakes

2.             Punctuation errors 

3.             Grammar errors 

4.             Typos - being short for typographical errors 

5.             Font size and type 

6.             Page numbering 

7.             Numbering accuracy 

8.             Version control numbering 

9.             Cross-referencing accuracy 

10.          Cross-index referencing 

11.          Table naming protocols 

12.          Correct use of defined terminology 

13.          Common mistakes (their/there etc.) 

14.          Active –v– passive sentences 

15.          Sentence and paragraph structure 

16.          Activation of hyperlinks/web addresses 

17.          Schedule and main body integration 

18.          Justification/paragraph alignment 

19.          Hanging and/or orphan text, including run-on sentences

20.          Slang identification 

21.          Waffle identification 

Ready for us to save you hundreds of hours per year?

GLS offers a cost-effective proofreading solution to reduce/remove the need to consume expensive internal or external legal resources when proofreading documents. 

GLS Legal Proof Reading™ delivers a confidential, comprehensive, and accessible proofreading solution that achieves documentation excellence.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please do check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page that might be able to assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. And of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult to discuss your transformation needs - book here

In the interim, here are 8 resources and/or 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 - read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources, etc all focusing on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: self-assess key aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities - access our market-leading tool right here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the type of information that you want to derive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans:  mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a fixed menu transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and enjoy access to more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

 

GLS Legal Ops Essentials: Tips & Observations

  • Proofreading is the curse of all lawyers 
  • Proofreading is an essential skill that can be learned
  • Proofreading is not lawyering, it is what comes after the lawyering is done
  • Building a proofreading capability into your legal team can save your lawyers hundreds of hours per year
  • GLS offers a very cost effective proofreading service delivered by actual lawyers
back

Back

Certification & Training

GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 6 - Legal Tech: Embracing it Safely

GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 6 - Legal Tech: Embracing it Safely

45 mins • 30 Jul 20

Legal tech

Understanding the potential offered by legal technology to your team and how to embrace it safely.  

  • A legal tech engagement framework
  • Potent low tech
  • Successful implementation

GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 6 - Legal Tech: Embracing it Safely

Speakers 

This seminar will draw upon the legal operations implementation experiences of these great speakers:

Matthew Glynn | Managing Director 

Legal operations innovator

Matt is the Managing Director of the GLS Group, a leading legal disruptor that delivers 24/7/365 access to the worlds largest legal operations platform offering productivity tools & resources that help in-house legal teams to achieve far greater productivity outcomes through the deployment of legal operations led legal team interventions.

Be it by AI based contract reviews, contract automation solutions or by architecting high-performance legal teams, GLS Group provides access to world class legal ops solutions at a disruptive price point.

A former Big Law technology lawyer, Matt has been responsible for the development of 500+ technology enabled tools that extend what in-house legal resources can achieve for in-house legal teams. 

Legal operations efficiency outcomes 

Matt is an industry leader in helping in-house teams achieve far greater performance outcomes with fewer resources. He has helped hundreds of in-house legal teams improve their performance with pin point efficiency implementations. 

Matt regularly implements productivity legal team productivity solutions to legal teams of all sizes across the globe and has helped them achieve external legal budget compression ratios of 1:10 and time task compression ratios that routinely exceed 1:20.

Simon Bryan | Principal 

Simon is a co-founder and principal of the GLS Group, a leading legal disruptor that delivers 24/7/365 access to world-class legal solutions. Solutions that enable in-house teams and law firms to achieve far greater productivity outcomes.

Be it by AI based contract reviews, contract automation solutions or by architecting high-performance legal teams, GLS Group provides access to world class solutions at a disruptive price point.

Prior to founding GLS, Simon was a partner in a leading global law firm where he built a pre-eminent TMT/IPT practice in the EMEA region.  Simon also held a number of prominent senior in-house roles, including the first Acting General Counsel of TwoFour 54, Director of Group Legal for one of the Dubai Holding Group entities (heading 49 group companies) and Chief Legal Officer & Director of Business Affairs at the Doha Film Institute.  Simon also founded a magazine distribution and publishing company in Hong Kong. 

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

What you will get from this GLS Legal Ops Masterclass:

Legal Tech: Adopting a more practical definition of legal technology

Potent Tech: Focusing on the tech that really works - low-tech v high-tech

Decision Making: A framework for your technology engagement strategy

Cost: Realistically, what does it cost for an IHL team to have cutting-edge technology?

Tech Examples: Demonstration of leading tech solutions

back

Back

Certification & Training

GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 5: The Future Ready Lawyer

TRANSFORMING YOUR LEGAL DEPARTMENT TO NEW LAW PERFORMANCE:

1 hr • 25 Jun 20

Future ready

WHAT'S COVERED?

New Law Skills: Essential skill sets required by New Law in-house teams

New Law Team: What does a New Law legal team look like?

Training Agenda: Critical training strategies for in-house teams

Wasted Resources: Why do lawyers leave private practice / stop being lawyers?

Retention Strategies: 5 essential drivers for retaining your legal talent

GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 5: The Future Ready Lawyer

Speakers 

This seminar will draw upon the legal operations implementation experience of these great speakers:

Matthew Glynn | Managing Director 

Legal operations innovator

Matt is the Managing Director of the GLS Group, a leading legal disruptor that delivers 24/7/365 access to the worlds largest legal operations platform offering productivity tools & resources that help in-house legal teams to achieve far greater productivity outcomes through the deployment of legal operations led legal team interventions.

Be it by AI based contract reviews, contract automation solutions or by architecting high-performance legal teams, GLS Group provides access to world class legal ops solutions at a disruptive price point.

A former Big Law technology lawyer, Matt has been responsible for the development of 500+ technology enabled tools that extend what in-house legal resources can achieve for in-house legal teams. 

Legal operations efficiency outcomes 

Matt is an industry leader in helping in-house teams achieve far greater performance outcomes with fewer resources. He has helped hundreds of in-house legal teams improve their performance with pin point efficiency implementations. 

Matt regularly implements productivity legal team productivity solutions to legal teams of all sizes across the globe and has helped them achieve external legal budget compression ratios of 1:10 and time task compression ratios that routinely exceed 1:20.

Simon Bryan | Principal 

Simon is a co-founder and principal of the GLS Group, a leading legal disruptor that delivers 24/7/365 access to world-class legal solutions. Solutions that enable in-house teams and law firms to achieve far greater productivity outcomes.

Be it by AI based contract reviews, contract automation solutions or by architecting high-performance legal teams, GLS Group provides access to world class solutions at a disruptive price point.

Prior to founding GLS, Simon was a partner in a leading global law firm where he built a pre-eminent TMT/IPT practice in the EMEA region.  Simon also held a number of prominent senior in-house roles, including the first Acting General Counsel of TwoFour 54, Director of Group Legal for one of the Dubai Holding Group entities (heading 49 group companies) and Chief Legal Officer & Director of Business Affairs at the Doha Film Institute.  Simon also founded a magazine distribution and publishing company in Hong Kong. 

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Certification & Training

GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 4: Legal Team Performance -  Data Analytics & Tracking Tangible Outcomes

Legal Team Performance: Tracking Tangible Outcomes

75 mins • 28 May 20

legal analysis

WHAT'S COVERED?

Understanding the performance metrics available to monitor the tangible contribution your legal team makes to corporate goal realisation.

Low-Value Recognition: Understanding why legal teams suffer from low-value recognition

Why Measure: Understanding the case for in-house legal team performance metrics

Legal Metrics Categories: Introduction to the categories of legal team performance metrics

Essential Metrics: What are the essential performance metrics

Performance Validation: Understanding the benefits of empirical performance data. How to best present your metrics to your internal clients/decision-makers

GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 4: Legal Team Performance -  Data Analytics & Tracking Tangible Outcomes

Speakers 

This seminar will draw upon the experiences of these great speakers:

Matthew Glynn | Managing Director 

Legal operations innovator

Matt is the Managing Director of the GLS Group, a leading legal disruptor that delivers 24/7/365 access to the worlds largest legal operations platform offering productivity tools & resources that help in-house legal teams to achieve far greater productivity outcomes through the deployment of legal operations led legal team interventions.

Be it by AI based contract reviews, contract automation solutions or by architecting high-performance legal teams, GLS Group provides access to world class legal ops solutions at a disruptive price point.

A former Big Law technology lawyer, Matt has been responsible for the development of 500+ technology enabled tools that extend what in-house legal resources can achieve for in-house legal teams. 

Legal operations efficiency outcomes 

Matt is an industry leader in helping in-house teams achieve far greater performance outcomes with fewer resources. He has helped hundreds of in-house legal teams improve their performance with pin point efficiency implementations. 

Matt regularly implements productivity legal team productivity solutions to legal teams of all sizes across the globe and has helped them achieve external legal budget compression ratios of 1:10 and time task compression ratios that routinely exceed 1:20.

Simon Bryan | Principal 

Simon is a co-founder and principal of the GLS Group, a leading legal disruptor that delivers 24/7/365 access to world-class legal solutions. Solutions that enable in-house teams and law firms to achieve far greater productivity outcomes.

Be it by AI based contract reviews, contract automation solutions or by architecting high-performance legal teams, GLS Group provides access to world class solutions at a disruptive price point.

Prior to founding GLS, Simon was a partner in a leading global law firm where he built a pre-eminent TMT/IPT practice in the EMEA region.  Simon also held a number of prominent senior in-house roles, including the first Acting General Counsel of TwoFour 54, Director of Group Legal for one of the Dubai Holding Group entities (heading 49 group companies) and Chief Legal Officer & Director of Business Affairs at the Doha Film Institute.  Simon also founded a magazine distribution and publishing company in Hong Kong. 

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Certification & Training

GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 3 - Leveraging Legal Department Resources (A Case Study)

TRANSFORMING YOUR LEGAL DEPARTMENT TO NEW LAW PERFORMANCE

80 mins • 23 Apr 20

top-view-of-multicultural-team-discussing-business-2022-03-31-07-01-46-utc.jpg

WHAT'S COVERED?

Leveraging Legal Resources (Case Study) – Detailed Outline:

  • Optimising your contracting infrastructure assets to achieve dramatic, measurable, organizational-wide contracting efficiencies
  • Legal resource spectrum
  • Legal resource leverage strategies
  • Contracting policy ripple effect – A case study

GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 3 - Leveraging Legal Department Resources (A Case Study)

Speakers 

This seminar will draw upon the experiences of these great speakers:

Matthew Glynn | Managing Director 

Legal operations innovator

Matt is the Managing Director of the GLS Group, a leading legal disruptor that delivers 24/7/365 access to the worlds largest legal operations platform offering productivity tools & resources that help in-house legal teams to achieve far greater productivity outcomes through the deployment of legal operations led legal team interventions.

Be it by AI based contract reviews, contract automation solutions or by architecting high-performance legal teams, GLS Group provides access to world class legal ops solutions at a disruptive price point.

A former Big Law technology lawyer, Matt has been responsible for the development of 500+ technology enabled tools that extend what in-house legal resources can achieve for in-house legal teams. 

Legal operations efficiency outcomes 

Matt is an industry leader in helping in-house teams achieve far greater performance outcomes with fewer resources. He has helped hundreds of in-house legal teams improve their performance with pin point efficiency implementations. 

Matt regularly implements productivity legal team productivity solutions to legal teams of all sizes across the globe and has helped them achieve external legal budget compression ratios of 1:10 and time task compression ratios that routinely exceed 1:20.

Simon Bryan | Principal

Simon is a co-founder and principal of the GLS Group, a leading legal disruptor that delivers 24/7/365 access to world-class legal solutions. Solutions that enable in-house teams and law firms to achieve far greater productivity outcomes.

Be it by AI based contract reviews, contract automation solutions or by architecting high-performance legal teams, GLS Group provides access to world class solutions at a disruptive price point.

Prior to founding GLS, Simon was a partner in a leading global law firm where he built a pre-eminent TMT/IPT practice in the EMEA region.  Simon also held a number of prominent senior in-house roles, including the first Acting General Counsel of TwoFour 54, Director of Group Legal for one of the Dubai Holding Group entities (heading 49 group companies) and Chief Legal Officer & Director of Business Affairs at the Doha Film Institute.  Simon also founded a magazine distribution and publishing company in Hong Kong. 

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Legal Ops Tools: The Simple Checklist

The simplest tool for legal operations excellence

5 mins • 02 Apr 20

The Checklist

A checklist is a potent knowledge technology that is drastically under-utilized by the legal industry. At a time when more must be done better with less – it’s time to revisit the role of the checklist.

In this legal operations white paper, we examine why checklists are not being used enough by the legal profession, what a good checklist looks like, and what benefits it can bring to your in-house legal team.

SOME INSIGHTS

Whilst it is true that the courtroom instincts of a litigator or a seasoned negotiator take time to hone… and that a sliver of aged grey hair can work magic – the reality is that much of lawyering simply entails:

  • spotting, mitigating, and addressing issues that cause problems; and/or
  • following procedures, typically for similar types of transactions/projects/cases.

Today, knowledge and experience can be readily captured, arranged, and retrieved on a global basis instantaneously, including via software, at costs that are bordering on negligible.

Simply put, massive amounts of knowledge and experience can actually be captured in tool-based repositories such as simple checklists and made available to everyone.

So, why then doesn't the average in-house lawyer ("IHL") make much better use of the humble checklist? Is it due to:

  • lawyers traditionally being reluctant to systematically reduce their art to process?
  • IHLs being too busy to stop and prepare them?
  • a cultural hangover from private practice days - where the “to death do us part” love affair with billable hours shunned efficiency initiatives?

Nonetheless, checklists are a fundamental aspect of efficient legal operations - perhaps being the single most potent driver of workflow automation and process quality control.

BENEFITS IF THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED WELL

"Most lawyers, whether they are conscious about it or not, have mental checklists they follow… and by shifting the paradigm from art and craft to process, we can improve quality, efficiency and results.” - Francisco Ramos Jnr.

The benefits of a checklist are innumerable and include:

  • Memory - it’s easy for us to forget things – checklists prevent that from happening
  • Aggregate Wisdom - a well-maintained checklist aggregates your IHL's experience/capabilities
  • Leverage - junior members can replicate the issue-spotting capabilities of senior team members
  • Quality Assurance - checklists are the dutiful servants of essential Quality Assurances
  • Compliance - checking off what is required makes it easy to identify non-compliant issues
  • Time - you can get through tasks far quicker – freeing up more time for strategic matters
  • Delegation - a strong checklist and a teammate with common sense make delegation easier
  • Consistency - checklists make it easier to achieve consistent levels of performance across your whole legal team
  • Empowerment - team members have the tools to keep things moving forward
  • Standards - checklists allow you to define a single improving standard for your IHL team
  • Automation - checklists/points drive workflows through a “pass and proceed” methodology

CHECKLISTS AND LEGAL OPERATIONS

"We have to do a lot of thinking as lawyers. Anything that frees us from having to think about something makes our lives better and us more productive."  Tim Green

As you can see from the above list of benefits, the humble checklist can deliver an exponential boost to any IHL's operational agenda – driving time task efficiency and leveraging quality assurance.

Implementing checklists in a slightly more comprehensive and systematic way into a legal function is a much easier undertaking than many other transformation projects, making them a critical first step.

The simple paradigm shift required for you to harness the power of a checklist to underpin perpetually improving legal operations is easy – you simply need to start to reduce:

Practice to Process and Process to a Checklist

If the medical industry can reduce something as complex and as high stakes as heart surgery into a series of checklists – a legal function can certainly create a checklist/checklists around common support constructs.

Again - IHLs benefit tremendously when they inculcate a "checklist culture" into their daily operations. It costs nothing but time to prepare one – and that time is infinitely repaid going forward.

Here are the Top 10 Features of a quality checklist to help you to start preparing your own world-class checklists:

  • Author - they are prepared by people that know the task comprehensively
  • Complete - all issues that should be included must be included
  • Order - issue orders must flow logically
  • Scope - it should not contain matters that don’t need to be checked
  • Short - a checklist should be as short as possible
  • Usability - they must be super easy to use
  • Aggregate - the broadest possible range of experience you can access
  • Maintained - things change – including the issues of the day, their importance, and how to respond
  • User - checklist must be designed for the specific user (e.g is the user an IHL or non-legal?)
  • Tested - you should regularly test how your checklist performs

THE GLS SOLUTION

As with most things, you could take the principles contained in this whitepaper and produce a checklist for yourself. The problem with that, however, is that you may not have the time or the expertise to do so.

As always, GLS can help to shift many aspects of legal operations away from the less reliable “art of lawyering" towards a more reliable “process” based approach that drives performance and consistency.

We have a wide selection of checklists based upon:

  • Agreements: common commercial agreements (including our Top 10 Legal Docs - The Work Horses)
  • Transactions: basic transaction-type activities (e.g. due diligence)
  • Compliance: a selection of key compliance topics (e.g.data privacy)

Indeed, we are in the process of building the world’s largest library of legal checklists as their role in underpinning effective legal operations is critical. 

NEXT STEPS

Click here, if you want to see what checklists we have available (scroll down to see our range of checklists).

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Certification & Training

GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 2:  Foundational Legal Department Policies & Prioritization Theory

80 mins • 30 Mar 20

asset-management-concept-2021-09-01-22-38-13-utc.jpg

GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 2:  Foundational Policy Legal Department Policies & Prioritization Theory


Speakers

This seminar will draw upon the legal operations implementation experiences of these great speakers:

Matthew Glynn | Managing Director

Legal operations innovator

Matt is the Managing Director of the GLS Group, a leading legal disruptor that delivers 24/7/365 access to the worlds largest legal operations platform offering productivity tools & resources that help in-house legal teams to achieve far greater productivity outcomes through the deployment of legal operations led legal team interventions.

Be it by AI based contract reviews, contract automation solutions or by architecting high-performance legal teams, GLS Group provides access to world class legal ops solutions at a disruptive price point.

A former Big Law technology lawyer, Matt has been responsible for the development of 500+ technology enabled tools that extend what in-house legal resources can achieve for in-house legal teams. 

Legal operations efficiency outcomes 

Matt is an industry leader in helping in-house teams achieve far greater performance outcomes with fewer resources. He has helped hundreds of in-house legal teams improve their performance with pin point efficiency implementations. 

Matt regularly implements productivity legal team productivity solutions to legal teams of all sizes across the globe and has helped them achieve external legal budget compression ratios of 1:10 and time task compression ratios that routinely exceed 1:20.

 

Simon Bryan | Principal

Simon is a co-founder and principal of the GLS Group, a leading legal disruptor that delivers 24/7/365 access to world-class legal solutions. Solutions that enable in-house teams and law firms to achieve far greater productivity outcomes.

Be it by AI based contract reviews, contract automation solutions or by architecting high-performance legal teams, GLS Group provides access to world class solutions at a disruptive price point.

Prior to founding GLS, Simon was a partner in a leading global law firm where he built a pre-eminent TMT/IPT practice in the EMEA region.  Simon also held a number of prominent senior in-house roles, including the first Acting General Counsel of TwoFour 54, Director of Group Legal for one of the Dubai Holding Group entities (heading 49 group companies) and Chief Legal Officer & Director of Business Affairs at the Doha Film Institute.  Simon also founded a magazine distribution and publishing company in Hong Kong. 

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

What is covered in this Seminar: 

Prioritisation Decision Making: How to make decisions in the face of finite resources.

Legal Dept. Domain: Understanding the legal dept.’s responsibility domain.

Policy Audit: How to assess the adequacy of your legal & compliance landscape.

Achieving Policy Resonance: Maximising organizational resonance of your Contracting Policy.

Policy Development: Developing a prioritized policy development and backfilling strategy.

back

Back

News / Press Releases

GLS & The Middle East Legal Awards 2020

Innovation Through Technology - Private Practice

2 mins • 24 Mar 20

GLS was successful in being recognized by its legal industry peers in winning the Middle East Legal Awards 2020: “Innovation through Technology | Private Practice

So we would like to share our journey through this Awards process with you - not least of which because of the support you have provided us to date.

Here are what we feel personifies the GLS brand of innovation:

  • We launched The GLS Legal Operations Centre - the most comprehensive legal operations resource platform across the Middle East, Asia and Africa - access is also entirely free
  • We have helped countless in-house legal teams ("IHLs") achieve external spend compression ratios of 10:1.  i.e. every US$1 an IHL team spent on GLS tools resulted in a US$10 saving for their external budget
  • We helped transform countless IHL teams (both MNC and sole regional counsels), to digitize their operations and enhance their value recognition within their businesses
  • We made sure every solution & resource was affordable to any IHL team globally by offering flat, non-discriminatory pricing that is not more than 20% of what a traditional law firm could offer
  • We shared our Proprietary Thinking on how IHLs can make resourcing decisions as part of a strategic, transformation agenda
  • We made cutting-edge legal tech affordable and accessible to all businesses (including contract automation, AI billing review, automated compliance dashboards and AI-based contract review)

Thank you very much to the MELA Awards Committee - we are proud to have built a business characterised by the above.

 

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Legal Ops Tools: The Legal Department Service Charter

How is your legal team being judged and why?

10 mins • 11 Feb 20

Stop Guessing Start Knowing placard with bokeh background

Legal Ops Essentials: The Legal Department SLA

Are you happy with how the performance of your in-house legal team is being judged? No? Do you have a Legal Department SLA .... or Legal Department Service Charter as we call it - in place? Quite possibly not.

A Legal Department Service Charter sets out for your in-house legal team and your internal clients the operational frame of reference for your legal department – including the service levels you will offer your clients.

A Legal Department Service Charter is without doubt a legal operations team essential. Without it corporate counsel have little chance of being judged and lack the ability to prioritize its operations and resources.

In this blog, we discuss the problems a legal team can face when it operates without a Legal Department Services Charter ... along with the benefits it can bring … and how easily and quickly you can implement one of your own.

Low legal team value recognition

GLS has observed a positive and consistent correlation between in-house legal teams that do not enjoy optimal value recognition and the absence of a clearly articulated and authoritative Legal Department Service Charter.

The Legal Department Service Charter sets out the performance levels that your General Counsel has agreed that the legal team will offer to the Business.

If you do not have a Legal Department Service Charter it makes it extremely difficult for your legal team to have its performance judged fairly.

What does a legal department SLA do?

The Legal Department Service Charter has two primary purposes:

Legal team focus

FIRSTLY: it serves as a reference for your team members, defining a focus, direction and context for their efforts and contributions – the team's function & purpose and the means to achieve it.

By providing clear directions as to the purpose and objectives of the team, the legal services it is to offer, and ways of working, the LDSC keeps the team focused on the right activities and maintains critical departmental momentum.

Greater legal team focus and greater legal efficiency can only be achieved if your legal team understands its role and performance expectations.

Obviously, important data analytics should be conducted on your ability to meet the standards of your LDSC. All legal teams should be conducting this basic level of data analytics over its legal operations.

Legal team engagement

SECONDLY: critically, it educates the internal clients and wider business units as to what your in-house legal team actually does – providing understanding of a department's purpose heavily influences how it is used.

The LDSC also prescribes how internal clients should interact with the IHL and what they can expect from their interactions with the IHL team – bringing clarity around your IHL’s role and performance.

Sadly, too few IHLs consciously implement LDSCs, resulting in “mandates” that evolve into existence as a business grows, without the same deliberate intent as many other business areas benefit from.

Legal Transformation agenda

A board’s charter is a vital instrument that clearly defines the roles, responsibilities and authorities of the board of directors and sets the direction for the management and control of the organization.

Similarly setting boundaries, establishing authorities and clearly communicating expectations around the performance of your legal function is critical, particularly given the growing pressures IHLs face.

Businesses are increasingly expecting IHLs to perform miracles and deliver unlimited legal support, in real time, with little/no turn-around time – an unrealistic expectation that is hard to manage without an LDSC.

The IHL’s responses need to be clinically precise and increasingly customer centric but also have a much sharper sense of operating priorities – something hard to deliver without a clear LDSC asset.

As you can - if you do not have a LDSC in place - what then would be the objectives of your legal transformation planning as you seek to improve the performance of your legal team and set your legal ops agenda?

Operating without a legal department SLA

We consistently observe that in-house legal teams operating without a meaningful LDSC frequently experience some, if not all, of the following performance challenges:

  • No Man’s Land: the IHLs seem to just exist – operating in a kind of "no man’s land" in terms of authority, reporting, autonomy or mandate
  • Unfair Performance Assessment: the team’s performance is undervalued in part due to a lack of clear performance criteria against which it should assessed (i.e. - its hard to conduct legal analytics on performance)
  • Opaque Engagement: unclear / no formal rules / guidance around how the business should engage with its IHLs
  • Disorientated Productivity: being busy is not the same as being “productive”. Without a clear and consistent objective, in-house legal team capacity is wasted on out-of-scope matters
  • Perception of Low Performance: in-house legal teams are judged against constantly shifting goal posts, exacerbated by frequent pressures to undertake tasks that are not within their domain of expertise
  • Inadequate Resourcing: regularly being asked to reduce budgets and IHLs being unable to defend budget decisions, resulting in a perpetual firefighting modus operandi
  • Blame: in-house legal team become the scapegoat whenever things go wrong, because the perception is that they are responsible for everything
  • Perpetual Fire Fighting: in-house legal team operate on a reactive footing, rather than preemptively working with the business to pro-actively control the utilization of IHL resources

The benefits of a Legal Department Services Charter

Excessive uncertainty is a miserable problem for in-house legal team and their internal clients to deal with. The absence of an LDSC perpetuates the corrosive impact of operational uncertainty.

By using an LDSC to remove that uncertainty, your legal function can begin an operational transformation that is increasingly characterized by the following performance features:

  • Platform Legitimacy - the LDSC delivers you and your team a clear and legitimate platform that the business can understand and respond to
  • Clear Responsibility Delineations - the LDSC should be clear on the domains of responsibility inside your business and such endorsements should ideally be delivered from the Board level
  • Authority - your LDSC should capture you authority within the business
  • A Clear Operating Protocol - a clear standard operating procedure for how the business should engage with the in-house legal team and vice versa is available to your business
  • Focus on the Internal Client - an increasingly client centric protocol to your business – something that will be appreciated by the internal client, whilst also effectively managing expectations
  • Work Prioritization - your LDSC will enhance your ability to manage finite team resources – decisions can be made in light of agreed/endorsed priorities
  • Internal Client Validation - the basis for you to objectively demonstrate your in-house legal team's contributions via empirical data comes into existence – performance against agreed priorities can be assessed
  • Legal Budgeting legitimacy - in-house legal team budget requests can increasingly be supported by hard data that shows the effectiveness of your strategic planning and how you have discharged your mandate
  • Increased IHL Team Morale - morale is improved as the team’s recognized mandate and operational boundaries are more clearly understood and operational uncertainty is eased

The GLS Legal Ops Solution

As with most things – you could take the principles contained in this blog and produce an LDSC for yourself. The problem with that is, if you are like most in-house legal team, you simply do not have time to do it.

Fortunately, and this is the point of the GLS Legal Operations Centre, we have developed a world class “ready to go” LDSC that you can quickly customize and implement into your business ecosystem.

The GLS Legal Dept. Service Charter™ has been developed by former GCs, Board Directors and C-Level executives to be functional, understandable and provide a clear and authoritative charter for your IHL.

Legal Ops Essential: The GLS Legal Department Service Charter

GLS Legal Dept. Service Charter™ will help you:

  • clearly and authoritatively delineate your in-house legal team domains of responsibility
  • capture your in-house legal team's authority within your business
  • set the terms of engagement for your business
  • set clear expectations for your in-house legal team
  • help set the context for better prioritized decision making
  • help legal transformation from an "Old Law" to a “New Law” footing
  • optimize the utilization of your budget and resources with better financial management
  • deliver better results for your internal clients verified with legal analytics tools
  • get better recognition for the results that you deliver to your internal clients
  • get serious about your legal transformation agenda.

So, if you believe your legal department is being judged unfairly, or having trouble setting your legal ops transformation agenda - chances are you need to spend some time putting in place an appropriate Legal Department Services Charter. 

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Contracting Policies: Eliminate weakness in your contracting function

The Most Effective Drivers of Contracting Infrastructure Efficiency

15 minutes • 20 Jan 20

Woman presenting teamwork concept

GENTLE INTRODUCTION

The Contracting Policy ("CP") is perhaps the simplest and most potent efficiency initiative that any IHL can instigate – it is easy to implement and drives verifiable efficiencies across the entire contracting process.

Given the criticality and visibility of contracting in any organisation, this is an area where IHLs can garner “big wins” and the support of the wider business as they transform their operations.

Sadly, the absence of a comprehensive CP is yet another classic case of the In-House Community being too busy to find the time to become less busy.

Fortunately, this no longer need be the case.

This article explores the massive inefficiencies caused by the lack of a CP, the benefits of getting your CP right and how quickly you can implement one to drive optimal contracting within your organisation.

CONTEXT

Contracting is critical to all businesses. As a business enabling corporate instrument it can drive significant competitive advantages to businesses that do it well, whilst driving greater value recognition for the IHLs that make it work.

Contracting helps businesses secure new revenues, partners, products, markets, funds and IP whilst also supporting compliance activities.

If there was any doubt about this – you only have to consider the number of critical business processes that are impacted by contracting – See GLS Top 10 Work Horse Contracts

It is also the legal department’s most visible support function.

"Yet all too often corporate contracting occurs in a haphazard, uncoordinated, undisciplined manner that results in sluggish contract closure times, sub-optimally performing contracts and frequently, criticism of legal department support."

 

Yet, most organisations (in excess of 80%) do not have a single organization wide contracting policy to support their contracting function – instead they rely on a hotchpotch of informally maintained positions.

To overcome this, IHL’s must themselves take the responsibility for defining clear and succinct rules of engagement when contracting with third parties.

Before offering tips on the incredible efficiencies that a Contracting Policy can bring, lets quickly revisit the price IHLs pay for not putting in place self-authored Contracting Policy in place.

CONSEQUENCES OF UNDERLYING PROBLEM

By not defining your own organization wide contracting policy, you are likely to face any, if not all, of the following challenges:

Inconsistency - potential for your teams to take ad hoc and inconsistent position on the same issues

Orientation – no defined position means that the organsiation lacks a consistent basis for review

Legal Risk – legal risk profile inconsistencies as team members exercise discretion on legal risk issuesTool production – an inability to efficiently develop new tools to improve your contracting function

Leverage & Delegation – an inability to leverage up juniors and/or delegate contracting cycle roles

Training – an inability to engage in highly practical training with actual quality contracting assets

Inefficient queries – your legal team has to field often-repeated, avoidable, user queries

Improvement – an inability to benchmark performance and actively improve contracting performance

Coordination – your team is susceptible to “divide & conquer” as you lack a clear policy position

Legal Tech – an inability to properly utilize new legal technologies as these rely on the rules set out in your essential policy assets (which are not available)

Reputation – an inability to utilize efficient contracting to boost organization (and legal team) reputation

Costs – excessive legal consultant costs due to your inability to offer efficient legal position briefingsPerformance – your ad hoc approach to contracting results in sub-optimal contracting performance

Despondency – the internal client is regularly frustrated with the quality of IHL support

Legal Operations – are denied an coherent and transparent basis for assessing contracting function performance

"The bottom line is that an inability to access a consistent organization wide contracting position causes huge inefficiencies across every aspect of the contracting function – it effectively suffocates the prospects of efficiency."

BENEFITS OF THE CONTRACTING POLICY

Implementing your own contracting policy significantly eliminates and/or mitigates most of the above issues.

In particular, by utilising an effective Contracting Policy you will experience:

Faster contracting – contracting moves more efficiently without the need for continual clarification

Team unity – all members of your contracting team have a common position to secure

Review quality - contract reviews become an objective matter of compliance with contract policy

Empowerment - your legal team and the internal client are empowered to do more for themselves

Cost efficiencies – if external counsel support is required, it is obtained as efficiently as possible

Risk profile – you increasingly engender a more consistent, and desirable organisational legal risk profile

Reduced escalation – legal can focus on genuinely counterparty issues, not standard positions

Benchmarking – you know have a basis for benchmark your overall approach to contracting

Team satisfaction – morale improves as team members are empowered to move matters forward

Leveraged performance –junior team members (and commercial personnel) can safely achieve more themselves

IHL Value recognition - IHL team is viewed as a business enabler rather than as a choke point.

Less Errors - reduced human error as IHLs need not rely on imperfect memory

Legal Tech – the essential legal policy positions to effectively enable legal tech becomes available

KPIs – objective and sensible KPIs that can be developed to defend your budget and demonstrate ROI

In short, the IHL team is better placed than ever to fulfill its essential mandate which is to (i) be a guardian of legal risks, and (ii) promote the commercial interests of the business.

TRANSFORMATION CORNERSTONE

The benefits of having a Contracting Policy are quite literally innumerable – but perhaps the most potent point to make is that without it your contracting function can never be truly optimized.

To demonstrate the criticality of a Contracting Policy to the optimal performance of a contracting function, the below diagram shows the powerful efficiency “ripple effect” of this essential legal dept. policy asset.

There is simply no part of the contracting process that is not improved through the use of a high quality Contracting Policy asset.

This makes it the perfect foundation stone of any contacting function transformation exercise.

Note that the CP is also an enabler of formidable legal tech tools (e.g. contract automation and A.I. review tools). So, if you have not developed your CP then you cannot optimize such tools.

SO, WHY DON’T YOU HAVE ONE?

Given that a CP is a powerful initiative that any team could itself implement – i.e. it is an easy "win" – why do so few IHLs have a single, defined, organisation-wide CP?

The most cited reasons for not having a Contracting Policy in place include:

  • Time: self-authoring such a policy asset carries a significant internal time cost for already busy teams
  • Herding cats: getting a legal team, let alone an entire organisation, onto the same page is not easy
  • Reference Points: an inability to efficiently access reference points as to what should be included
  • Reference Models: what should the policy look like?
  • Doubt: concerns over whether getting agreement on a single position is possible
  • Overlooked: the impact of policy on overall contracting function performance has been overlooked
  • Complexity: certain IHLs misconceive that their contracting needs are too diverse and complicated to be captured in a single document
  • Jurisdictions: the misconception that operating across borders means standard positions aren’t possible
  • History: like most things in the legal industry – lawyers tend to embrace change glacially
  • Fear: will it work?, no longer do any of the above reasons represent an obstacle to the efficient implementation of your organisations contracting policy.

GLS has done the hard work for you!

THE GLS SOLUTION

GLS has developed a world class, fully worked up, “off the shelf” policy asset, that IHLs can take, customise and use as the basis for their Contracting Policy – this is qualitative, quick and cost-effective lawyering.

GLS Contracting Policy™ develops an aligned view of your business's contracting policy - making better, faster, cheaper and safer contracting possible.

By way of guidance, a very "casual"/easy to accommodate project timeline for implementing GLS Contracting Policy™ would be 4 weeks – with only a handful of hours required from your in-house team.

GLS Contracting Policy™ releases powerful efficiencies into every stage of the commercial contracting process – from drafting, negotiation and closure to training and administration.  

Prepared with the "user" in mind, GLS Contracting Policy™ is a tool that is as practical as it is functional, and which is easy to maintain.

GLS Contracting Policy™ delivers unprecedented legal resource optimisation and more efficient legal risk management – and most importantly, an inbuilt feedback mechanism ensures it is always improving.  

CONCLUSION

The contracting function is a critical and highly visible role performed via IHLs. It presents a unique opportunity to deliver noticeable improvements to how your internal clients are served.

The Contracting Policy asset will, as a matter of fact, determine the quality of ALL of your contracting resource elements.

A continued disregard for the importance of a Contracting Policy to overall function performance will only fetter the the ability of your contracting function to perform at optimal levels.

The question now is simply – are you ready to implement a contracting policy of your own?

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Performance Managing Your External Legal Counsel

15 minutes • 15 Jan 20

Performance management

In-house legal teams (IHL) have for years universally agreed that law firms must drastically change the way they operate if they are to be a sustainable and valued support construct for IHLs – but little has changed.

Despite the deafening roar of IHL demands for “value”, law firms have proved intractable – conceding only tokens of “renovation” (e.g. contract lawyers), and not real “innovation” – a sharp focus on value building.

While customers drive change, including in the legal industry, IHLs must accept that merely demanding “value” is not enough – they must define value, communicate it, insist on it, and performance manage it.

While it is all well to criticise external counsel about their inefficient performance, if IHLs have not set the bar in terms of what they expect, then they too are part of the problem. Most IHLs do not do this.

Now, all IHL teams using external counsel regularly must look for ways to move their relationships with law firms onto a performance managed basis for the fuller “value” expression to emerge.

This article explores the problems caused by poorly performing law firm relationships, the benefits of getting it right, and how you can quickly implement a performance managed relationship with law firms.

REWARD FOR EFFORT: NOT SO REWARDING

Most IHLs report that they would like to use law firms more frequently but find that law firms are too slow to mobilise, often miss the mark, and cost too much. This is a poor outcome for all parties.

“Clearly, the traditional construct for law firm engagements is not delivering IHLs what they need.”

The notion that legal procurement is so special that it need not conform with typical “procurement best practices” is rapidly losing traction inside most corporates. Value definition in advance is essential.

A customer seeking upfront clarity on deliverables, price, delivery and usability assurance and strong contract/ relationship management are near widely accepted basic procurement principles.

Regrettably, the “reward for effort” (i.e. hourly rate) models of law firms have inculcated a reluctance to ceding to expectations that these widely accepted procurement principles should be observed by law firms.

To overcome this, IHL’s must themselves take the responsibility for defining clear and succinct rules of engagement for their external law firms, which embody their own procurement and value principles.

Before offering tips on what a “value creating” construct with a law firm looks like, lets quickly revisit the price IHLs pay for not putting in place self-authored Guidelines For External Counsel.

THE CONSEQUENCES

Whilst we cannot cover all of the consequences that flow from the absence of a “performance managed” construct with law firms, we have picked on the major areas of blowback experienced by IHLs.

Costs

By not defining your own protocol for cost management (e.g. acceptable and permitted rates / charging / billing / costs) you are likely to face challenges associated with:

  • Bill size – not only eye watering, but frequently in excess of the initial quote
  • Billing transparency – sparse/opaque work descriptions make bill validation difficult
  • Bill reconciliation – extensive time is required to check narratives, rates, disbursements, etc
  • Resource depletion – external counsel fees consume available IHL budget at a disproportionate rate
  • Outdated practices & inefficiencies – you see little evidence of efficiency tools and practices usage
  • AWOL expertise – the “expert” firm you appointed seems to engage in excessive research
  • Resource overlap – multiple lawyers spending time on the same matter/task without explanation
  • Unique disbursements - lawyers on your matter all seem to eat at Nobu after 6pm with a taxi home
  • Cost forecasting – your actual external costs are outstripping the forecasted costs
  • Painful conversations – “billings” conversations overshadow what should be a trusted relationship

 

Value articulation

Engaging any kind of external resource requires precise articulation of the “value” yield in advance.

By not defining your own protocol around “value”, you are likely to face challenges associated with:

  • Opaque deliverables – very few objective deliverables are being offered to you
  • Reward for effort – you are paying for effort (including a firm fixing its own errors), not outcomes
  • Advice usability – you receive “law reviews” instead of the “practical” advice you want
  • Unhelpful metrics – the only performance metric you are offered are hours consumed
  • Knowledge transfer – few of your assignments result in objective knowledge transfer to your team
  • Business knowledge – counsel are not putting much effort in to understanding your business
  • Team improvement – few strategies are being offered to help upskill and improve your team
  • Performance management – law firms do not typically performance manage client accounts
  • Cross pollination – you are not being offered learnings from the law firm’s other clients
  • Expert experience – you are not benefitting from firms telling you what has worked best in the past

 

Responsiveness

Most matters that relate to mobilising a law firm can and should be capable of agreement in advance. By not defining your own protocol around engagement matters, you are likely to face challenges with:

  • Delaying engagement – due to their burn rate – you are tempted to delay law firm involvement
  • Time to engage – even if you want to engage, it takes too much time to mobilise counsel
  • Sluggish mobilisation – law firms requiring unnecessary information / detail
  • Conflict clearance – conflict clearances generally take far too long
  • Partner bottlenecks – law firm remuneration issues often present keyhole access to wider resources
  • Reporting – you find yourself chasing law firms for updates, not the other way around
  • Reactive advisory – firms only do what you tell them rather than tell you what you need / works best


Partnership

A true partnership is two or more parties working in unison towards a common goal. How can “reward for effort” ever be aligned with your objective of “achieving more with less, better, faster and cheaper”?

Failing to spell out what you expect from your law firm in terms of partnering with you means you are likely to face challenges with:

  • Trusted advisory – you want long term trusted advisory, but you only get “rented advisory”
  • Pay or pause engagement – unless you are paying, firms do not seem to want to engage
  • Narrow shoulders – firms tend only do what you ask them to do and what you will pay for
  • Blinkered Delivery - firms are not looking to see how they can also support your broader team agenda
  • Unmotivated – firms that are not offered incentives to be holistically engaged are less likely to do so
  • Confusion - counsel is likely unclear about what you are actually looking for and act accordingly
  • Validation - firms validate their contribution by profits, not how well you realised your goals
  • Alignment - you want a good job done efficiently – law firms want scope creep
  • Enabled advisory - you to know what you can do and how, you want to know what you cannot do or why you cannot


BENEFITS OF A ROBUST RELATIONSHIP CONSTRUCT

Implementing your own engagement protocol significantly eliminates and/or mitigates most of the above issues together with a whole host of other issues we have not had time to cover in this short article.

With the right relationship scaffolding in place, your relationship with external counsel can deliver positive results in the following areas:

• Trusted advisory - your lawyers can increasingly serve you as trusted advisors and not meter maids
Better procurement - knowing precisely what you want delivers better procurement choices
Cost control - eliminate unauthorised costs and improve integrity of cost forecasting/management
• Value - clearer articulation of business enabling support you expect to receive and verification you got it
• Knowledge Transfer - greater knowledge transfer into your team
• Business enabling advice - greater contribution by counsel to “business enablement”
Agility - faster and more responsive mobilisation – getting you the support when you need it
Client knowledge - counsel start to advise from a deepening understanding of your business
Reporting - clearer and more succinct lines of communication across matters & the relationship
Faster payments - law firms can get paid faster
Smoother relationship - discussions around dashed expectations diminish
Performance management - that delivers constant and measurable improvement, not just a lunch
Motivated counsel - counsel that are incentivised to deliver value across a broad front

In short, an “informed environment is a controlled environment” and unless you inform counsel about how you want your affairs managed, you will continue to be trapped in the sticky “reward for effort” web.


SO, WHY DON’T YOU HAVE ONE?

The new “value building” construct between IHLs and law firms must be defined by IHL teams themselves – and let’s be honest – Law Firms aren’t falling over themselves to move you away from reward for effort.

This “ownership” proposition makes an abundance of sense, as it is the increasingly complex agenda of IHLs that must be supported through prioritised allocations of scare resources.

The most cited reasons for not having external counsel guidelines in place include:

  • Time: self-authoring such a policy asset carries a significant internal time cost for busy teams
  • Reference Points: an inability to efficiently access reference points as to what should be included
  • Reference Models: what should the policy look like?
  • Doubt: concerns whether law firms would accept such guidelines given the value of your account
  • Overlooked: the idea of performance managing a law firm had simply been overlooked
  • History: like most things in the legal industry – lawyers tend to embrace change glacially
  • Fear: will it work?

Interestingly around 85% of our client base historically did not have such policies in place and those that did reported that it was produced at huge internal time cost to their teams.

Fortunately, no longer do any of the above reasons represent an obstacle to the efficient implementation of a performance managed construct between you and your law firms. GLS has done the hard work for you!

THE GLS SOLUTION

GLS has developed a world class, fully worked up, “off the shelf” policy asset, that IHLs can take, customise and use as the basis for their law firm relationships – qualitative, quick and cost-effective.

GLS’ Guidelines for External Legal Counsel™ delivers you a comprehensive, world class policy instrument covering a wide range of best practices to help performance manage your external counsel relationships.

Guidelines for External Legal Counsel™ is predicated on a good relationship construct being one that delivers performance and budgetary certainty, with tangible value creation that transfers back to your organisation.

Covering 37 unique policy and/or process considerations, Guidelines for External Legal Counsel™ enables you to build effective relationships which support a wide range of IHL team objectives on optimised terms.

Realistically, unless you can magically find the time to produce this vital policy asset – you are unlikely to implement it. Our solution gives you a complete policy that you can quickly customise, for just USD999.

Indeed, the cost of implementing your own law firm guidelines based on GLS’s Guidelines For External Counsel™ will be recovered multiple times over from the savings secured on your subsequent legal bills.

 

CONCLUSION

Improving the quality of your relationship with external counsel is not only about cost control, it is also about ensuring you receive demonstrable, on-point, and ideally recurring, value for your business.

The answer therefore lies in building up a clear understanding around what your IHL considers valuable and then enlisting your law firms in the process of joint goal realisation insofar far as they can contribute.

Expecting law firms to voluntarily offer a new basis for “value building” engagement is naïve. In “Law Firm Land” – widespread rises in PEP levels translates to a poor case for behavioural course correction.

IHLs that continue to resist implementing general procurement norms in their engagements with external counsel increasingly risk losing control of their procurement decisions.

GLS enables the IHL community to rapidly implement a performance managed framework that breathes a fresh air into the traditional law firm relationship while eliminating unacceptable inefficiencies.

In line with all our disruptive offerings, the cost of this solution is almost negligible and the only question an IHL team faces is “why haven’t you got on with it … your law firm certainly isn’t going to draft it for you.”

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

GLS Legal Docs

Proper Technology Driven Legal Industry Disruption

1 min • 12 Sep 19

signing-legal-document-2021-08-26-22-28-00-utc_2.jpg

Think about the quality of cars, air travel, TVs, mobile phones, clothing, medicine - they’ve all gotten better, whilst becoming more cost accessible.

GLS is pleased to be able to show the world that technology is capable of achieving the same "better quality at lesser cost" outcome in the legal industry.

First, we automated world-class legal documents and took them online for you to access at any time and for around 50% of the cost that would be charged by a decent law firm.

NOW WE ARE DISRUPTING OUR OWN DISRUPTION

Now, we have reworked our technology and refined our proposition.

Now, our growing range of world-class legal docs costs around 10% of comparable market prices.

If we offer a legal doc through GLS Legal Docs™, there are now simply no more excuses for a bad version of that document to ever be circulated again!

Our world-class online library of automated legal documents now includes:

  • Basic legal Docs (e.g. board and shareholder resolutions) for US$19
  • High Utility Commercial Docs (e.g. service agreements) for US$299
  • Complex Policy Docs (e.g. privacy policies) for US$499

Regardless of the document type – it should always be GLS world-class

TRY IT FOR YOURSELF

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Certification & Training
Technology Demonstration

What A.I. means for the Legal Industry

Artificial Intelligence & Real Lawyers

15 mins • 01 Aug 19

Artificial intelligence in law

 The Robots are coming…

Well, it is at least true to say that “Legal Tech” is a theme that has been dominating the news and thought in the legal industry of late.

After centuries of being some of the slowest adopters of technological innovation, it appears that we have finally reached a “turning point” such that Legal Tech will be a key force defining the next chapter of the legal industry’s evolution.

In this article, we will be focusing on what we consider to be one of the most promising areas of Legal Tech – contract review powered by artificial intelligence (“A.I.C.R.”).

A.I.C.R. is being widely touted as both the savior of and end of the lawyer. We certainly have a view on which outlook is correct!

With all the hyperbole around we wanted to “cut through the fluff” and point to where the real innovation is happening and how that innovation can be most productively harnessed by in-house teams of any size.

So with this article, we seek to give some:

  • real insight into what is the current “state of play” of A.I.C.R. technology; and
  • practical insight into how that technology can be incorporated into a lawyer’s day-to-day work.

Explaining the jargon

In the same way that the term “drone” seems to now refer to everything in the air that had previously been called a “remote controlled [x]” the term “A.I.” is being used so frequently now, that it is often hard to know what exactly is being talked about.

So for clarity, “A.I.” in the context of the Legal Tech being discussed in this article refers to the combination of 2 distinct technologies:

“Machine Learning” and “Natural Language Processing”

“Machine Learning” refers to a piece of software that can be taught/trained, without the need for explicit programming.

That is, the application is trained to look for patterns in data that it is presented with, and learn from those examples to increase the chances that its future decisions will be “better”.

In the context of Legal Tech, this “learning” typically falls into the subsets of “supervised” and/or “reinforced” machine learning.

Meaning that the datasets presented to the software are “labeled examples” and ideal behaviors are reinforced within a specific context to maximize performance.

As an example, GLS LegalSifter (our A.I.C.R. solution) is presented with examples of “indirect liability” clauses (circa 10,000 examples) with the characteristics of a “successful outcome” being continuously identified and reinforced.

Natural Language Processing (“NLP”) refers to the interaction of computers and human language. With the objective of getting the software to read and ultimately “make sense” of human language in a valuable way.

This is a very hard thing to achieve. Overcoming the ambiguity and imprecise characteristics of human language is a difficult thing to translate into an algorithm.

However, NLP essentially boils down to applying algorithms to a language set in order to identify and extract the natural language “rules” that can be converted into a form that computers can understand.

The Result

By combining Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing together, A.I.C.R systems such as GLS LegalSifter result in software that is trained to look for and identify “legal concepts” and provide in context advice.

This is analogous to having an incredibly advanced version of the beloved “Ctrl + F” function.

The difference being that, for example, the software is not just looking for the words “indirect liability” but rather it is looking for anywhere where the “concept” of indirect liability appears (regardless of the specific words that are used to express it).

Other uses for A.I.

Many efforts are currently also being made to apply A.I. to:

  • Due Diligence – i.e. performing due diligence with the help of AI tools to uncover background information.
  • Litigation Analytics – i.e. using A.I. to provide statistical probability forecasts of litigation outcomes.
  • Intellectual Property – i.e. using A.I. tools to analyse large IP portfolios and drawing insights from the content.
  • Electronic Billing – i.e. using A.I. to compute lawyers’ billable hours and combat “time loss” (the bane of so many “traditional” firms).

Debunking some Common Myths

A.I. will replace lawyers

In the same way that the Excel spreadsheet did not replace accountants, A.I. is not a lawyer replacement.

A.I. is a lawyer “enhancement” in that it is a tool to be used by lawyers to get more done better, safer, faster, and cheaper. 

The view taken with GLS LegalSifter is that a Lawyer + an Algorithm is better than either by itself. 

A.I. is easy to use

Yes and No.

Like driving a car - at first there are too many actions, too many instruments and too much to coordinate, but after some practice (ideally with an instructor) you have the car moving along effortlessly.

Users will typically experience a productivity “J-Curve”. That is, their productivity will likely diminish the first few times they use an A.I.C.R. tool – as time will be spent learning how it works and how best to use it. 

Ultimately however, systems like GLS LegalSifter are very easy to learn. So typically by the 5th / 6th document reviewed, users notice very significant productivity gains.

A.I. costs a fortune

Actually, yes it does... to develop.

Making a good A.I. system is very difficult, very expensive and needs collaboration with a cutting edge institution of the likes of Carnegie Uni.

However, the best A.I. systems (like GLS LegalSifter) are now being sold as SaaS. So set up, licensing fees, server capacity and maintenance are all available to “end users” for less than the cost of an Adobe product license.

A.I. can automate document production

No.

Clever software engineering is used to create document automation (e.g. GLS Legal Docs). However, this is not “A.I.”.

Rather “Automated Document Production” is created by "real lawyer intelligence" working with software engineers to design logic pathways + user interfaces + input criteria + predetermined outputs.

A.I. software is plug and play

Yes and No.

A.I.C.R. systems like GLS LegalSifter can work “out-of-the-box”. However, it is most productive when you use it in coordination with your essential “low tech” contracting infrastructure. 

So take the time to populate your A.I. system with your Group Legal Policies, Clause Banks and Playbooks – which if you do not already have – then you should.

Tech hyperbole generally

A.I. is “hot right now” and its promise for Legal Tech is very compelling. 

However SaaS reps and marketers have, sometimes, also reached a point of self-caricature. 

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

A.I. can fix your contracting processes

A.I. as a tool is an “accelerator” or “enhancement” not a replacement of your legal review processes.

If you have done the ground work to build good low-tech contracting infrastructure – A.I. will make these processes work faster and better.

If your contracting processes and infrastructure are garbage - A.I. will just make that infrastructure produce garbage outcomes more quickly.

Read THIS ARTICLE on how best to get your “low tech” right before your reach for the high tech.

A.I. vs Your Day-to-Day Operations?

In our experience, the businesses that have most effectively and productively incorporated A.I.C.R. into their contracting infrastructure have implemented at least 1 of the following process flows.

We believe that in the not-too-distant future, the vast majority of lawyers will never look at a complex document without the help of A.I.

Again, the point to emphasize here is that a Lawyer + A.I.C.R. is there to:

  • ensure that nothing is missed - meaning that work can be delegated to more junior staff (or done by sleepless staff) to enhance margin but with the risk of “human error” being removed ;
  • reduce the “review time” needed for a lawyer to physically get through a document. Thereby freeing that lawyer’s capacity to negotiate truly key issues and contribute strategically to driving the deal forward; and
  • ensure that your contracting tools (e.g. Contracting Policy, Clause Bank, Playbook, etc.) are efficiently and consistently applied across your contract portfolio – even when you are dealing with third-party paper.

Is A.I. Worth It?

For better or worse (obviously for the better!), lawyers will not be eliminated anytime soon… 

However, A.I.C.R is increasingly becoming an indispensable tool for those lawyers because, realistically, the following benefits can’t be ignored:

  • Consistent application of Group Legal and Compliance policies
  • Shifts lawyer time from “issue spotting” to "risk assessment" and "strategic advisory"
  • Significant reduction of time required to review documents and provide responses
  • A.I. “learns” so retention and effective utilization of “deal memory” is enhanced
  • Significant reductions in human error
  • Tools can be calibrated for both professional and non-professional users
  • A.I. adopters better understand new contract support function which 
    increasingly is defined by A.I. tool competencies
  • Enhanced junior &non-lawyerr training by providing instant "in context" advice

In summary, by helping lawyers sift through large amounts of data quickly and safely, A.I.C.R. systems such as GLS LegalSifter can enable lawyers to provide better client outcomes faster and therefore cheaper.

To help you assess whether those productivity gains are worth the costs of A.I.C.R. we include the below feedback from GLS LegalSifter for your consideration:

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

Conclusion

To access and maximize the productivity gains potential of A.I.C.R. for yourself, you should first take the time to ensure that your existing, low-tech, contracting infrastructure is primed and ready.

Whilst there are many myths, misunderstandings, and false expectations swirling around A.I.C.R., particularly in the context of contract review, represents an option for genuine and substantive productivity gains.

A.I.C.R. is certainly something that is here to stay AND it is also available to be tried and experimented with by companies and law firms of any size. 

If you would like a free consult on how to best incorporate A.I.C.R. into your day-to-day practices OR to have a 2-week free trial of GLS LegalSifter then book an appointment with GLS by Clicking Here.

back

Back

Certification & Training

GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 1: In-House Legal Team Challenges and a Framework for Legal Ops decision making

GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 1: In-House Legal Team Challenges and a Framework for Legal Ops decision making

1 hr • 17 Jul 19

Decision making 2

GLS Legal Ops Masterclass 1: In-House Legal Team Challenges and a Framework for Legal Ops Decision Making

WHAT'S COVERED?

In-House Challenges and the RPLV Response

An introduction to the challenges faced by in-house lawyers and the Resources | Priority | Leverage | Validation (“RPLV”) decision-making framework to leverage team performance.

  • In-house challenges
  • RPLV Decision Making
  • The New Law Legal Team

 

Speakers

This seminar will draw upon the legal ops implementation experiences of these great speakers:

Matthew Glynn | Managing Director 

Legal operations innovator

Matt is the Managing Director of the GLS Group, a leading legal disruptor that delivers 24/7/365 access to the worlds largest legal operations platform offering productivity tools & resources that help in-house legal teams to achieve far greater productivity outcomes through the deployment of legal operations led legal team interventions.

Be it by AI based contract reviews, contract automation solutions or by architecting high-performance legal teams, GLS Group provides access to world class legal ops solutions at a disruptive price point.

A former Big Law technology lawyer, Matt has been responsible for the development of 500+ technology enabled tools that extend what in-house legal resources can achieve for in-house legal teams. 

Legal operations efficiency outcomes 

Matt is an industry leader in helping in-house teams achieve far greater performance outcomes with fewer resources. He has helped hundreds of in-house legal teams improve their performance with pin point efficiency implementations. 

Matt regularly implements productivity legal team productivity solutions to legal teams of all sizes across the globe and has helped them achieve external legal budget compression ratios of 1:10 and time task compression ratios that routinely exceed 1:20.

Simon Bryan | Principal

Simon is a co-founder and principal of the GLS Group, a leading legal disruptor that delivers 24/7/365 access to world-class legal solutions. Solutions that enable in-house teams and law firms to achieve far greater productivity outcomes.

Be it by AI based contract reviews, contract automation solutions or by architecting high-performance legal teams, GLS Group provides access to world class solutions at a disruptive price point.

Prior to founding GLS, Simon was a partner in a leading global law firm where he built a pre-eminent TMT/IPT practice in the EMEA region.  Simon also held a number of prominent senior in-house roles, including the first Acting General Counsel of TwoFour 54, Director of Group Legal for one of the Dubai Holding Group entities (heading 49 group companies) and Chief Legal Officer & Director of Business Affairs at the Doha Film Institute.  Simon also founded a magazine distribution and publishing company in Hong Kong. 

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

What you will get from this seminar:

Industry Inflection: An overview of the new in-house paradigm

Challenges: An overview of the issues faced by IHLs

Decision Making: A realistic framework for New Law transformation decision making

New Law Team: What does a New Law legal team look like?

Obstacle: The obstacles you can expect on a transformation journey

The IHL Voice: Hear from other in-house counsel

back

Back

Top 10 Rules For Developing A World Class Legal Template Library

10 mins • 09 Jul 19

group-of-orange-books-on-wooden-table-2021-09-04-03-51-09-utc.jpg

One of the greatest sources of inefficiencies (and frustration) inside an In House Legal (“IHL”) team is the lack of a world-class legal template library, despite universal agreement on the benefits they deliver.

A standardised world-class legal template library is one of the single most productive resources that any IHL team can develop and yet most internal attempts to create one either fail or fall well short of the mark.

Law firms are engaged on an ‘as-needed’ basis to draft templates, but what is produced more often than not misses the mark and involves great expense. Or has your experience been different?

Regardless, in the context of transformation, IHL teams must again look at this category of critical legal resources and achieve maximum productivity leverage – ideally with a minimal resource commitment.

In this short blog article, we will share with you:

  • a re-cap of the benefits of a best practice template library;
  • what most IHL teams’ template libraries tend to look like;
  • the 5 top reasons why most teams fail to develop a best practice template library;
  • our Top 10 principles for developing a best practice legal template library;
  • a premium audit tool that you can download (for free) to help you start to build your own world-class library; and
  • how GLS can help you efficiently and effectively deliver a “World Class” library to your business.

If a world-class legal template library has eluded you – you are not alone. Nine out of ten IHL teams are dissatisfied with the performance of their legal template libraries - this blog tells you what you need to do.

The benefits and legal team transformation

Operating a best practice template library is quite simply a bedrock principle of any IHL team and is an essential step in an IHL team's transformation journey.

The benefits of maintaining such a library include:

  • expedited contract generation which in turn delivers strategic deal momentum;
  • high user familiarity, easy navigation and easy negotiation;
  • driving a more consistent application of approved group legal policy principles;
  • facilitating more consistent and leveraged training opportunities to up-skill users;
  • becoming a single source of approved legal templates;
  • providing greater risk mitigation control over 3rd party contracting scenarios;
  • driving faster deal closure and more reliable contract administration with more contracts concluded in writing;
  • the potential to leverage new contract automation and review technologies;
  • significant reduction of the "lawyers time" spent assembling new agreements on a case-by-case basis; and
  • setting the stage for exponentially greater legal team efficiencies.

In summary, its sets the scene for the delivery of “business enabling” contracting support – i.e. it helps your business get deals done better, faster, cheaper and safer.

See our recent Blog – Top 10 Legal Docs – The Workhorse for our analysis of the benefits of the kind of “business enabling” contracting that can drive legal team value recognition.

What do most template libraries look like?

Sadly, the vast majority of businesses are not operating best practice template libraries and the above benefits remain beyond their reach.

Indeed, most template libraries are characterised by:

  • a mess of ad hoc templates pulled together from independent authors/sources of disparate quality;
  • uncertainty amongst users as to what templates should be used in any given situation;
  • templates that lack consistency across boilerplate, structure, clause progression and schedules – items that should usually stay the same across most contracts;
  • templates that do not consistently give your business an “optimal” starting position;
  • templates that cause negotiation drag as irrelevancies are needlessly reviewed and debated;
  • templates requiring significant customisation before being ready for deployment, thus slowing down deal momentum;
  • templates that are not balanced and so consistently take too long to agree with a counterparty;
  • templates that are stored in multiple and decentralised locations resulting in inconsistent use or even non-use;
  • too many variations of each legal agreement (e.g. different services agreements for each service scenarios when a single template would work for most scenarios);
  • templates that have not been updated in a long a time, resulting in them being dated by reference to best practice, brevity, market practice, local law, etc; and
  • templates that are not ready for automation or wider technology leverage.

Invariably, such template libraries fail to win the confidence of the business.

In the face of the above challenges, it is not uncommon for unapproved decentralised libraries to appear throughout a business and usurp the legal team altogether.

Why?

Given the irrefutable benefits that flow from a best practice template library, the obvious question that begs to be answered is:

why are so many IHL teams unable to get around to implementing best practice template libraries?

Well, the short answer is that in the “real world” of an IHL, the task of whipping templates into shape has historically never been an easy task.

The main reasons for the failure of a best practice template library to emerge are as follows:

  1. Time: IHL teams are just too busy "being busy" and attending to "business as usual" to find the time to undertake this exercise – this is by far the number 1 reason and as more is expected from IHL teams, finding that "free time" becomes even more difficult;
  2. External Cost: traditional law firms cost too much and have a propensity to complicate these types of assignments – especially when business is now demanding shorter templates that are easier to use;
  3. Herding Cats: trying to get all internal stakeholders into the same room – let alone getting them onto the same page or aligned on the same clause – is a challenging exercise;
  4. Legacy Issues: teams tend to inherit templates and changing them can frequently be a politicised event – the legal team boss or the affected business units actively resist change, being content with the “devil they know”; and
  5. Policy Deficiency: 8 out of 10 IHL teams do not have a documented and standardised contracting policy that would provide the essential policy direction for a truly standardised template library.

If you are nodding your head in agreement with these reasons then, in our experience, you will be doing so alongside the vast majority of in-house lawyers.

The good news is that the GLS Legal Operations Centre is loaded with numerous solutions to the above challenges.

Before that though, we would like to share with you the Top 10 Rules that you can use to create your own template library.

Top 10 Rules For A World Class Legal Library

Here are our Top 10 Rules – the very same that we apply to the maintenance of our world-class, fully automated online legal libraries in the GLS Legal Operations Centre.

  1. De minimis: a world-class library consists of the bare minimum number of templates needed to cover the 80% (volume/type) of contracting scenarios faced. More templates is not more – it often just leads to more mess.
  2. Contracting Policy: your template library should deliver a uniform legal and compliance risk profile so you must have a documented “Contracting Policy” – without this your library will not be optimised or defined by reference to a common, authoritative standard.
  3. Clause Bank: first into your library must be a Clause Bank that makes up 75% of any agreement – i.e. clauses that cover Boiler Plate, Interpretation, Legal and Definitions. Your Clause Bank must “bake in” your Contracting Policy.
  4. Users: templates libraries must be built with the end user in mind – which is not always the legal team – it is often the commercial leads, the project implementers and the contract administrators. So keep your templates super simple.
  5. Standardisation: standardisation drives a world-class library and should occur at every level of your templates - definitions, look & feel, numbering, structure, clause progression, boilerplate and schedule level should all be consistent;
  6. Usage Rules: your library must include a fixed set of rules governing usage scenarios, access, legal review and editorial control … and in time, ideally, how the templates should be negotiated;
  7. Centralisation: there should only be one legal template library in any organisation – the power of a “single source of the truth” is a great ally when delivering efficient, compliant and reliable contracting solutions;
  8. Checklists: you do not always get to work on your own paper so for every contracting scenario where you cannot assert your own terms, you must have a potent checklist to efficiently review third-party paper;
  9. Maintenance: your library must be built for maintenance efficiency – if you have leveraged the power of standardisation, edits can be efficiently propagated across a library and drive perpetual improvement; and
  10. Technology: your legal templates must be prepared so that when the time is right – they can yield even greater efficiency outcomes by the use of technology – i.e contract automation, contract management systems, etc.

You and your library – what can you do?

In the context of IHL transformation – optimising the performance of your legal template library is now a must – its productivity "ripple effect" is immense, with many outcomes that can be empirically captured.

Accordingly, it is time for all IHL teams to develop strategies to improve the performance of their legal template libraries.

Here are 2 ways GLS can help you:

If You Do it Yourself:

Step 1: GLS Best Practice Library Checklist: if you wish to upgrade your templates yourself – please download our Best Practice Library Checklist (see download link below) - a tool that enables a detailed audit of key library assets.

Step 2: Visit the GLS Legal Operations Centre: to access a wide range of modular Template Libraries and solutions for every aspect of assembling a world-class legal template library.

These solutions will massively reduce the time, cost and effort required to create your own best practice template library.

  • GLS Contracting Policy™: your business’s contracting positions across all key legal risk provisions all in 1 document.
  • GLS Clause Bank™: a repository of approved contractual clauses to cover 75% of any agreement, that precisely reflect your legal & compliance requirements.
  • GLS Checklists™: a comprehensive checklist of essential issues, making rapid review of third-party paper a truly simple task.
  • GLS Playbook™: a contracting support tool that instantly equips your contract negotiators with a world-class knowledge of i) how each key clause works, and ii) how to effectively negotiate those clauses with counter-parties.
  • GLS Automation Readiness™: a proprietary methodology that leads you through the entire life-cycle of the automation process to help you achieve implementation success.

If You Let us Do It:

GLS can develop for you a customised world-class legal template library.

GLS has developed world-class template libraries for some of the largest MNCs globally. We utilise a bespoke methodology that allows for user-friendly templates to emerge.

Our products are rapidly emerging as the pre-eminent sources of truly world-class legal documents that can be accessioned online 24/7/365 at totally disruptive price points.

We now offer you the choice of:

  • Full library access
  • Access to specific categories of precedents
  • Single precedents
  • Supported Packages

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please do check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page that might be able to assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. And of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult to discuss your transformation needs - book here

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

So you think in-house lawyers are not important?

8 minutes • 13 Jun 19

In-House legal documents and online legal precedents

In-house lawyers (“IHLs”) must verifiably deliver far more with far less, and in an overall climate where the business community they serve continues to question the tangible value they represent.

All too often you hear it said “Our business doesn’t need a lawyer because lawyers …

  • … are just a cost centre that doesn’t make us money.”
  • … don’t really contribute to the key aspects of the business.”
  • … cannot help us achieve our corporate goals.”

IHLs must actively debunk such misconceptions if their full value expression is to be recognised, and if they are to set the scene for making the even greater strategic contributions now required.

This article seeks to aid this process by shining a much-needed light on the criticality of IHLs. We do this by viewing their role through the simple prism of a common IHL role - contracting support.

Some IHLs may not have a true sense of the value of their contract support role simply because it feels routine. This blog highlights the value of that role and The GLS Legal Template Solutions that allow IHLs to leverage it.

Key to vital business processes

Consider this: Critical work is not done by unimportant people.

As can be seen from the below infographic, within a typical business an IHL’s contract support role brings it into contact with more of the vital business processes than almost any other job function.

The potency of an IHL’s contracting can and does materially impact the ability of a business to initiate, sustain and optimise the vital business processes that drive overall business performance.

The correlation between the work of the IHL and business performance is direct and absolute - yet, value recognition for that role remains low.

Familiarity should breed authority, not contempt

Sadly, however, the above contracting scenarios are frequently considered “garden variety”, despite them relating to vital business processes, and this frequently leads to low IHL value recognition.

As such, it is critical that IHLs remind themselves (and their businesses) of the importance of the support they provide - if IHLs cannot appreciate what they do, then no one else will.

Our recent article Top 10 Legal Docs - The Work Horses looks at 10 common agreements whose business-criticality is unquestioned yet frequently overlooked.

Clearly not everything IHLs do is new, exciting and glamorous – but the criticality of the role, and the potential for additional strategic contribution, frequently resides in its “business as usual” nature.

To bear the point out, by supporting vital business processes of their business the importance and value of the IHL grows considerably as they:

  • contribute to the architecture and implementation of almost all vital business processes;
  • are proximate to and best understand those vital business processes;
  • typically operate across and beyond the bounds of “business unit” and geography; and
  • often acquire a more holistic understanding of the overall business.

The unique IHL vantage point affords insights, relationships, knowledge, mobility and visibility across the business which, if leveraged correctly, can allow for enhanced IHL strategic contributions.

Indeed, the ability to make even greater strategic contributions increases dramatically if an IHL is consistently recognised as delivering “business enabling” contracting support to their business.

Leveraging business-enabling legal contracting

A “business-enabling” approach to contracting is about delivering reliable contracting outcomes to a business in a better, faster, cheaper and safer manner.

The ability to deliver “business-enabling” contract support requires the use of world-class legal templates to drive a qualitative contracting experience that features:

  • a clear and continued focus on desired outcomes – the “what are we trying to achieve” and creates the conditions needed for those outcomes to emerge;
  • documents that are easy to work with – i.e. documents that can be understood, reviewed, amended and administered with ease;
  • documents that set the deal up for success by being absolutely clear on each party’s respective rights and obligations;
  • key-stakeholder time not being diluted by “white noise” issues/negotiations;
  • external consultants being used only for matters that genuinely require their expertise;
  • the power of “plain language drafting” to quicken understanding and the contracting process; and
  • the building of cross-party deal rapport that sets the groundwork for successful long-term commercial relationships.

By contrast, using “any old” contract template to support a vital business processes is like building a house upon sand – you are using weak foundations which reinforce a diminished view of the value of IHLs.

Try GLS Legal Docs™ for Free – Create an NDA

The use of “business-enabling” contracting has the following impacts of IHL value recognition:

If, by any chance you are not convinced by this proposition, simply ask your internal client what kind of contract experience they would prefer...

The mirror reflects what is there

In many ways the quality of a legal template library reflects the value a business places on its IHL - just as heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight reflects one’s overall physical health.

IHLs should therefore ask themselves – are their templates:

  • strategic “business enabling” assets - i.e. are they are part of a high IHL value recognition environment?
  • a mish mash of ad hoc and variable quality documents – i.e. are they are part of a low IHL value recognition environment?

If your templates are not "business enabling" assets you are likely to also experience low IHL value recognition.  

After all, if your business does not value you, why would it give you the best tools?

Universal access to business-enabling legal templates

Whilst historically only the biggest, most generously funded IHL teams have had access to high quality template libraries – now anyone can access and afford this resource via The GLS Legal Template Solutions.

The GLS Legal Template Solutions are an online, fully curated and automated library of self-editing world-class legal templates that allow you to deliver contracting solutions for the most common business scenarios.

For as little as a few hundred dollars, The GLS Legal Template Solutions enable IHL teams of all sizes to pivot towards “business enabling” contracting and command greater IHL value recognition.

Now IHLs of all sizes can access legal templates that deliver a "business enabling" experience that in turn will drive IHL value recognition and page the way for greater IHL strategic contributions.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Top 10 Legal Docs - The Work Horses

Strong foundations aren't visible

15 minutes • 13 Jun 19

workhorses

Ten foundational legal documents underpin the majority of the vital processes present in most businesses. At GLS, we call them the “Work Horses” and in far too many businesses they are not being cared for correctly. 

In a world defined by technology and innovation the attention of the in-house lawyer (the “IHL”) can easily stray towards the “next big thing” and away from their dutiful servants, the Work Horses.

Yet, the Work Horses account for, or underpin, much of the economic value of a business. When performing properly they facilitate stability, transparency and optimised business performance.

In this Blog we provide the IHL community with a timely recap of the strategic importance of the Work Horses – a message that should be passed on by IHLs to their businesses.

Indeed, one of our most disruptive IHL recommendations is to recognise that the Work Horses are the diet, exercise and sleep that drives the overall well-being of your business, and they are easy to optimise.

“Business-enabling” Work Horse templates are an essential inclusion for any legal template library and are the cornerstone of a highly-effective legal resource leverage strategy that allows IHLs to:

  • maximise their impact on business fundamentals;
  • create a platform for even greater strategic contributions to their business; and
  • drive greater IHL value recognition.

The GLS Legal Operations Centre ™, holds our world-class online library of automated legal templates, can help you deploy a definitive Work Horse strategy that allows you to do the simple things exceptionally well.

Try our GLS Legal Docs for free -  create an NDA

Work horses & their strategic importance

Not everything IHLs do is new, exciting and glamorous – but the criticality of the role and the potential for greater strategic contributions frequently resides in its “business as usual” nature.

In the below infographic we have identified 5 irrefutably vital processes present in most business and identified the Work Horse agreements that enable or underpin those processes.

Whilst the Work Horses identified above might, at first blush, seem “garden variety”, this does not, for a second, diminish their potential strategic importance to a business.

As such, it is critical that IHLs remind themselves (and their businesses) of the importance of the support they provide via the Work Horse - if IHLs cannot appreciate it, no one else will.

In the remainder of this Blog we help IHLs identify some of the many ways that the Work Horses can make substantive and qualitative contributions to vital business processes.

Supply Chain DocumentsInformation Documents

Sales Agreement

Services Agreement

Purchase Orders

Website T&Cs

Privacy Policies / Data Processor

Non-Disclosure Agreement

When drafted well these:

Recognise supply chain criticality

Optimise supply chain performance

Support vendor performance management

Facilitate faster deal closure and renewal

Place focus on vendor performance

Reduce the need for procurement/legal support

Reduce the need for external consultants

Preserves management time

Makes contracts that are easier to manage

Improve vendor relations

Enable “deal memory”

Reduce incidence of disputes

Encourage efficient dispute resolution

Facilitate supply automation/workflows

When drafted well these:

Enable critical information flows

Make it easier for parties to deal with you

Facilitate third-party commercial dealings

Promote safer data collection practices

Reduce GDPR type risk exposure

Enhance a business’s reputation

Enhance responsible data user status

Protect your own valuable data

Mitigate data usage risks

Protect the monetary value of information

Accommodate flexible business growth

Facilitate data leverage growth

Facilitate online trading

Protect your online assets

IP/IT Documents

Human Resource Documents

IP Licenses

IP Assignment

Employment Agreement

When drafted well these:

  • Recognise the vital role of IP assets
  • Protect key business IP assets
  • Allow for IP asset register growth
  • Drive up the valuation of your business
  • Allow for IP asset monetisation
  • Enable IP assets to be used as loan collateral
  • Reduce the risk of third party IPR claims
  • Allow for R&D to occur more efficiently
  • Can reduce capital requirements

When drafted well this:

  • Recognises criticality of human assets
  • Makes it easier to attract top talent
  • Creates positive first impressions
  • Explains roles and responsibilities
  • Locks in employee generated IPR
  • Enables employee performance management
  • Delivers performance incentives
  • Recognises that employee disputes do arise
  • Mitigates the risk of employee claims
  • Smooths out bad hire departures
  • Protects a business from reputational risk
  • Protects against client/employee solicitation

Finance Documents

Loan Agreement

When drafted well this:

  • Reflects that cash is a business’s runway
  • Evidences availability of funding
  • Reduces financing costs
  • Ensures security packages are proportionate
  • Ensures that operations are not inhibited by external parties
  • Reduces compliance costs
  • Provides lenders with sensible “default terms”
  • Facilitates cash flow stability
  • Facilitates low-risk business growth

Business-enabling legal contracting

Given the centrality of these Work Horses to your most vital business processes, it is critical to have them in a condition that maximises their strategic contribution to those processes  and drives IHL value recognition.

The potency of your Work Horses can and does materially impact the ability of your business to initiate, sustain and optimise the vital business processes that drive its overall performance.

“These contracts need to be well thought out and well drafted 

and can be crucial to the success of a business.” -  Forbes

However, for many businesses the condition of their Work Horse templates does not reflect their significance to the business. Indeed, many businesses have precedent libraries that:

  • are a mess of ad hoc templates pulled together from various sources of varying quality;
  • are legally sound but are impenetrable to "non-lawyers" and take far too long to agree with a counter-party;
  • are stored in multiple and decentralised locations resulting in inconsistent use;
  • are updated irregularly and fail to inspire user confidence; or
  • do not reflect a consistent legal risk profile, usually reflecting the absence of an authoritative legal risk policy.

In contrast, using top quality Work Horses means facilitating a contracting experience that involves:

  • documents that are easy to work with – i.e. quick to read, quick to be understood by “non-lawyers”, quick to agree, easy to amend, easy to review and easy to administer;
  • documents that set the deal up for success by being absolutely clear on each party’s respective rights and obligations;
  • documents that do not waste key-stakeholder time on “white noise” issues/negotiations;
  • documents that mean that external consultants are used only for matters that genuinely require their expertise;
  • documents that enable the building of the kind of cross-party deal rapport that sets the groundwork for successful long-term commercial relationship; and
  • a clear and continued focus on desired outcomes – the “what are we trying to achieve”, and creates the conditions needed for those outcomes to emerge.

For as little as a few hundred dollars, GLS gives IHL teams, of all sizes, access to the kind of “business enabling” Work Horse templates that will drive greater IHL value recognition.

The GLS Legal Template Solutions provide an online, fully curated and automated library of self-editing world-class legal templates that deliver contracting solutions for most common business scenarios.

Indeed, for the cost of what you may have last spent on a lunch you may access, on an unlimited basis, all of the 70+ legal documents available via The GLS Legal Template Solutions.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please do check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page that might be able to assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. And of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult to discuss your transformation needs - book here

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

News / Press Releases

Recognising Innovation

GLS Nominated For Most Innovative Law Firm Asia Pacific 2018

5 minutes • 22 May 19

FT

Journalist Cat Rutter Pooley of the Financial Times wrote some incredibly kind words about GLS and our ongoing quest to innovate the legal industry. Her Special Report was released alongside the confirmation that GLS had been shortlisted as "The Most Innovative Law Firm in the Asia Pacific" and is reproduced below.

 GLS would like to extend its sincere appreciation to the Financial Times for its recognition and to Cat for her generous praise and kind words. Whilst GLS's primary motivation has always been, and remains, to make world-class legal services more accessible to businesses, it is obviously very gratifying to know that our efforts in this regard have been noticed and recognised.

Financial Times Special Report - Law firm Experiments in Getting Things Done

Cat Pooley’s Review of GLS Law Firm – Shortlisted as the Most Innovative Law Firm Asia Pacific 

While some leading firms have backed the growing law-tech scene, other developments in the region have been driven from outside the traditional law firm structure.  “Rejecting technology and efficiency is a logical step when you rely on the billable hour” says Matt Glynn, a former private practice lawyer who was spurred to found Global Legal Solutions (GLS), a tech-driven business based out of Singapore.

GLS offers its clients both legal advice and technological answers to legal problems. Firms have experimented with alternatives to charging by the hour, such as value-based billing or fixed-fee arrangements, but the time sheet remains at the heart of most private practice business models.

GLS’s law firm arm operates differently, however. It uses a technology platform to help its lawyers, most of whom completed their training (and at least 5 years PQ) at international firms, to answer what the company describes as the “80 percent of legal problems all businesses have” for 20 percent of the cost.

We don’t do the publicly listed deals,” Mr Glynn says, “because most companies don’t. For “bet-the-farm” mergers and acquisitions deals, there is no one better than a Slaughters or a Linklaters . . . But they have no business going in and charging $600 an hour for reviewing an employment contract,” he adds.

The GLS Law Firm innovation is not simply a question of offering external legal professionals to clients as needed to help them cut in-house salary bills. GLS does that, but Mr Glynn says: “You can only do cheaper manpower once.

It has instead also developed sets of templates, legal policies and negotiation playbooks, plus technology that can automate other common processes for clients, as well as offering add-on technology to help troubleshoot for in-house counsel once the initial work is done.

Moreover, it supports smaller businesses that lack the internal resources of global firms.

We’re still trusted advisers. We’re just now free from time sheets, with a new platform and new working practices, and we are solving challenges,

Mr Glynn

Visit the GLS Legal Operations Centre

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please do check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page that might be able to assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. And of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult to discuss your transformation needs - book here

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Why do I need a Services Agreement?

7 minutes • 17 May 19

Create a custom Services Agreement with GLS

What is a Services Agreement?

The Services Agreement is the “work horse” legal agreement of the global business community, facilitating millions of essential commercial service interactions each day, but all too frequently its true “business-enabling” potential is not realised.

Parties looking to provide services like to get paid, and parties receiving services only like to pay for services properly provided. Given such obviously aligned interests, Services Agreements should perform reliably – but all too often they don’t.

Most businesses feel that the Services Agreement contracting process takes too long to conclude, often involves too much legal expense and generally results in sub-optimal delivery, or in the worst-case scenario, litigation from contractual disputes.

In this article we share with you the basic insights that can allow you to better harness the business-enabling potential of the humble Services Agreement.

A “business-enabling” Services Agreement that can be agreed between parties with minimal time, cost and fuss can be accessed here.  Given how critical it is to the conduct of business, every business needs an efficient Services Agreement solution.

Create your custom Services Agreement by clicking HERE

The Role of the Services Agreement

The Services Agreement allows businesses to source essential services or skills which a business is unable, or less well placed, to provide for itself. Almost all businesses rely on another business for the provision of services at some point.

From a holistic viewpoint, the documentational universe of a service provision arrangement typically includes:

  • the Services Agreement: the basic terms and conditions upon which the services will be provided and payment is made.
  • the Purchase Order: an instrument under the Services Agreement allowing the customer to call for service provision under the Services Agreement or one which describes such services, and includes its own legal terms and conditions.
  • the Service Level Agreement: either a standalone agreement or an instrument within the Services Agreement that articulates the specific service levels,     how they are measured and reported and what happens if they are not attained.
  • the Master Services Agreement: an overarching agreement that governs the provision of a range of services on pre-agreed terms that can be available to a company or group of companies, frequently operating globally.

Depending on the level of sophistication of a business – a service provision arrangement might comprise some, or all, of the above. However, it all amounts to the same thing – a business needing services support and the service provider looking to be paid for that support.

Unquestionably, the Services Agreement, as one of the most essential forms of legal co-operation between businesses, is just as important to smaller businesses as it is to multi-national companies. All businesses need a robust Services Agreement solution.

The Benefits of a Services Agreement

The benefits of a “business-enabling” Services Agreement are as profound as they are simple – the parties get out of the agreement what they intended when they went into it.

Both parties benefit from a well-defined Services Agreement. The Services Agreement keeps the relationship within the agreed parameters and if properly constructed, motivates and incentivises an accountable form of delivery that keeps the parties aligned.

“Without question, every business needs a robust Services Agreement in order to drive effective, productive and efficient business engagement."

If businesses can implement more effective service provision arrangements (i.e. outcomes achieved) in a more efficient manner, the net contribution to the overall level of business activity of each party, and the global economy, would grow exponentially.

So given the evident benefits of a “business-enabling” Service Agreement, why then does this all too frequently prove elusive? The answer is that parties all too often are placing negotiation effort in the wrong areas.

Why do Services Agreements fail to perform as they should?

The irrefutable reality is that most Services Agreements do not fail to deliver a lack of clever words included in the contract by lawyers. The root cause of failure is far more basic than this.

Most Services Agreements fail to perform as hoped because the parties fail to reach a clear and mutual understanding on the following essential matters:

  • What is to be provided and by whom?
  • How is it to be provided and by when?
  • How proper service delivery will be recognised?
  • What happens if the services are not properly provided?
  • How much does it cost and when is payment required?

Whilst painting with a broad brush, there are three key factors why both parties' attention are not focussed enough on the above “essentials”:

The Rush: all too often parties think a deal must be signed “now” at the expense of clearly articulating the above essentials. A “business-enabling” deal will only ever emerge when alignment on essential points emerges – so take your time.

The Leverage: Service Agreements are mostly produced by the service provider, who would typically leverage your needs for a prompt solution to their advantage by insisting on asymmetric legal risk terms.

The Lawyers: lawyers tend to direct the focus on what happens if things go wrong and not on what it will take for success to occur. Planning for risk eventuality is not wrong – but it cannot crowd out the opportunity to encourage successful performance.

Getting what you need from a Services Agreement means reviewing the Services Agreement to ensure that it deals with the essentials whilst securing sensible legal risk allocation in a time frame that keeps up the vital deal momentum.

How can you achieve a “Business-Enabling” Services Agreement?

With the Services Agreement being one of the absolute fundamentals of a strong business, including a “business-enabling” Services Agreement template in your arsenal of corporate assets is essential. Fortunately, getting it right is not as difficult as you might think.

Given that a Services Agreement is concluded hundreds of thousands of times per day, there really isn’t any magic in how to conclude a good one. However, for the reasons described above – optimal service-based contracting frequently eludes the parties. 

What if there was a different way? What if all the essential pre-sets for a “business-enabling” contract - good industry practice, acceptable industry risk allocation - were already dialled in so that parties can focus on the basics?

“What if you could adopt or start with a Services Agreement template that allowed the parties to focus their energies on the essentials of service delivery?”

The Global Legal Solutions automated Services Agreement delivers precisely this - and in minutes. By following an online interview, a world class Services Agreement can be produced for you in minutes and allow you to be focussed on the essentials.

If focus is not placed in the right areas, the opportunity to conclude business is itself in jeopardy. The inability to conclude a contract quickly can result in the opportunity going cold.

A Services Agreement from a traditional law firm can cost thousands of dollars, and in many cases, tens of thousands of dollars, and when customisation may be required with each piece of new business, that too can result in significant annual expenditure.
 

A traditional law firm may charge you thousands of dollars and take days or weeks to turn around a Services Agreement.  The Global Legal Solutions platform takes minutes and only costs USD $799 and includes a 30 minute expert consultation.

To build your own Services Agreement, dialled in to all the things that matter, allowing you to tailor the agreement to your country of operation and business needs, click here to begin.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please do check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page that might be able to assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. And of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult to discuss your transformation needs - book here

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

GLS Quick Quotes

GLS In-House Insights: Does your firm move fast enough to help?

7 minutes • 16 May 19

digitial_group_of_people.jpeg

Few would argue that costs are a huge barrier to accessing external legal support. However, those with budgets point to a more practical obstacle, namely the ‘time cost’ of engagement.

Many In-House counsel share the common challenge of it simply taking too long to agree on scopes of work, obtain reliable quote(s), and therefore being unable to engage external support in real time.

If it takes too long to engage external support then accessing their capacity and expertise ceases to represent a viable resourcing strategy - placing further pressure on the In-House team.

Accordingly, an In-House external counsel management strategy that not only manages external provider costs but ensures that external providers are mobilised rapidly is in and of itself a valuable resource.

In this piece, we identify the legacy challenges associated with engaging external providers and outline strategies to help make that process more efficient, including using GLS Quick Quotes™.


Try GLS Quick Quotes™ - a fully costed legal proposal in 30 minutes.


The Challenge for legal counsel

In most cases need for external support arises on short notice and the support is needed in a hurry. Almost every brief requiring external support is time-sensitive.

Yet the process of engaging external support invariably involves a process that is itself time intensive and tends to look like this:

  • Preparing a scope of work
  • Identifying appropriate providers
  • Sending briefs
  • Clearing conflicts
  • Responding to clarifications
  • Waiting for finalised proposals
  • Comparing different proposals
  • Raising your own queries
  • Receiving clarifications
  • Reviewing updated proposals
  • Appointing provider
  • Finalising the engagement
  • Project/matter kick-off

The 'time cost' In-House teams incur working through the above steps can be significant and increases exponentially in the case of international transactions and new market work.

Ironically, the pressure that In-House legal counsel face to reduce external costs by sourcing through a multi-provider strategy (e.g. usually 2-3 quotes) results in increased ‘time costs’ for each engagement.

What In-House counsel get back

Ask any In-House lawyer and they will express amazement at how different, and at times, incomparable, the responses from different providers can be to the same request for services.

Making an “apples to apples” comparison of service provider proposals is not always possible, particularly where different pricing and project assumptions are used.

 

 

Whilst the notion of a “panel” would alleviate some of the above difficulties, very few businesses operate a panel given the restraints it places on sourcing competitively.

All too often the In-House team elects not to engage external support and assumes the workload itself – adding further to its resource crunch and potentially denying it the expertise it might require.

 

Tips for driving efficiencies

Whilst much of the above process engagement process is inevitable, there are things that the In-House team can do to expedite many parts of the process, including the following:

  • Initiate Early: raise your request for support as early as you can
  • Scope: get this as precise as possible to reduce the potential for clarifications
  • Assumptions: define the assumptions providers can use regarding the scope of work
  • Deliverables: clearly state the deliverables that you wish to receive
  • Pricing: insist that all providers use common pricing assumptions that you provide
  • Clarifications: aggregate and communicate all queries to providers at the same time
  • Format: dictate the format for response to allow for a straight-line comparison
  • Minimalism: don’t ask for things you don’t need – you will need to review it
  • Template: develop your own standard template for requesting proposals

It is paramount that the required scope of work be defined correctly as if you do not know what you are asking for, how will you know when you receive it.

Another way for In-House teams

In-House teams need to focus on the precision of their requests and demand disciplined responses from their external providers in order to make qualitative and efficient appointments.

Additionally, GLS has totally disrupted the time it takes for any business to receive a fully transparent, fixed price legal support proposal via GLS Quick Quotes™ - our online quotation system.

GLS Quick Quotes™ delivers to you:

  • a fixed price quotation for your specific transaction
  • complete transparency around scope of work, deliverables, assumptions and pricing
  • a proposal typically delivered within 30 minutes (where all information is provided)
  • an opportunity to see what world class legal support looks like at a disruptive price point

For any common legal needs that most businesses might encounter, GLS is able to provide a fully costed support proposal that observes the above principles in around 30 minutes.

FIXED PRICE QUOTES IN 30MIN

Legal Service Providers are a resource category that must be performance managed to achieve as much for you as possible – See GLS External Counsel Management™.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please do check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page that might be able to assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. And of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult to discuss your transformation needs - book here

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

RPLV: Transformative Decision Making

Transforming Your In-House Legal Team To New Law

15 mins • 13 May 19

digital_butterfly_(1).jpeg

The vocational journey of the in-house lawyer has long since ceased to be an attractive safe harbor from the performance pressures of private practice – it is now as challenging and often more so.

In-house legal teams ("IHLs") all over the world face unrelenting pressure to achieve “far more with far less” for the businesses they serve, and to be able to positively demonstrate that they are doing so.

In the new era of empirical performance data, unlike private practice lawyers who can point to “billings”, in-house legal teams need to define and track the value they represent to their businesses.

In-house legal teams need a viable strategy to transform from “Old Law” to “New Law” operating conditions. For most, this journey will be about survival, but for the enlightened, it represents an incredible opportunity to shine.

Whilst a seemingly daunting task given the white noise and politics of the larger corporates that host most of the in-house legal community, taking simple effective steps often is all that is needed.

Here, we introduce GLS’s RPLV Decision-Making Framework to help guide your in-house team’s journey from Old Law to New Law, where so much more is possible with so much less.

RPLV decision-making is the basis upon which we develop all of our legal resource productivity solutions – all of which can be found at the GLS Legal Operations Centre

The Current Challenge - Much More Achieved with Much Less

Featured Resources:

Free: register for the Trial Plan with automated best-practice templates.

Free: GLS Contracting Infrastructure Health Audit Tool

Free: GLS’s RPLV Decision-Making Framework

Much has been written about the challenges faced by In-House teams. As the audience reading this piece lives the experience every day, there is no need to cover things in-depth here.

Suffice it to say, in-house teams are required to service an exponentially increasing legal support and compliance workload with the same or fewer resources. This is now the new “norm’ and the pressure is on.

Using humor to make the point – today’s in-house job advert might look something like this: 

  • Our CFO does not like cost items
  • You do not make us a profit
  • We don’t like spending money on lawyers
  • We only use law firms when we have to
  • You must ensure we face no problems
  • Limited support/resources to be provided
  • Private practice hours guaranteed but less money
  • If you succeed, then explain why you are needed
  • Replacing you with AI/Automation is likely
  • Don’t plan your weekends
  • Limited tools and training provided

Even if law firms could cut their fees by 50% (which they cannot), their “time for money” model has proven them consistently to be unreliable partners for in-house teams seeking to bridge their chronic resourcing deficit.

The future of the in-house team depends entirely on its own ability to do far more for itself and with far less. It is up to the in-house legal team itself to re-define, re-task, re-skill, and re-engineer what it can achieve for itself.

Indeed the job advertisements for the New Law in-house teams going forward will increasingly accentuate the New Law skill sets set out below.

The Required Transformation Journey for In-House Legal Teams

Featured Resources:

Free: GLS Contracting Infrastructure Health Audit Tool

The in-house community knows all too well that they need to be able to achieve more for themselves.

Almost every business we meet feels that their legal department tends to look like this… 

In the New Law era, the In-House team must look more like this …

 

How quickly an In-House team starts this transformation journey, and how the process is managed, will directly determine what kind of future that team will enjoy in the New Law Era.

The key features of the In-House transformation journey are as follows:

  • Reversing the polarity of the legal resourcing deficit
  • Handling day-to-day legal grind with less time and effort
  • Spending more time helping the business make money
  • Being better able to support “high profile” X-factor projects
  • Demanding “enduring” value from all external legal service providers
  • Delivering a more sustainable and satisfying In-House vocational experience
  • Transformation is about small and effective steps taken frequently – there is no Big Bang!

So how can this be achieved in view of the seemingly insurmountable financial, cultural, and resource-based restrictions facing most In-House teams, particularly in a large MNC?

RPLV - An Essential Decision-Making Framework for a New Law transformation

Featured Resources:

Free: watch the masterclass "In-House Challenges and the RPLV Response"

In-House teams need a simple, effective, and easy-to-implement strategy over which they can exert maximum control to guide their journey from the Old Law to the New Law.

Accordingly, GLS strongly recommends every in-house team adopt its entirely non-invasive and free RPLV decision-making framework as a means of driving maximum legal resource expression.

The Constituent Ingredients of RPLV are:

Resources: Cognisance of all available legal resources and a plan to optimize them

Prioritization: Decisions made by reference to an approved domain of responsibility

Leverage: Active consideration of legal resource leverage profile as part of the decision-making

Validation: Active consideration of the ability to validate associated resource performance outcomes

RPLV places In-House team decision-making into a strategic transformation framework which allows for small and effective resource optimization steps to be identified, and missteps to be avoided.

Moreover, a steady, incremental approach based on small successful steps led by the In-House team is the ONLY pathway for a successful New Law transformation as:

  • In-House teams are actually best placed to “author” their own transformation plan
  • change should come from within as most categories of legal resources are actually under-utilized
  • foundational transformation can already be achieved with little to no expenditure
  • the In-House team must deliver results that the rest of the business will want to support

Incidentally, RPLV is the same methodology that underpins the market-leading “legal resource productivity" solutions accessible via the GLS Legal Operations Centre.

In the balance of this piece, we will explain how RPLV works, along with how easy it is to implement RPLV decision-making.

In-House Legal Resources

Featured Resources:

Free: Book an efficiency consultation with a GLS Expert

Free: RPLV Decision-Making Framework

GLS Legal Department Efficiency Audit

The inviolable principle of a New Law transformation is that each and every class of legal resource deployed by a business must achieve optimal productivity expression.

Sadly, too many businesses view their legal resources in limited terms such as "headcount” and “external” budget – and in so doing deprive themselves of the ability to optimize.

Such an approach is like a professional sprinter training solely by running fast and disregarding core strength, explosiveness, visualization, flexibility, CO2 capacity, recovery, sleep, diet, routine, etc.

Accordingly, the essential pre-cursor to a successful New Law transformation journey is to identify the true scope and nature of legal resources available to the legal team.

GLS advocates that the in-house team must consider their legal resources using the below types of resource categorization, each of which can be optimized and uniquely combined for optimal effect.

With this enhanced view of the available legal resources, the ability to make strategic resourcing adjustments that deliver multiplier performance outcomes is greatly enhanced.

Effective Prioritization and Legal Policy Assets

Featured Resources:

GLS Contracting Policy™ - the foundation of an efficient legal function

GLS Legal Dept Service Charter™ - define service levels and standards for your legal function

No In-House team has the resources to do everything that it needs to do so teams must focus on what will “move the needle” for their business and manage its finite legal resources accordingly.

If a legal team lacks clear policy assets defining the legal & compliance requirements for each area of legal domain responsibility, correct prioritization of finite legal resources cannot occur.

Sadly, most legal teams do not benefit from a clear board-approved operational mandate, known to the business, which contextualizes resourcing decisions and against which performance is judged.

You can see GLS’s view of the legal domain responsibility that ought to be covered by Group Legal Policy assets by clicking here- it will serve as a useful comparison to the state of your own legal policy assets.

Clearly articulated Group Legal Policy assets, such as GLS Group Legal Policy™ are essential to the implementation of New Law transformations and can be implemented as part of the transformation journey.

However, if such policy assets are not in place, then not only is effective New Law transformation prevented, an In-House team may find itself afflicted by the following “handicap” conditions:

  • a reactive footing – the team finds itself reacting to the business instead of actively pursuing established priorities in a manner that permits optimized resourcing
     
  • compromised capacity – the capacity, status, and reporting lines are not easily understood by the business resulting in diluted effectiveness and diluted ability to influence the business
     
  • inability to performance manage – a lack of clear objectives and responsibility deprives the legal team of the ability to performance manage and track progress against goal realization
     
  • inability to access resources – making the case for essential resources cannot be articulated by reference to business-approved objectives

The Group Legal Policy assets most essential for transformation are those that focus on the Online legal documents“80% of the time” needs of the business (the “80% Requirement”).

GLS offers a range of pre-prepared legal department policy assets that can quickly become specific to your business, paving the way for each area of your New Law transformation.

Leveraging Legal Resources

Featured Resources:

Free: How to Avoid a High-Tech Train-Wreck

Once your true inventory of available legal resources available is understood, choices can be made as to how to achieve optimal productivity resonance for each class of legal resource across the business.

Leverage profiling involves assessing the extent to which the deployment of a class of legal resources can achieve maximum ongoing and sustainable resonance across your organization.

As a simple example, commissioning the creation of a new legal template that your business will use all the time offers better ROI than a template for a one-off non-critical deal type.

It is noteworthy that the highest levels of legal resource resonance can frequently be achieved from legal resource classes that are needed to meet the 80% Requirement.

The leverage assessment includes looking at efficiencies that can be built into each class of legal resource itself and/or what can be achieved by that category of legal resource. Typical questions include:

  • how frequently does the underlying legal support requirement arise?
  • how can the resource deployment benefit the business most?
  • what resource deployments create the loudest organization resonance?
  • how can the resource deployment be re-utilized by the business?
  • is there a productivity multiplier effect that can be achieved?
  • will the resource deployment result in a knowledge harvest opportunity?
  • does the legal resource category offer standardization potential?
  • can automation of the resource category/workflow be achieved?
  • what is the extent to which the deployment will resonate across the wider company/group?

In view of the above, it is easy to see why policy-based legal assets offer the highest organizational resonance and are essential for any New Law transformation.

The General Counsel that does not consider the leverage profile of each class of their legal resource, especially for the 80% Requirement, is likely passing up on utilizing significant levels of untapped capacity.

The GLS Legal Operations Centre In-House channel comprises numerous solutions to help maximize what most classes of legal resources can achieve.

The Empirical Data Era

Featured Resources:

Free: GLS Contracting Infrastructure Health Audit Tool

GLS Legal Dept. KPI Manual™ - legal department KPIs developed by leading in-house lawyers

The New Law team must be able to demonstrate the value contribution it makes to the business in order to survive and particularly if it wants to support/funding for additional New Law initiatives.

Increasingly, the notion that the intangible nature of the in-house legal role, driven by its non-P&L construct, renders it immune from performance management, is being rejected.

Accordingly, the extent to which you can track the productivity outcomes achieved by a particular class of legal resources is becoming an increasingly important factor in decision-making.

New Law legal teams will increasingly operate in what we are calling the “empirical data era” where they adopt and monitor performance metrics such as those set out below.

Rich performance data will allow New Law legal teams to increasingly improve the quality of their decision-making and the productivity returns they can achieve from all classes of its legal resources.

To deny the inevitability of the “empirical data” era is a little like thinking that a mobile phone that can take pictures will not catch on. Legal teams must avoid their Kodak moment.

The Future

Featured Resources:

Free: Book an efficiency consultation with a GLS Expert

Free: visit the GLS Legal Operations Centre

In-house legal teams are in the preventative health business which takes enlightened thinking and discipline to embrace and accounts for the low-value recognition placed on our performance.

In-house teams must now also deliver far more “business-enabling” support to their business – they must contribute far more to the revenue and strategy-based projects of the underlying business.

This must be achieved as the overall in-house workload continues to rise. New Law in-house teams need surgical focus, sharp prioritization, the ability to leverage, and the ability to validate.

Those in the profession that do not adapt to the new operating conditions will fall out of the profession as it no longer offers a reprieve from the performance pressures of private practice.

Those who “act now” will find the move from the Old Law to the New Law ways of doing things to be less painful and will get to author their own transformation journey.

GLS’s RPLV offers a non-invasive strategic decision-making framework that can drive that journey and it is entirely free – we encourage and dare you to try it.

The GLS Legal Operations Centre, the World’s No 1 legal operations center, is based on RPLV thinking and is there to support you as you seek to deliver far more to your business with far less.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Certification & Training
Technology Demonstration

How to Avoid a High-Tech Train-Wreck

14 mins • 29 Jan 19

c

The recent proliferation of legal technology ("Legal Tech") related headlines suggests massive change is upon the legal industry – but what exactly is it and who will benefit from it?

The legal industry is engaged in a lively debate about the role of Legal Tech but for many, it is not clear whether we are witnessing the harbingers of hope or the end of the profession.

With more than 97% of businesses unable to get the legal support they need, and law firms ironically pleading famine, will Legal Tech correct this irrational market schism?

For the GLS Group, the World’s leading legal industry disruptor, we have used technology to remove up to 80%+ of the costs of legal advisory services and solutions and to provide businesses with powerful self-help tools.

However, we see first-hand that the technology behind the “attention-grabbing” headlines remains inaccessible to most businesses due to cost, complexity, and actual relevance.

Is this Legal Tech merely an investment fad … or is there a risk that it is not being understood… which in both cases means it may just pass us by?

Many players in the legal industry remain uncertain as to what their relationship with Legal Tech ought to look like – is it friend or foe – and how will they know?

THE OUTLINE

In this article, we seek to share critical observations and lessons, derived from our amazing journey, to help businesses make smart and informed Legal Tech choices.

Specifically, we share our unique perspective on:

  • what to make of the current Legal Tech hysteria;
  • how to engage with Legal Tech such that it becomes accessible; to you;
  • the GLS view of the true role of Legal Tech;
  • the risks of premature deployment of high-tech over low-tech;
  • a dependable engagement strategy as you seek to leverage Legal Tech; and
  • the supposed existential threat posed to our profession by Legal Tech.

Finally, we will invite you to experience GLS’s range of technology-enabled solutions that demonstrate how Legal Tech can power productivity at an inconsequential expense.  

SIFTING THROUGH THE HUBRIS

In 2018 a reported US$1B+ was raised in the name of Legal Tech projects, with the greatest level of investment being in respect of artificial intelligence ("AI"), and approx. US$1B+ was spent across 40 legal technology deals, compared to US$233 million across 61 deals in 2017.

Of that US$1B, a reported US$362 million went on attention-grabbing legal solutions utilizing AI including:

  • Kira Systems: a machine learning software that searches and analyses contracts and related documents;
  • TurboPatent: a program that tracks ideas and determines where they are in the patents process; and
  • Gavelytics: a program that seeks to assess your chances in front of a particular judge.

Interestingly, AI-based spending in 2018 was reported to have exceeded total Legal Tech spending in 2017.

We refer to these AI-based varietals of Legal Tech as “Ultra-High-Legal Tech”.

With such levels of investment going into new Legal Tech developments, particularly Ultra-High-Legal Tech, it begs several obvious questions, including:

  • when can the wider legal industry (and businesses generally – particularly those that cannot access legal support) expect to start to feel its benefits?
  • is this just another “dot.com, bitcoin, Dutch-tulip type phenomenon?

What we are seeing as a leading legal industry disruptor force with a huge roster of both large MNCs and small clients is as follows:

  • very few clients have had any type of exposure to the benefits of Ultra-High-Legal Tech; and
  • of those that have tried Ultra-High-Legal Tech, they have overwhelmingly not felt the “game-changing” effects that were promised (more on this later).

‘’GLS believes that the plethora of ’High Legal Tech' headlines is about as relevant to most lawyers as news of Sir Richard Branson's space tourism program to the average traveler - nice to know but they won't be buying a ticket''

The GLS reality proven every day is that game-changing Legal Tech is abundant, available, and accessible to those that are capable of recognizing it – but only if it’s used properly.

RECOGNISING EFFECTIVE LEGAL TECHNOLOGY

The volume of Ultra-High-Legal-Tech press coverage has left many players feeling insecure – as though their inability to access such technology jeopardizes their future.

Such narrowband associations obscure the availability and accessibility of transformative Legal Tech that can revolutionize the practice of law for law firms and in-house teams.

GLS’s unquestioned success is based upon a far more robust and accessible definition of “technology” as follows:

“Technology is anything that increases the unit of productivity achieved per unit of effort”

When viewed from this perspective, the seemingly limitless potential for technology to be applied to legal support scenarios opens up and becomes imminently accessible to all.

We believe our view of Legal Tech allows businesses and in-house teams to experience their “Matrix" moment and to see that enabling Legal Tech is both all around them, and accessible.

For our own extensive R&D efforts, this means that contract automation and AI are examples of technology, but they fit into a wider spectrum of options.

To organize and best utilize these options we categorize technologies by references to the legal activities/processes that they support.

The above technology categories, whilst not exhaustive, are distinct in that that they all target specific aspects of legal practice where GLS is seeking to create efficiencies.

Our point is that “technology” is pervasive and focuses on achieving efficiencies everywhere – not just in a few specific instances that happen to be grabbing the headlines.

AN EFFECTIVE APPROACH TO LEGAL TECHNOLOGY

Technology can profoundly impact the day-to-day work of lawyers and significantly improve the contribution they make to business (whether in private practice or in-house).

Technology applied correctly will resonate in time, cost, and quality efficiencies across the spectrum of legal practice, examples of which include:

  • allowing lawyers to focus on strategic “business enabling” advice
  • recognizing that a workflow that can be automated is no longer lawyering
  • accelerated acquisition of functional expertise
  • massive reductions in costs
  • easier implementation and monitoring of group-wide legal and compliance positions
  • reducing instances of human error, e.g. typos
  • making processes more reliable/predictable
  • ensuring secure, organization-wide access to key documents
  • far greater intra and inter organization collaboration
  • speeding up deal completion
  • reducing the time required to upskill new members of the legal team
  • increasing the transparency on matters
  • making empirical analysis of contract performance possible
  • embedding the “safeguarding” of legal policy within the wider organization
  • making workflows more interesting

With this in mind a totally new “legal technology paradigm” emerges:

  • effective Legal Tech must be both conceptually and cost accessible
  • powerful forms of Legal Tech can be recognized almost everywhere
  • the most potent and accessible forms of Legal Tech are the most cost-effective
  • all legal functional (private practice/in-house) can actively leverage Legal Tech
  • implementing basic technologies will lead to guaranteed productivity improvements
  • basic technologies should form the platform from which advanced technologies can operate
  • Legal Tech can enhance the advisory capabilities of every lawyer

In the time-based architecture of Traditional Law, technologies that reduce task time has been viewed as economically irrational, which explains the glacial rate of adoption.  

'Whilst it is not surprising that Traditional Law Firms effectively choose to ignore the abundance of available technology, for an in-house team to do so would be to ignore the veritable gift horse'

A few observations that might account for the subdued uptake of Legal Tech-enabled offerings outside of the US includes:

  • US-based investment: most of the investment is occurring in the US for the US market – which is quite reasonable given that the US is the “Big Banana” of the legal market
  • Investors: VCs money is active, and demands high returns and quick exits – often delivered by the “hype-driven updraft effect” of the “next big thing” –ie Ultra-High-Legal Tech
  • US product centricity:  US legal drafting styles, whether it is large block paragraphs or the acute litigious context, is shaping AI-based logic away from applications in non-US markets
  • Limited client focus: most high Tech offerings target the same actors prevalent in the Traditional Law model – law firms and large corporate law departments
  • Authorship: the creators of many solutions are like “cobblers” offering custom shoes for a client they’ve never met – they may make great shoes, but do they really fit?

Even here in Singapore, our Global Headquarters, which has been widely praised as a technology-enabled hub, the uptake of Legal Tech has been slow.

Indeed, the Chief Justice of Singapore recently remarked that “[Singapore’s] response to legal technology has been lukewarm”.

We conclude that the hubris of Ultra-High-Legal Tech headlines are in fact obscuring the immediately accessible potential of Legal Tech generally.

HIGH-TECH IMPLEMENTATION - NOT FOR DAY 1

Before introducing a framework for the effective formulation of a holistic Legal Tech agenda, we need to sound some loud notes of caution.

To pick up on a point raised above – most Ultra-High-Legal Tech implementations that GLS has encountered have been resounding failures.

We define, as everyone should, a failed implementation as one that “severely under-delivers on its promise” – and more than 90% of Ultra-High-Legal Tech implementations fall into this category.

The basis for Ultra-High-Legal Tech implementation failures amongst MNCs remains consistent in our experience and includes:

  • it is a knee-jerk procurement reaction to constant pressure for cost reductions;
  • the tendency for “biggest must be best” procurement leads to Ultra-High-Legal Tech;
  • lack of coordination between a diverse and active stakeholder constituency (legal, compliance, IT, finance, procurement, etc);
  • solutions are being oversold by overzealous salespersons;
  • failing to recognize that legal systems must work with organization-wide systems and not the other way around;
  • a lack of policy framework and derivative collateral to drive desired system outcomes;
  • system complexity far exceeding user competencies; and
  • low-tech is not being done well, so the high-tech is not enabled.

The last point is absolutely critical – almost every MNC we have encountered has not been ready for Ultra-High-Legal Tech implementations – and this includes FTSE 100-level MNCs.

If you think about it if each organization started off by doing the low-legal Tech well then each cause of failure would have been mitigated by default.

For example, attempting to automate an entire contract life-cycle is quite simply a fool’s errand unless a substantial amount of low/potent technology preparation has already been done.  

We have seen dozens of “whole life” contract management system implementations simply fail as they went ahead without:

  • an agreed legal policy for organization wide contracting parameters;
  • standardized and approved clause banks and legal templates;
  • defined contract approval flows;
  • negotiation playbooks defined by reference to an authorized legal policy;
  • solutions defined by references to official delegations of authority; and
  • defined risk and compliance overlays for the Legal Tech solution.

For a business to address any of the above would in fact be a potent low Legal Tech solution.

Moreover, such low Legal Tech solutions are within reach of every business (see www.gls-legaloperations.com).

Once these are embedded within a business, implementing High Tech solutions becomes both easy and effective.

Whether it's SAP, ARIBA, or a BRAVO system, if you haven’t done the low-tech prep work then what might end up being delivered is merely a hugely expensive file storage solution.  

The GLS conclusion is simple – you have no business going near a high-tech implementation unless you have first done your low-tech right.

POTENT LOW-TECH FIRST – PLEASE!

So rushing headlong into a high-tech implementation carries a high likelihood of an expensive failure.

Beyond that though, why should even low-tech be implemented?

Well, the case is overwhelming:

  • it is as economically rational as it is affordable as it is powerful;
  • it is what will let you achieve what your business is demanding – to achieve far more with far less;
  • it is readily available and easily affordable;
  • the attendant risks are negligible;
  • it allows for bespoke and “spot application” implementation;
  • successful implementation allows you to make the case for high-tech; and
  • you can implement it yourself.

That is why the GLS Group does offer "Ultra-High-Legal Tech" (eg. AI and contract automation), but we also offer an extensive number of genuine "Low-Legal-Tech" support solutions.

We set out below examples of phenomenal Legal Tech that GLS has delivered to help transform legal departments within the largest MNCs to the smallest Start-Ups (please click the link to view the solution overview):

GLS Group Legal Policy™ | GLS Clause Bank™ | GLS Playbook™ | GLS 3rd Party Paper Checklist™

IS THIS WHAT THE COOL KIDS CALL “DISRUPTION”?

Too many analysts talk of Legal Tech in terms of a marketplace that is comprised only of law firms and major legal corporate departments.

In many respects, they are correct as much investment has been in the Ultra-High-Legal Tech domain that aims at big-ticket end customers.  

For GLS a genuinely disruptive Legal Tech is not something that can only be available to the largest corporate departments.

Truly disruptive Legal Tech is the technology that makes legal support, in its widest sense, more accessible to and drives productivity and profitability in, all businesses.

We firmly believe that a truly disruptive Legal Tech will allow anyone anywhere who can get an internet connection to be able to access the same world-class advice.

As a result, the technology-enabled solutions we deploy deliver a price point accessible to almost every SME globally, and yet are also regularly consumed by major MNCs.

Technology that only benefits the top 3% of businesses is not a truly game-changing technology  - and yet these are the technologies that are grabbing the headlines.

‘’Few industries experience the pressure to do more with less as acutely as the law industry is currently facing - and about time too (but that is a topic for another day).

whilst the temptation is to effect a knee jerk reaction/ hunt for a silver bullet solution - the consequences of a failed legal implementation can lead to further inefficiencies and general tech wariness''

THE GLS FRAMEWORK FOR LEGAL TECH ENGAGEMENT

In summary, the way to achieve the greatest productivity outcomes, with the lowest costs and is to implement Legal Tech in the following steps:

  • Identify your Legal Priorities: this is essential if you are to make the best decisions about how to apply your “finite” legal resources. (See GLS Group Legal Policy™ )
  • MIMO: Identify your most problematic performance areas and consider which will respond the most to a low Legal Tech solution (e.g. third party contracting)
  • Low Tech First: Consider all available low Legal Tech solutions - focus on a low Legal Tech with organisational resonance that is also the easiest one to implement
  • Engage users: You must ensure that all stake-holders and end users understand how the solutions will benefit them – get them to buy into your problem-solving efforts
  • Slowly: Proceed with a limited implementation focused on your most pressing legal policy areas identified through the above considerations – keep it humble
  • Prove it: It is essential that you collect empirical data about the productivity gains achieved by your initiative to pave the way for bigger and better things.
  • Keep proving it: Monitor your empirical data for at least 6-12 months
  • Rinse and Repeat: Proceed cautiously with any desired higher Tech implementations but based of the learning from each previous implementation.

The biggest barrier to using Legal Tech services is obviously its successful adoption by your business – following the above strategy will ensure that successful adoption occurs in the vast majority of the time.

ABOUT GLS GROUP

The GLS Group is the world’s leading legal industry disruptor and comprises an internationally licensed law firm – GLS Law Firm, and its alternative legal solutions business – GLS Solutions. Founded in 2014 by a core team of highly recognized market leaders from top-tier global law firms (together with some of their clients), GLS Group exists because businesses globally simply cannot afford to access the legal support required (either at all or in the quantities required). The GLS Group, was recently shortlisted by the Financial Times as the Most Innovative Law Firm Asia Pacific – New Business and Service Delivery Model, and won the 2020 Legal Business Award for best use of technology in private practice.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

News / Press Releases

GLS Launches GLS Legal Templates

Libraries of Online Automated Documents

12 minutes • 04 Jan 19

robot_library

Contracts are the essential record of what parties agree and yet most end up signed, filed and forgotten - and usually reflect a painful, tedious and expensive contracting process.

On the other hand, the contracting process that starts with a really well written contract can deliver real 'business enabling' benefits to the parties including:

  • significantly reducing the time required to complete a deal
  • making a massive contribution to realising the commercial goals of the deal
  • reducing the risks of dispute and their costs should they occur
  • serving as a vital repository of important corporate memory

GLS has launched Legal Templates so that businesses can achieve the kind of efficient contracting process that genuinely helps businesses to get transactions done better, faster, safer and cheaper.

GLS Legal Docs™ is another demonstration by the GLS Group of how combining technology and legal content can eliminate the barriers that deny businesses access to world class legal support.

In this article we will introduce Legal Templates and examine:

  • what defines the hallmarks of a “good contract"
  • the true cost you face from using low quality agreements
  • how contracts drive “business enablement”
  • how traditional firms must re-think how they charge for their templates

We would also like to invite you to try Legal Templates for free - with a single click - and experience document automation in 4 languages.

WHAT IS THIS AND HOW DOES IT WORK? 

GLS delivers access to an online, curated and automated library of 70+ world class legal documents that address the most common commercial transactions faced by businesses globally.

This is not just a traditional precedent library - this is an automated library of precedents that will draft, edit and amend themselves into the contract/policy document/legal document that reflects your preferences!

Legal Templates allows any business anywhere to generate a world class legal document at a fraction of the cost that a traditional law firm would charge for the same.

Legal Templates operates on proprietary contracting automation software, into which the GLS Group has invested millions of dollars of contracting IP and decades of “best practice” knowledge.

Our technology works by guiding users through a short online interview that extracts the user’s legal preferences and commercial objectives.

These preferences and objectives/data points are then used to automatically generate a world class first draft of the desired agreement.

Each document in the Legal Templates library has been engineered with a total commitment to “contracting process efficiency” by experts with decades of experience at the world’s best law firms.

Legal Templates isn’t just about rapid first drafts – it’s about producing quality documents that drive the realisation of time, cost and quality efficiencies throughout the contracting process and project.

Each Legal Template also comes with a 30-minute consultation with a world class legal advisor whose sole remit is to ensure that the user’s goals for the document and/or project are realised.

Available 24/7/365, each document in GLS Legal Docs™ is constantly updated to keep in line with GLS’ own “best practice standard” at a price point that is a fraction of what would be charged by a traditional law firm.  

A 'BUSINESS ENABLING' CONTRACTING PROCESS - WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

Top quality first drafts of legal documents contribute to a “business enabling” contracting process that allows a business to experience the following:

  • a clear and continued focus on desired outcomes – the “what are we trying to achieve”
  • documents that are easy to work with – that can be understood, amended, reviewed and administered with ease
  • documents that set the deal up for success by being absolutely clear on each party’s respective rights and obligations
  • key-stakeholder time not being diluted by “white noise” issues/negotiations
  • external consultants being used only for matters that genuinely require their expertise
  • the power of “plain language drafting” to quicken understanding and the contracting process
  • the building of a cross-party deal rapport that sets the groundwork for a successful long-term commercial relationship

THE PROBLEMS SOLVED BY OUR LEGAL TEMPLATE OFFERING

Poor quality legal documents create significant time, cost and quality inefficiencies. Indeed, bad first drafts are notoriously hard to recover from.

The spill-over consequences of poor quality first-drafts are often greater than what most people will ever imagine, and include:

  • damaged goodwill and potential mistrust between parties, as a result of drafts that do not reflect the sought-after commercial position (i.e - are they reneging factor)
  • costs incurred as a result of negotiating-in requirements that have been overlooked (typically this is even harder than negotiating out errors)
  • time wasted by both parties as a result of negotiating-out the numerous “weeds” present in poorly drafted clauses
  • the projection of an image of sub-optimal professionalism by the authoring party, which can impact bargaining position and credibility
  • time wasted in reviewing and negotiating non-controversial sections of a poor draft – at least 85% of any agreement should not be controversial
  • payments to lawyers to review poor drafts – these payments are genuinely expensive as lawyers/in-house teams need to spend more time to review poor drafts
  • even more payments to lawyers and time wasted by senior management, in order resolve disputes resulting from ambiguous wordings and contradictions

Beyond all of the above, poor drafts may often end-up becoming entirely redundant as their densely packed legalese typically ends up simply not being read by anyone in the business beyond the legal team.

Put simply, if you do not start with a top quality first draft then you are denying your project a 'business enabling' contracting experience.

For the in-house lawyer, the following could hinder the production of a high-quality first draft:

  • the time it takes to instruct external counsel being as significant as the cost
  • a lack of in-house precedents, or in-house precedent libraries that are sparse, poorly maintained and not automated
  • internal users reusing the “last deal’s precedents” with the result that errors and irrelevant provisions get replicated
  • the inefficiencies of trying to “tweak” the last “similar” deal takes on a life of its own compared to directly addressing the unique needs of the current deal and achieving a bespoke fit
  • internal users using their own “document libraries” that don’t reflect the group’s authorised legal position and are not fit for purpose
  • the in-house lawyer eventually being made to provide a first draft from scratch by himself, at the expense of large amounts of time and costs

Legal Templates: for a totally inconsequential price point, allows businesses to mitigate all of these challenges and drives a contracting process that is genuinely “business enabling”.

WHAT DOES A GOOD AGREEMENT LOOK LIKE?

A good agreement that positively adds to project or goal realisation, as well as proactively drives contracting process efficiencies, has the following characteristics:

  • it uses friendly, plain and easily understood language
  • it uses consistent and concise language
  • its draws from a clear but disciplined dictionary of defined terms
  • there is consistency around the complexity of clause details and mechanics
  • there is balanced and proportionate risk allocation
  • there is clarity around performance obligations (i.e. the who, what, why, when and how)
  • there is clarity around the respective rights of the parties (e.g. what happens if performance is not delivered)
  • technical or operational matters are not blended into front-end legal terms
  • schedules serve as clear operational chapters for unique subject matter
  • it is as short as it can possibly be whilst getting the job done properly
  • it is capable of being understood by anyone
  • it is capable of being easily translated into other languages
  • it is free of technical legal language and concepts.

 

Each and every Legal Template strictly observes these world class drafting principles and in so doing delivers a document that can help you drive contracting process efficiencies.

To illustrate, below is an excerpt from a template: 

A THOUGHT FOR THE LEGAL INDUSTRY

For the GLS Group, as legal industry disruptors, making world class legal support available at a fraction of the cost charged by our competitors is just what we do – it is our business model, and we embrace it.

For the traditional legal industry, however,  the achieving the GLS position is less palatable as time sensitive complexity has historically been what drives the profitability of their time-based engagement model.

‘Long winded discussion over whether the ’quick brown fox jumped over the log' or whether ‘the log was jumped over by the quick brown fox’ have long proved irresistibly profitable for many lawyers' 

However, in an era of abundantly available efficiency technologies, traditional law firms must necessarily re-evaluate their relationship with the contracting process if they are to survive.

GLS believes that:

  • firms must “let go” of the notion of charging excessively for basic legal document production - just as architects did when hand drawn blue prints gave way to CAD
  • first draft contract preparation is no longer the exclusively domain of the legal practitioners – IT enabled systems can do much of the same work, in much less time
  • a firm’s ability/willingness to give affordable access to high quality templates is a direct indicator of how effectively they can aggregate and leverage their expertise for a client’s benefit
  • firms must recognise that anything that can be reduced to an “automated workflow” is in fact no longer “lawyering” and so they should stop seeking to charge clients for it

Traditional law firms may find these observations threatening – but GLS feels that these principles serve to make our industry more accessible to clients and allows lawyers to return to a genuine “trusted advisory” role.

Our Legal Templates are making world class legal documents available so that deals can run faster and smoother, and client resources can be spent on genuine “advice” rather than mere document production.

A SUMMARY OF THE BENEFITS OF AUTOMATED DOCUMENTS

Automated document libraries, such as our Legal Template, mean that legal documents can:

  • allow for human capacity to be directed at genuinely “value adding” tasks
  • be generated to a high quality quickly and in a manner that offers unlimited scalable output
  • materially reduce the risks of human error
  • be generated and accessed 24/7/365
  • create and contribute to deal momentum through speed of production
  • reduce and even eliminate production costs
  • be easily managed as a “single source of truth” for approved documentation
  • allow for tailoring to occur within pre-defined and accepted margins
  • be generated to actually match a client’s legal and commercial preferences
  • be efficiently updated in line with best practices and/or governing laws

 

To show how Legal Templates delivers world class legal documents cost effectively and quickly, GLS now allows anyone, anywhere to try creating an NDA, entirely for free!

Whilst enjoying this free trial, note that this “garden variety” legal contract is often produced by traditional law firms for USD$500+….

Within seconds of completing an online interview, a world class NDA will be delivered to you, entirely prepared and ready for use – and in any of the 4 languages that GLS currently offers.

A user’s experience of this NDA trial exactly replicates what is experienced by users of our Legal Templates - i.e. it shows how easy it is to achieve speed, cost savings and quality efficiencies all at once!

To reinforce the power of technology-enabled service delivery, GLS will release the NDA trial experience in as many as 8 languages, with Danish, Mandarin, French and Spanish to follow soon.

FURTHER OPTIMISING THE CONTRACTING PROCESS

Our Legal Templates are merely the tip of the contracting efficiency iceberg.

Whilst a superb legal template drives massive contracting process efficiencies, that process can be optimised even further.

To enable such optimisation, GLS offers a range of products that assists in-house legal teams to embed efficiencies throughout their business’s systems.

These products including:

  • GLS Clause Bank™: this contains a wide range of best practice clauses to support your negotiations
  • GLS Playbook™: this is a guide for non-lawyers on how to negotiate the key clauses of a businesses’ contracts
  • GLS 3rd Party Paper Checklists™: this is a tool for an organisation’s contracting team, that ensures that any “third party paper” still meets the standards of their business's authorised contracting positions

 

These solutions can all be found in our industry leading, legal operations centre.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

News / Press Releases

GLS Invests in Automio

Genuine Disruption

5 minutes • 29 Dec 18

GLS+Automio.jpg

MAKING MUCH MORE POSSIBLE

GLS Group, the world’s leading legal industry disruptor, focuses on disrupting the traditional law industry that prevents sustainable access to effective legal support to 97% of business globally.

GLS’s disruptive business model has already reduced legal costs by more than 80% and it is now set to achieve much more in 2019 having invested into NZ based document automation company, Automio.

In a year where GLS was shortlisted by the Financial Times for the “Most Innovative Law Firm Asia Pacific – New Business and Service Delivery Model” award, GLS is now launching its most disruptive offerings yet.

Following its investment into Automio GLS is now stripping out around 95% of the costs that SMEs and Start Up face when trying access legal support via its GLS Total Legal Support™ offering.

INNOVATIVE LEGAL TECHNOLOGY

After 4 years of trialing document automation solutions, and even dabbling in building its own software solution, GLS signed off on a round of investment into Automio in October 2018.

Whilst initially starting as an Automio client, GLS quickly realized that Automio was the right technical partner, a disruptor in its own space, and shared GLS’s vision of what the future of law should look like.  

GLS had found that the contract automation space centered heavily around the Microsoft Word application, which whilst familiar and comfortable to most users, hadn’t really change much in 17 years.

With Word as your base platform, the net result is a bit like connecting a fibre optic cable to a piece of tin can telephone and expecting communications miracles...

Ironically, this is somewhat like the traditional law practice conundrum where legacy practices stifle emergent potential. By contrast, Automio operates its own proprietary platform free of such issues.  

REVOLUTION, ONE CONTRACT AT A TIME…

GLS’ decision to take a significant equity stake in Automio reflects its strategy to develop, promote and partner with legal-technology providers that can enable genuine legal sector disruption.

For GLS: a “genuine” disruptive legal technology is not one that just increases law firm profitability – but rather it is a technology that makes legal support, in its widest sense, more accessible to all businesses.

GENUINE DISRUPTION IN PRACTICE

Over the past 3 months GLS has been working with Automio to perfect the technical delivery of GLS’ most disruptive legal support solution to date – the GLS Total Legal Support™ series.

GLS Total Legal Support™ delivers a legal support advisory experience to Start Ups and SMEs that was previously only accessible to MNC’s … but at around only 5% of the cost.

For a fixed monthly cost, GLS Total Legal Support™, which can now be accessed 24/7/365, anywhere with an internet connection, consists of:

  • different tiers of fully automated libraries of essential legal documentation (powered by Automio);
  • a dedicated Legal Affairs Director to deliver the “personal advisory touch”;
  • an “always on” support hotline for real time queries and emergencies; and
  • access to flexible levels of international legal support to match business need.

 

GLS Total Legal Support™ customers get the legal documents they need in unlimited quantities AND their own in-house legal team to direct strategy and provide fixed levels of support resourcing.

For any area of need beyond the “80%” i.e. the day-to-day needs covered by the support plan, customers can access the GLS’s 120+ other offerings, which all cost around 20% of a comparable provider.  

DIRECTION AND STRATEGY

Matthew Glynn, GLS Group Managing Director, said:

“With our new technology-enabled offering we can address 80% of a SME’s needs on a permanent basis – we can quite literally be next to the client all of the time, making a difference in real time.

However, we are doing it in a way that means that lawyers can focus on what they should be doing – lawyering – and we are not charging the client for what technology can do.

Rather than charging for time, we leave it to our ‘technology elves’ to produce the underlying documents at practically nil cost to the customer."

Glynn added:

“Many of my former colleagues in the legal industry say that GLS is creating a race to the bottom with this kind of pricing – a view which I find somewhat incredulous and a tad self-serving.

Traditional law firms simply do not  have any interest in doing anything for US$99 per month, let alone take care of 80% of a Start Up or SME’s legal needs.

However, with our technology we can do this, and do it profitably. We have used technology to support parts of the global economy that have not been able to access it.”

OPTIONS, OPTIONS, OPTIONS: FULL TIME SUPPORT OR JUST WHEN YOU NEED IT

For businesses that still prefer to buy legal contracts “as they go”, GLS has also launched a Legal Docs channel on its extraordinarily popular online GLS Legal Operations Centre.

GLS Legal Docs now has some 67+ world class legal contracts and documents that are available at our entirely disruptive price points – around 15% of what leading legal firms would seek to charge.  

Each document also comes with a 15 minute consultation, if this is needed.

The full menu of Legal Docs is available here

COME TEST THE WATERS

To show how incredibly easy it is to work with a true legal automation tool, GLS has taken the unprecedented step of allowing anybody anywhere to try creating a NDA, entirely for free!

To enjoy a free trial experience click here and enjoy it knowing that this “garden variety” legal contract is typically produced by traditional law firms for USD500+

Within seconds of completing an online interview, a world class NDA will be delivered to the user, entirely prepared and ready for use – and in any of the 4 languages GLS currently offers.

The NDA Trial user experience exactly replicates the experience of a user of the full GLS Total Legal Support™ libraries in order to show just how quickly and easily world class documents can be produced.

To reinforce the power of technology enabled service delivery, GLS will release the NDA trial experience in as many as 8 languages by the end of Q1 with Danish, Mandarin, French and Spanish to follow.

GLS Group will shortly be announcing its move into AI based contract reviews in which it will similarly be offering a free NDA trial AI review to demonstrate the power of disruptive legal technologies.

Moving forward, GLS will continue to update and develop its libraries to address the ever-developing needs of the world’s Start-Ups and SMEs. 

GLS will also soon launch a disruptive offering that create customised legal bots for larger MNCs with ambitions of owning their automated contract libraries.

ABOUT GLS

The GLS Group is the world’s leading legal industry disruptor. Founded in 2014 by a core team of highly recognised market leaders from top-tier global law firms (together with some of their clients).

The GLS Group, now has over 200 staff globally and was shortlisted in 2018 by the Financial Times for its “Most Innovative Law Firm Asia Pacific – New Business and Service Delivery Model” award.

back

Back

Certification & Training

GLS Goes Back to School

4 minutes • 13 Dec 18

Insead Article

GLS’s mission, since its inception, has been to disrupt the second half of that statement and over the past 5 years GLS has now brought the cost of world class legal services down by more than 80% through its “New Law” offering.

On Tuesday of this week GLS Founder, Matt Glynn, attended INSEAD’s MBA programme (Singapore Campus) as a guest lecturer and shared some of the insights gained by GLS as it works on disrupting the legal industry.The lecture asked what aspects of the legal industry could be disrupted and how could budding entrepreneurs access business enabling New Law support to get more business done?

Is the billable hour misaligning the interests of law firms and clients?

What would the size of the addressable legal market be, if most businesses could actually access it??

What would constitute “disruptive technology” in the legal industry?

If lawyers are paid so much, why does the legal industry suffer such a high attrition rate?

Many of the INSEAD students had worked with or used traditional law firms and had some familiarity with traditional private practice law firms (and the frustrations of using them).

These students were therefore incredibly eager to hear that affordable solutions exist and that they are incredibly easy to access!

Matt started by explaining how GLS was created and why it was structured, from the outset, to be fundamentally disruptive to the legal industry.

By way of an example of this disruptive approach in practice, Matt introduce GLS’s newest, and potentially most disruptive new offering – “GLS Total Legal Support” (“TLS”).

TLS is a subscription based support package for start-ups/SMEs, that combines a world class library of automated contracting precedents AND legal advice.

The entry level “Bronze” TLS package can deliver in excess of USD65K worth of support over a year at a cost as low as USD99 per month!

"In effect, GLS TLS makes the kind of in-house legal team that traditionally could only be afforded by large MNCs, accessible to even the smallest of start-ups - all for less than what many spend on Starbucks each month."

Matt went on to explain, that only by breaking away from the traditional model and offering an alternative structure for legal services, such as TLS, could the interests of GLS and clients really become aligned.

GLS’s disruptive approach allows it to help far more businesses get far more business done whilst creating a far larger addressable market, which ironically, Traditional Law has never looked to serve.

The presentation finished off by “lifting the curtain” on how businesses can be engaging with both “Traditional Law” and “New Law” players in a way that lets them get a lot more done with a lot less resources.

In particular, Matt explained 5 key tips that all clients should be employing if they want clear and more practical advice (whilst reducing their legal spend by >50%):

1) Ask “Is your question so special”?

For 80% of any business’s needs, the issue has arisen and been answered comprehensively before. Seek out a New Law response to your question.

For such issues, there is no point in paying traditional law firm rates for a law firm to “reinvent the wheel”.

2) Decide what you want to pay for

The traditional law firm fee model is based on every dollar being split 33% for the lawyer, 33% for Opex and 33% for the profit pot.

So, decide what you want to pay for – consider looking for the lean firm and look for the boutique advisor if you don’t want to pay over the odds.

3) Understand what you are getting?

Law firm advice is prepared in a Professional Indemnity context which necessarily entails significant qualifications and caveats – caution is clearly required.

By way of a simple comparison: a formal legal opinion is PI backed, but the “yes or no” advice given by an in-house lawyer is what actually get’s the business “done”.

4) Recognise the nature of the law

Laws are often prohibitive, not permissive. So, there is often a disconnect when client’s construct their questions in the permissive form.

Businesses could do well to pose their questions on the basis of “is there any clear guidance which prevents what we intend to do?” Such answers are frequently more categoric and more efficiently sourced.

5) Make the lawyer get back to lawyering

Lawyers love to fix things – so let them.

Take your complexity there - but not your project management.

Ask early - late is expensive - but only ask after you have followed the first 4 tips!

 

THANKS: 

Thank you again INSEAD for the invitation to teach and learn from such an engaging group of Students!

Thank you Alexia Adda (a lawyer at the offshore firm Walkers, and current student of INSEAD) that made this event happen.

ABOUT GLS: 

The GLS Group is the world’s leading legal industry disruptor. Founded in 2014 by a core team of highly recognised market leaders from top-tier global law firms (together with some of their clients). The GLS Group, now has over 200 staff globally and was shortlisted in 2018 by the Financial Times for its “Most Innovative Law Firm Asia Pacific – New Business and Service Delivery Model” award.

For more information please contact: info@gls.global or the GLS Group on (+65 6817 8204)

back

Back

Traditional Law is Broken (Part 2)

12 minutes • 20 Jul 17

Depressed_young_businessman_sitting_wet_under_rain.jpeg

The true cost of the hourly rate

GLS believes that more than 95% of businesses globally are unable to access effective legal support either at all, or in the quantities they require – principally because of price barriers.

In Part 1 of this series, we explored how TradLaw’s commitment to the "Have, Cake & Eat" model relies upon clients assuming the cost of operational inefficiencies and overindulgences.

In this Part 2, we highlight a range of inefficiencies frequently present in the TradLaw model that flow as a direct result of TradLaw’s prevailing economic model and ensuing management culture.

The hourly rate remains the primary economic model pursued by TradLaw and essentially makes the adoption of service-based efficiencies an economically irrational choice for TradLaw. 

The associated 'culture' that has emerged within TradLaw management has only further exacerbated the acute inaccessibility of TradLaw to the global business community.

There is nothing funny about the resulting irony which the business community feels every day. TradLaw is actually unable to reduce its hourly rates to where the market needs them to be and yet at the same time it is not ready to let go of the hourly rate model.

We choose to highlight these inefficiencies, and their underlying cause, because the pathway for the legal industry to address and respond to this is clear – for those brave enough to tread it.

The emergence of industry disruptors like GLS (and those we fund) mean the best days of the legal industry are ahead!

We operate at 20% of the cost of comparable legal service providers whilst maintaining the same world-class quality – it’s as simple as that.

Big Law, Big Bills

Much of TradLaw has vigorously pursued short-term profit maximisation, while remaining wedded to a stunning array of inefficient practices that clients (and lawyers) have had to bear.

TradLaw and especially Big Law, has, whether due to tradition, ego or otherwise, allocated vast quantities of capital into platform features that do not create or readily translate into client value.

Consider the inefficiencies below: we will start with the more recognisable inefficiences and then move onto the more systemic structural issues, the chief among which is the billable hour.

As you review these inefficiencies – ask yourself – in how many other industries would they be able to exist before being eliminated by competitive market forces?

Inefficient: Premium CBD Premises

Before cars (and certainly before faxes, internet and emails) law firms needed to be located close to the courts and their clients, who were often clustered in the CBD.

The same cannot be said today where face-to-face meetings are increasingly infrequent. Lawyers can go months without actually seeing a client in person.

The cost of premium, and often self-aggrandising, CDB location premises are, in today's technological environment, an unnecessary indulgence which create very little client value.

Nice, but not necessary!

Inefficient: Ignoring transformative technology

Few industries have proven more resistant to the introduction of service delivery technologies than the legal industry.

In most other sectors, technology has been embraced to drastically increase output and lower production costs for the client/customer's benefit and preserve one’s competitive edge.

TradLaw, and particularly Big Law which can afford game changing technology, has failed to embrace technology where it matters, i.e. at the point of service delivery.

Why has this been the case? Simple. The longer it takes a TradLaw firm to complete a task (i.e. the more hours sold) the more it gets paid. 

"It is economically irrational for TradLaw to embrace efficiency as long as it remains wedded to hourly rate architecture."

TradLaw’s business has centered around selling the market what it increasingly does not want - time. Which leads us nicely to the next point ...

Inefficient: Failure to commoditise

Law is a knowledge-based industry where expertise is merely an aggregation of experience. 

We all know that business want solutions delivered with price certainty. Why then have commoditised, fixed price, knowledge-based products by and large failed to emerge?

The reality is that most areas of law remain static for sufficient periods of time to allow for the development of knowledge-based products and solutions – the wheel does not need reinventing at every turn.

Knowledge aggregation and its ease of access and retrieval is a key indicator of just how efficient a law firm is. It also allows fixed pricing models to emerge – something clients absolutely want.

So, where are these knowledge-based products?

The reality is that commoditised knowledge products do not involve the sale of hours and therefore do not make comfortable bedfellows for the Have Cake & Eat model.

Accordingly, the economies of scale that all other industries achieve from aggregation and volume are not pursued by Big Law and are generally not available to legal industry clients.

Note too that clients essentially want "yes" or "no" answers – "can I do this or not?". If many areas of law permit such responses, then why have law firms not responded to these demands?

Inefficient: Global Full Service Models

Big Law’s 'one-stop-shop' approach, discussed in more depth in our previous article, leads to what we call the "Pac-Man Model".  

Do you remember the Pac-Man gorging on ghosts? Similarly, Big Law's mouth tends to remain open, taking on anything and everything.

The economic imperatives of Big Law creates a gravitational pull away from strategic service excellence to a focus on volume – this leads to firms using their own people/offices even when the expertise/experience is lacking.

For those that have worked at Big Law – you will know that not all offices are equal, but the rates generally are!

Inefficient: Law firm management

"The problem with law firms is that they are run by lawyers!"

Law firms tend to choose leaders from within their own ranks; effectively, Big Law takes its best moneymakers and applies them to jobs they are by and large unqualified to do. 

Ineffectual and inexperienced management, whether global or regional, can bring with it a tremendous cost, which will inevitably be borne by clients.

The stories we could share with you on this one … the firm that bought a word processing system that perhaps two other organisations in the world would use or the Group Head that booked a practice Group Retreat and forgot to invite the other offices...

Inefficient: Ignoring the face time phenomenon

The fairly challenged Partnership Model which actually sees very few people truly benefiting may provide the backdrop to Big Law’s enduring attachment to the practice of "face to face" meetings.

At the drop of a hat Big Law’s partners are the first to jump to embrace the internal meeting, conferences and management retreats – and if some frequent flyer points inure then great!

How do grand auditoriums and international get-togethers with the associated business class flights, five star hotels and so on, really add client value? The answer is they do not.  

Frankly, the costs of the "internal get together" culture make the bills for taxis home after a particular hour, meals, replacement shirts and expenses over weekends, etc. – all seem a tad insignificant.

However, someone has been paying for it – and it hasn’t just been clients – the lawyers working in private practice are also paying the price (more on that in Part 3).

Lets now look at some of the more systemic causes of inefficiency associated with the way in which TradLaw is frequently organised and how it causes structural inefficiencies.

Inefficient: The Partnership Model

Law firms are owned and managed by partners who are primarily remunerated by direct reference to fee generation – a principle that can create both internal and external conflict.

That is, what a partner takes home to spend on his or her family is, by and large, dependent on achieving a personal/group budget. Progression at the associate level follows a similar path.

Organisational and skill deployment decisions by the firm may not always be aligned with the principle of identifying the "best lawyer for the job" or for that matter "workplace collegiality".

Instead, a territorial mindset plagues many law firms where partners and associates are incentivised to hold on to work better handled by others so as to drive their internal profit centre.

"If the best placed person is not actually carrying out the work then how can it be said that the work is being done as efficiently as possible from a time, cost and quality point of view?"

Interestingly, some might argue that the "lock-step" model avoided these kinds of issues … but they would need to show us where "lock-step" can genuinely still be found.

These inefficiencies are not limited to Big Law. Smaller firms tend also to operate "broad spectrum" practices where many things are "done" for the first time.

Our view is that a modern day law firm must be organised in such a way that the interests of clients must be firmly aligned with the interests of the lawyers serving them.

And then to the Big Enchilada!

Treat the cause of inefficiency, not the symptoms

Like the best medical advice available, the future for a better legal industry should involve treating the cause not the symptoms.

Underpinning the more systemic "hard to treat" inefficiencies discussed above, is unquestionably the hourly rate engagement model.

The "hourly rate" is the architect of TradLaw's organisational design and the author of its operational procedures that guarantee service delivery inefficiency.

"On what planet does charging by the hour drive efficient service delivery outcomes?"

But wait, counsel for the defence wants to give a few words prior to sentencing!

Haven't many firms been offering alternative fee arrangements ("AFAs") these days in response to client dissatisfaction with hourly rates?

Please! No one is at all convinced by those firms who now say that they are offering AFAs.

Yes - many firms are now offering AFAs (in the form of caps, collars, uplifts, etc.) as a replacement for hourly rates, but these are nothing more than a distraction away from the truth.

Most AFAs are ultimately a permutation/derivative of the hourly rates model, in that they link back to fee-earner hours and are therefore clouded by the same inefficiencies.

The hourly rate defines TradLaw and the processes by which it ticks over. Few parts of the TradLaw business are untouched by the hourly rate deity.

AFA's: The Wolf in Sheep's clothing

What other explanation could there be when, despite AFAs, most of Big Law's fee earners still have annual hourly billing targets and are paid by reference to hours worked and billed?

Big Law in particular still hires and fires according to classic TradLaw metrics of utilisation and recovery (by reference to hours recorded and charged). If your hours are up – you are safe. If they are down – watch out.

Can it continue?

What is truly remarkable is just how widespread such inefficiencies have become and how deeply they are embedded into the traditions and operating structures of the legal industry.

Market forces would heavily penalise organisations in other industries for engaging in any of these inefficiencies, let alone all of them. 

Much of TradLaw is so heavily burdened by its own structural, cultural and economic inefficiencies that it is actually incapable of pivoting to where the market requires.

One does not need to engage McKinsey to conclude that eliminating the above types of inefficiencies is entirely possible – however, you have to want to do so.

The "culture" of TradLaw originating and perpetuating accordingly to hourly rate architecture will remain the impermeable barrier to the progress of many TradLaw players.

As a result, client fees will continue to routinely exceed actual value received by considerable margins. An inherently inefficient platform cannot produce optimally efficient outcomes. 

Conclusion

Sadly, the TradLaw industry offers another example of why market disruption leading to more accessible services can rarely can be achieved by a dominant market play.

The hourly rate quite simply makes the adoption of efficiency an economically irrational choice for TradLaw – and critically, it has allowed the ensuing culture of inefficiency to arise and perpetuate.

Until it can free itself of hourly rate thinking, TradLaw will remain afflicted by DNA level inefficiencies (or continued susceptibility to them) by clients and employee lawyers.

It was for this reason that the GLS Group chose to start again. True market disruption cannot come from a dominant player whose culture and economic model is designed to stifle real change.

While TradLaw has proven stubbornly resistant to embracing efficiency, we at GLS, and other innovators who we work with and fund, are leading the charge.

"We asked ourselves the question that TradLaw refuses to address – just how efficiently can a law firm be run? We then built a business around the answer."

GLS has shown that time and cost can be removed as barriers for most businesses requiring world-class legal support. We now operate at 20% of the cost of comparable providers.

Choosing to be more accessible is but part of the battle – you need to also be operating from a platform that has been built to achieve and foster perpetual levels of efficiency.

We have established a purpose-built platform designed free of cultural inefficiencies based upon a business model that can only ever be achieved through the pursuit of ever increasing efficiency.

For those that wonder how we have achieved our stunning market proposition – here is the quick and dirty answer – reject the "hourly rate".

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

Un-breaking the law

2 minutes • 06 Apr 17

Depressed young businessman sitting wet under rain.jpeg

The hourly rate is no longer an effective meeting point for those that need legal support and those that provide it.  Query if it ever was?

So, we asked a question:

How can we make world-class legal solutions accessible at a fixed price that all businesses globally can access?

We then built a business around the answer.

Welcome to Global Legal Solutions.  Law Rewritten.

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

 

back

Back

Traditional Law is Broken (Part 1)

5 minutes • 14 Jul 16

Broken

The traditional law firm model (“TradLaw”) as we know it is broken; but fortunately, a new dawn is upon the legal industry and its best days are unquestionably still ahead.

In this four-part series, Global Legal Solutions (“GLS”) unpacks the demise of so called ‘TradLaw’ and the rise of alternative solutions for disillusioned lawyers and dissatisfied clients.

In this first article we explain what “TradLaw” is and identify the forces of change that are reshaping the legal industry – taking it into a better place, one where business can actually access it. 

TradLaw does not like change.  Given that there are still a few more years of higher profits within easy “redundancy” driven reach, many players will continue to resist the inevitable.

Nevertheless, the TradLaw model is in a serial state of decay - business cannot access it.        

TradLaw - having their cake and eating it

TradLaw is the classic owner/partner law firm model built upon hourly rate architecture.  Time is the unit of trade, and how much time is sold is the essential management/performance/productivity KPI.   

The model focuses on short-term profit maximisation whilst remaining wedded to a wide variety of inherently inefficient operating practices that actually prevent optimised service delivery.

We call this the “Have Cake & Eat” model – and oh how much cake has been eaten over the years!

For over a century, the Have Cake & Eat model has made TradLaw partners rich.  The resulting costs of legal services, however, have now finally proven too much for most businesses globally. 

The inarguable reality is that even the biggest businesses globally are unable to afford access to quality legal support, either at all or in the quantities they would like.  Or is your business different?

Who are the culprits?

Unfortunately, the Have Cake & Eat model is prevalent across much of the legal industry – most firms are heavily influenced by hourly rate architecture and its associated decision making.

Just how ill-suited this model is for the future is demonstrated by the incredibly short life cycle of Big Law - the legal industry’s response to globalisation – a phenomenon that should actually bring prices down!

Big Law was set up to provide what smaller law firms could not - heavy lift, ‘full-service’ and diverse legal capabilities, increasingly across borders.  It is now the most expensive form of TradLaw.

At its peak, Big Law was only ever accessible to a fraction of the overall MNC business community - principally the investment banks and Fortune 500 type companies.

Despite the appeal of a globalised legal ‘one-stop-shop’, even the biggest global corporates cannot justify the cost, and many have abandoned Big Law for more cost effective alternatives.

The same backlash is faced by most TradLaw operators, whether big or small.  The brutal truth is that the global business community considers TradLaw (and especially Big Law) to be cost inaccessible.  

Access to knowledge has always levelled the playing field and every law firm has an internet connection.  In the case of Big Law, geographic coverage alone cannot and does not justify the fees that Big Law charge.

"The party is well and truly over!"

 

A delicious irony - famine where there ought to be feast

There is a delicious irony in that TradLaw’s model is rapidly approaching the end of its shelf life at a time when global demand for legal support is at an all-time high. 

"Irrespective of the global financial crisis (the “GFC”), the global economy needs its lawyers now more than ever."  

Businesses worldwide are choking on increased regulation – it is getting harder (not easier) for businesses to do business, especially across borders.

Yet, paradoxically, supply and demand (being the vast, pent up pool of latent demand that exists globally) is not connecting efficiently via the TradLaw construct.

The problem is not what TradLaw is offering, but how it is being offered.

The legal industry must find a new way of connecting supply and demand and TradLaw is not the answer.  Fortunately, new ways are emerging, and organisations like GLS are leading the way.

Take just 90 seconds to see how we are making world-class legal support available on a global basis at not more than 20% of the cost of comparable world class providers. Click here to view video.

The omens of demise

Despite intensifying dissatisfaction with the current TradLaw model amongst clients and practitioners alike, the omens of impending demise are being ignored by most TradLaw operators. 

Sadly, nowhere is the proverbial ostrich's head buried more deeply in the sand than in the case of our old friend ‘Big Law’. 

Much of TradLaw (especially Big Law) is so heavily burdened by its own structural, cultural and economic inefficiencies that its ability to affect a corrective pivot to where clients need it is limited.

A century of the Have Cake & Eat model reliably delivering super profits has given many TradLaw operators a false sense of confidence, especially when PEP can still be easily increased.

Flat lined markets continue to be dismissed by many as being “GFC down” aggravated by a “cyclical temporary oversupply of lawyers” to be corrected by rounds of redundancies and early partner exits.

And a new phenomenon has emerged - excess capacity within Big Law’s ranks is now being bundled into the so-called premium brand, low cost offering.  Slightly cheaper units of time are now available.

Is this enlightened management, market insight or simply redundancy without the charge?  To us it sounds like Big Law being Big Law – people being sacrificed at the altar of profit.

Dividing 10 by 3 instead of 5 to keep the PEP on the rise can only go on for so long.  Self-cannibalisation in the absence of the desire or ability to affect a strategic structural response is not sustainable.

Change within TradLaw can only come from the top but its leaders are typically in their sunset years; taking a PEP hit “for the team” in order to effect the necessary structural change is hardly likely.  

How do you think that “home-front” conversation will play out? “Honey I shrunk the pay-cheque, but the next generation are going to be in better shape”.  Let’s revisit the headcount shall we!

Our profession deserves more than this.

"Darwinian evolutionary theory has not granted the legal industry an exemption, it has just been a bit slow to arrive."

So what next?

As any good story requires, even in our forlorn industry, hope springs eternal; Darwinian evolutionary theory has not granted the legal industry an exemption, it has just been a bit slow to arrive.

Our industry is becoming far more accessible.  GLS, and others like us, are utilising new business models to remove time and cost as barriers to businesses needing the highest quality legal support.

As an industry, our best years are ahead.  It has never been a better time to be a lawyer - not only is there a lot of work available to be done, the work we must do is important.

Years of quantitative easing/fiscal stimulus has done little to lift the GFC cloud – only businesses doing business can do that – and we (the lawyers) must be accessible to make that happen.

In our next article we will identify the inefficiencies that Big Law could easily eradicate and bring legal costs down by 80%.  That is what we have achieved at GLS.  

We are 20% of the cost of Big Law – yet offer our clients access to the same quality of lawyers in the same markets.  In fact, most of our lawyers have joined us from Big Law. Whilst Big Law is firing, GLS is hiring globally.

In subsequent articles we will show how separation from the billable hour and reconciliation with disengaged employees is the key to the modernisation of the legal industry.  

Finally, we at GLS categorically dismiss Big Law’s claims of there being an over-supply of lawyers -  the only thing in over-supply is over-priced and cost inaccessible lawyers! 

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

CSI

Focus on kids

3 minutes • 13 May 15

Focus_on_kids_-_011.jpeg

Children are our future

Without strong, healthy and educated children our sustained future is questionable. Yes there are those children that have all they need, but there are many, many more that have nothing at all.  It is the joy in being in a position to be able to make a difference to a young life and to see how that difference can translate into an opportunity (or something else special) that drives us.

Everyone deserves the best start possible – how can we possibly expect the next generation to be the best they can be, to be the next generation of doctors, scientists, even lawyers, if the very foundation upon which to grow is lacking. Without a decent start, their chances of success are greatly reduced and if we can somehow make a small difference even to just one child we will have achieved what we set out to do.

We considered whether or not to sponsor a chair at a university to assist in further studies and various other options but believe offering support at the 'grassroots' level is where we believe we can make the most happen.

Many of our team are parents themselves and see how their children flourish in the right environment. Why should an orphaned or underprivileged child be refused this simply because of the circumstances that they were born into and through no fault or no choice of their own?

We want to offer help and support to the most vulnerable and underprivileged children - whether it is providing an environment and tools to help them learn, donating funds to support the provision of medical needs or whether it is simply being there to provide a voice and a network to support them.

We feel rightly obligated to give back to the world from which we have benefitted. We are truly grateful for the privileges and opportunities that we had growing up (e.g. access to medicine, shelter, education, and a safe and loving environment in which to develop) and want to do our best to help allow as many children as possible to experience the same.

We must “start at the very beginning, a very good place to start” (“Mary Poppins”). If we don’t start with babies, what hope do they have growing up without the tools they need to equip them for life in general?

We hope that by donating 10% of our global profits to projects across the world that focus on making a difference to the lives of the most vulnerable children, we too are contributing. This support and opportunity will hopefully give them what they need to unlock their full potential.

If you too want to be involved in any of our projects just let us know... you would be most welcome to join us.

back

Back

What makes GLS Law so accessible

4 minutes • 29 Apr 15

head.jpeg

GLS Law will only offer support where we know that we can do so in a way that represents a "by far and away market leading" support proposition. This means that being just a "little bit better" is not good enough.  Our support proposition must at all times be a lot better than what is generally offered. This is how we are guaranteed to stand out.

Our commitment to market leading support is absolute and inviolable - our whole business has been built from the ground up to achieve this result. If our support proposition does not represent a "by far and away market leading" proposition then we will cease to offer it. Support from GLS must and always will be a superior option.

So, what makes the GLS Law support proposition market leading? Well, the simple answer is our 'Optimal Efficiency Framework' - it governs all the decisions we make and how we deliver our support.

Our commitment to 'optimal efficiency' is unwavering and resides in our DNA. From our organisational design through to all our operational methods - we do not engage in activities that do not create 'optimally efficient' client outcomes. We are committed to making our world class support increasingly accessible to our clients - big or small - without price discrimination.  Not only do we have to deliver ever improving quality, we have to make sure that that quality of our support becomes increasingly accessible to all businesses.

Being optimally efficient is as much about what we 'refrain from doing' as it is about 'what we do'.  

Our 'Optimal Efficiency Framework' requires that how we operate and what we offer must strictly meet each of the following requirements:

  • focus: we focus on specific areas of support (corporate, commercial and special projects) - being the areas of need faced by most businesses - we cannot be all things to all business
  • simplicity: our support proposition must be simple to implement and provide an immediate and effective support to the challenges faced by our clients
  • client-centric: our support (and what we charge) must be free, and remain free, of any elements that do not benefit the end customer
  • efficient: how we operate must be free, and remain free, of the historic, structural, cultural and economic inefficiencies that are endemic to Big Law platforms
  • verifiable: our support must tangibly and demonstrably increase the effectiveness of each clients' existing legal resources
  • procurable: our offering must be an imminently sensible and justifiable procurement choice
  • accesible: we must be accessible to both large and small businesses
  • alignment: we must maintain as near to 100% interest alignment as possible between us, our employees and you, our client.

So, there it is - this is what makes shapes every aspect of GLS Law. It is only when all of the above conditions are met that we put our name, GLS Law, to the support proposition. If we are unable to offer a support scenario that complies with our 'Optimal Efficiency Framework' then it will not see the light of day. 

You may be asking "why would we just give it away like that?". Well, that's a good question. The reality is that most law firms will be unable to pivot in the direction taken by GLS Law in any event. Their entire model is based around an hourly rate architecture which prevents strategic adaptation. An inefficient platform cannot produce efficient results. An hourly rate offered from an inefficient platform is required to subsidise those inefficiencies.  

We believe that much of the legal industry is riddled with structural, cultural, economic and historic inefficiencies that go back more than a century.  This means that despite the huge hourly rates Big Law charges, they still 'hit the bone' pretty quickly when they try and move their prices to where the market requires it. Again, an inefficient platform cannot produce efficient results - not without someone paying the price. 

We believe that the only way the industry can end its free-fall/free fall into further 'inaccessibility' is if more players move into the provision of genuinely accessible service delivery. New things must be tried. We are happy for others to follow our lead. The more that do so the better our industry will become. 

At the heart of our offering is combining 'outstanding talent' with 'superior processes'. We then apply the transformative effect of technology enabled solutions. Technology-enabled legal support makes 'better', 'faster' and 'cheaper' (i.e. - 'optimal efficiency') possible for much of the legal services continuum. To be clear - quality is greatly improved whilst decreasing the cost of access. This has worked in every other industry so why not law? The legal industry cannot and should not continue to resist the transformative impact of technology. 

GLS Law's culture is to introduce 'technology' into the design and implementation of our legal support scenarios so as to deliver exceptional 'optimal efficiency'. Not only are our lawyers more accessible, but we give them ways to achieve greater productivity. We give them the resources to allow them to focus on lawyering and not other tasks which do not constitute lawyering but are frequently on charged as such (e.g. typing, proof reading, etc.). GLS Law strives to deliver greater quality and reducing costs of access. 

GLS Law cannot change the entire legal industry by itself - we want others to join us as we create a better industry - one that business can be proud of. It is for this reason that despite making 'by the hour' lawyering far more accessible than it has ever been - our focus is on doing away with the hourly rate wherever we can. This is why we are working so hard in the fixed price solutions space. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements in this regard... 

back

Back

Traditional Law: Why has law run off the track?

1 minute • 31 Dec 14

off_track(2)

For those who are wondering what has happened to the traditional legal industry, please take a look at the following short clip which provides some outstanding insights into an industry bloated by its own greed.

The clip lends support to GLS' view that an almost universal dissatisfaction now exists with and within the industry. 

Take a look at the clip and let us know what you think ...

 

Ready to transform your legal team?

Please check out the GLS solutions on the right of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. Of course, if you would like to book a 30 minute free consult with GLS to discuss your transformation needs – please book here.

In the interim, here are 8 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- read it thoroughly and regularly - it is a wonderful transformation companion.

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: sign up for our hugely successful 10-week email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team - sign up here.

3. GLS Resource Centre: click on our Resource Channel and access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc., - all of which focus on how to help you improve your legal team's performance.

4. GLS Legal Dept. Health Audit: to self-assess critical aspects of your legal team's current performance capabilities, you can access our free, market-leading tool here.

5. 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.

6. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS Connect page and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community.

7. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a transformation support plan from GLS - learn more here.

8. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: register here to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to enjoy more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources for free.

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

back

Back

CSI

We visit hospital No. 2 in Gorlovka, Ukraine

We visit hospital No. 2 in Gorlovka, Ukraine

4 minutes • 26 Nov 14

baby_feet_-_02a.jpeg

Today was without doubt one of best days of my professional life for it was surely work in the legal industry that made it possible. Today my wife and I visited an extremely special place in Gorlovka, Ukraine. We visited the children's specialist ward at Hospital No. 2 and met some real life Angels, some new to this world and a few that have been around for a little longer.

For those of you who don't know much about the Ukraine, it is Europe's poorest country. The Ukraine has been literally pillaged by decades of rampant out of control corruption. In what should be one of Europe's greatest countries blessed with an abundance of natural resources, the average monthly salary in a city like Gorlovka (and much of the rest of the Ukraine) is just USD500. It is no wonder that much of the country looks back to the former USSR with great fondness - life was better then.

If the last few decades have not been tough enough already, this beautiful country is now in a state of civil war. But the people of the Ukraine are strong - this is what survival requires. Here, family is strong, tradition is strong, culture is strong - the people are passionate. But for some though, in this already tough country, life will be harder still. Life will not begin with or offer the comforts of the Ukraine's greatest treasure - family.

Sadly, in the Ukraine many children are abandoned at birth to the care of a State that is bankrupt. A mother who gives birth can sign a form and her child is whisked away into State care - there is more paperwork involved in selling a car. We at GLS so desperately wanted to help these children because who could be more deserving of a little bit of help than a beautiful baby who has entered this world in such a harsh fashion.

Having previously had cause to visit the children's hospital in Gorlovka, we had decided that this was where GLS would initiate its first project. Just try and imagine what a public health care system would be like in the Ukraine, particularly at this time when funding for many public institutions in the East of Ukraine has been interrupted. The tireless doctors just do not have the basic resources, let alone medical supplies, they need. Yet, each day they perform seeming miracles in the circumstances. Cries are quieted, tummies are filled, and pain is eased. Health is returned for many.

When we asked how we could help Hospital No. 2, we thought it might be a new x-ray machine that was needed. We were blown away by what they requested. It was not some new high-tech piece of medical equipment - it was just simply baby change tables. The ones that they had were so old and dilapidated that it was unsafe to place babies on them to change their nappies and otherwise administer care.

We dutifully commissioned the construction of 16 new hospital grade baby preparation tables - two for each room in the children's ward. Today we delivered those tables to Hospital No. 2. The gratitude with which these tables were received was humbling. Just think about it - the biggest help we could provide was a sturdy change table upon which to prepare these newborn Little Angels. When we asked what next we could do, they showed us their baby cots. Believe us - we have our next project!

The nurses in this hospital earn around USD120 per month - the doctors not much more - USD250 month. The staff at Hospital No. 2 care for these babies as though they were their own. These children, and so many more just like them, need more than a little help and we were so pleased to be able to contribute.

There is still so much more to be done, particularly for those children who, when they are well enough to leave the hospital, will be taken to a State orphanage. We met some of those babies today and it was impossibly difficult to consider their fate - life ought to be kinder to these Little Angels.

My 16-month old son has just climbed up on the bed where I have literally just finished this post. He is jumping around on the bed just as happy as can be. I am sure he knows how much he is loved but I feel the need to go and hold him close and tell him again for the twentieth time today. And, as I do, I think of those children at Hospital No. 2, and all those hospitals across the world just like it. Where is their home? Such Angels deserve a far better welcome to this world.

FREE DOWNLOAD: GLS’s Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations.

close-icon
×
Plans

Transform your legal team with a plan to suit all of your needs.

Trial

Get started at no cost

Bronze

Taking formidable steps

Silver

Building transformative momentum

Gold

Advanced legal operations