In-House Legal Tip: Harness the Power of Legal Process Standardization

Can you afford not to be leveraging the power of process standardization?

3 mins • 05 Jun 23


Harness the Power of Legal process Standardisation

Are you harnessing the power of standardization based efficiencies within your in-house legal department?

In-house legal teams are so busy that they should never allow a chance to standardize a routine legal process to pass them by.

A guiding principle of legal operations is that in-house legal teams standardize every process within their department that is sensible to standardize.

Not only is it an essential pre-cursor to digitisation, but applying standardization to routine legal processes delivers immediate improvements in efficiency, effectiveness, and overall performance.

Benefits of Legal Process Standardization 

By creating a comprehensive repository of documented processes, an in-house legal department has a low-cost means to exponentially improve its performance capabilities.

Specific benefits include:

  • Capturing best practices which become “your way” of doing things
  • Boosting the consistency and reliability of legal processes
  • Establishes clear guidelines and expectations
  • Reduces ambiguity and the likelihood of errors
  • Facilitates safe downward delegation to more junior, in-house counsel team members
  • Reduces team members' learning curves
  • Enhances readiness for legal-tech adoption, especially for process automation
  • Facilitates more efficient legal team member onboarding
  • Enhances team member collaboration – freeing up senior resources for more strategic work
  • De-risks the broader digitization process/initiatives that many organizations will pursue

This list of benefits for the standardization of routine legal process could run to several pages long – as a performance initiative for an in-house legal team, standardization is one of the best.

How to standardize a legal team process:

So, how do you do it? Well – it’s not that difficult, but it does take an active commitment to to step back from being “too busy” and make yourself “less busy".

Here are a few practical suggestions for how you can deploy a standardization initiative:

1. Identify All Processes: there are no excuses for not knowing the processes that sit behind the legal work you do and the legal services you provide

2. Identify Qualifying Process: identify those processes that are deployed frequently

3. Identify Target Processes: choose a handful of the most frequently used and/or most important. E.g. consider processes like contract approvals, knowledge management, financial management, departures from adopted policies, vendor management, etc.

4. Appoint Process Owner: allocate a single team member to produce a rough “first draft” - this person does not need to be a business process automation expert, a common sense first stab is just fine

5. Utilise Visualisation Tools: map out the process in a visualization tool like LucidChart

6. Step By Step: break the process down to the smallest possible individual steps

7. Robust First Draft: produce your first draft of the process on an "end-to-end" basis

8. Invite the Sceptics: invite the wider corporate counsel team to actively try and “break” the process. Harness their cynical nature for the benefit of this task!

9. Fix It: revise the process to resolve any elements that your in-house team found to be broken

10. Smooth It Out: actively try and render a “reliable” process that is as efficient as possible

11. Adopt It: get formal adoption of your new process

12. Train On It: train all users of the process on how it should be working

13. Continuously Improve It: every process should welcome continuous improvement

14. Automate It: at an appropriate point in time, potentially as part of a broader digital transformation initiative, automate the process. This might involve the adoption of process automation based, legal technologies


Conclusion: A legal operations essential

Standardizing and documenting processes for routine legal tasks is a transformative approach for the in-house legal department that is striving for efficiency. It is a legal operations 101 performance principle but you do not need a dedicated legal operations team to start this process for you!

If you are a General Counsel, Head of Legal or Chief Legal Office, a key question you should be asking is: are you leveraging the power of process standardization for your in-house legal team?

By implementing this practice, legal teams can reduce errors, enhance collaboration, and optimize their workflows in a way that improves their contributions to the business.

The result is increased productivity, improved quality of work, and the ability to support the broader goals of the business effectively.

Embrace this approach, and watch your legal department thrive in a more streamlined and efficient manner.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

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