In-House Legal Tip: Never Fail

3 min • 13 Aug 22


Most corporate ecosystems are littered with the carcasses of failed transformation initiatives. Dramatic right? But true!

Corporate actors like to be associated with “team success” but will abandon “team failure” faster than you can blink. 

When travelling down the transformation road, your legal department must adopt a “near-zero risk of failure” mindset when selecting which initiatives to implement.

This doesn’t mean that you sit on your hands and do nothing. It means thinking hard about what is likely to succeed and what is known to fail. And then acting accordingly. 

Again, if you want your in-house legal team transformation program to succeed, focus on what you have reasonable grounds to believe is likely to succeed. 

The themes that will keep you on the successful pathway are:

• Think successful, not fast.
• Take small, low-risk steps consistently.
• No Big Bangs ever. We repeat – no Big Bangs.
• Forget about major tech implementations until at least Year 2 of your program.
• Get your low-tech implementations in order first. 
• Run away from the notion of software-led transformations. 
• Focus on quick wins that your internal client will see and appreciate. Small things will be appreciated.
• Avoid tackling initiatives in Year 1 that involve dealing with difficult internal stakeholders – you know who they are.
• Start with initiatives that your team can deliver. 
• Get the younger team members involved.
• Get your business to ask you for what you know they need. 

At a minimum, do a desktop based “internal client survey” to document their needs. 

Legal team transformations have historically had a low incidence of success and can frequently drag on and stall. Do not let this happen to your team. 

Success is the fuel that you will need to keep your transformation program on track, budgeted, and supported internally. So, be successful by focusing on what can be successful, and avoid what frequently fails.

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