In-House Legal Tip: Get your Legal Dept. Operating Authority

1 min • 27 Jul 23


The Legal Department Operating Authority (“LDOA”) is an essential corporate asset that is necessary to empower the performance of your in-house legal team. 

Operating an in-house legal team that has not been properly enabled by an LDOA is like being asked to take your Business on a long journey in a car without wheels - it’s going to be bumpy and you may not get there, particularly if optimal performance is your goal.

There are no exceptions to this principle. 

The LDOA enables the following key ways: 

1) Operating Responsibility: the LDOA defines precisely what the in-house legal team is responsible for and drives internal understanding (and acceptance) of the legal team’s role. For many teams, this will bring an end to highly toxic internal “border” skirmishes around responsibility.

2) Resourcing Justification: a clear mandate makes it far easier for the legal team to make justified resourcing requests of the Business. The team has a clear mandate that the Business is either willing or unwilling to resource. 

3) Performance Validation: it is very hard for a legal team to be judged fairly if its mandate is not clear. The LDOA provides clear benchmarks against which legal team performance can be fairly judged.

4) Operational Efficiency: being clear on your team’s mandate promotes streamlined decision-making (and process delegation), and increases responsiveness by empowering the team to act promptly and with clarity, without unnecessary bureaucratic delays. 

There is a virtually-endless list of benefits that result from a legal team operating by reference to a clearly defined LDOA.

 A good LDOA should cover: 

  • a clear mission / responsibility statement
  • the legal duties of the team
  • primary function articulation 
  • primary mandate articulation 
  • specialist role mandates 
  • special project mandates
  • global synergies & rationalization mandate
  • legal operations mandate
  • compliance management mandate
  • legal team management
  • external consultant management
  • corporate management mandate
  • reserved decision making
  • key offices inside the legal team
  • key team member roles & responsibilities
  • the team's functional roles & responsibilities
  • approved structure and reporting lines of the legal team
  • how the legal team's performance will be judged
  • recognized “value add” contributions

If you do not already have an existing LDOA, you can get one at: GLS Legal Team Operating Authority


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

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