A magic pill for in-house lawyers and GCs.

May 19, 2021

Ahh, transformation.

Such a high achiever with its 1.49 million hits on Google.

As Paris Hilton would say, “it’s so hot right now”.

Transformation of the self. Transformation of industry. Transformation of legal teams, of law firms, of regulations, of leadership, of services, of products, of operations. Just more transformation, please.

In my recent conversations with in-house practitioners, it seems that the pressure to transform is mounting more than ever before – either from the C-suite, via external audits, or General Counsel awakening to the fact that they need to change in order to stay current, and to keep up with a 25% increase in workload over the next three years[1].

But where you do you start?

I wish there was a magic pill to prescribe my fellow in-house lawyers and GCs when it comes to transformation.

In the absence of that magic pill, what I can recommend is this pretty comprehensive General Counsel Toolkit produced by NewLaw firm, LegalVision (a firm whose Desk Extension service – LegalVision’s enterprise subscription legal services product – we used in my last role in order to gain more efficiency for the non-automatable BAU (business as usual) legal work via a combination of its lawyers, process and tech – see card U4 in the Toolkit).

It is written by those who are clued into legal operations. It’s a Toolkit I wish I had access to when I was at the beginning of my journey, as a greenfield General Counsel who also decided to take on legal operations, without additional resources, but with a big vision.

It’s focused on helping in-house teams unlock creative and new ways of delivering legal services so that you can boost efficiencies and uncover value for your organisation.

And, for those of you with budget constraints, it’s free.

In a recent EY and Harvard Law School Centre survey on the legal profession, the data points to some tensions around transformation in law land:

  • “More than half (59%) of General Counsel believe that greater use of technology is a way to reduce costs. However, only 50% of law departments have increased the use of technology over the past 12 months, and only 30% of in-house counsel say they have the technology required to do their job; and
  • More than eight in ten (83%) say they lack the skills needed to automate processes, while 41% report they lack the data and/or expertise to develop a case for investment into legal technology”.

Doing anything for the first time is rough, messy, and requires fiery discipline. Tackling transformation in addition to an in-house or General Counsel role that could do with a serious diet, is sobering.

Trust me, I feel you. I’ve so been there, when transformation wasn’t a thing, which was challenging for different reasons.

Transformation can be complex. It certainly doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There’s a huge human piece to it. Becoming tech savvy takes time. Becoming more business minded and data focused is not something we are taught in law school. Without the resources to hire a consultant, it can be tricky to find short cuts and keep accountable to milestones and goals.

It is a new skill which leading lawyers must acquire, and nurture in themselves and in the staff they manage. It requires an ability to sell in ideas, use data for business cases, adopt change management techniques, project manage, collaborate with business colleagues in a way that’s not been done before, and communicate with creativity in order to drive engagement and buy in.

I hope this post helps you shift your mindset away from transformation being a hot potato, to them more confident Paris Hilton vibes.

You’ve got this!

Thanks for reading.

Stay positive and future focused.

Anna x

[1] https://www.ey.com/en_sa/news/2021/03/legal-departments-face-rising-tide-of-challenges-in-their-transformation-efforts-ey-law-and-harvard-law-school-center-on-the-legal-profession-survey-finds


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