As businesses grow and increase their clout, decision-makers realize that there are a lot of legal matters that need to be handled properly. You have to manage patents, copyrights, and trademarks. You will have to make sure that every contract or agreement is fair and beneficial for you. And on top of that, you may face some irate customers who want to turn their complaints into legal disputes. These concerns can be addressed when you have a legal department.
You may already have your in-house counsel, but are you running it efficiently? Now’s the time to be honest, especially that great shifts have happened in many workplaces. The first thing that you need to do is to run your law department like it is a business unit. You need to make it independent, and at the same time, you need to empower it.
If you are looking for some tips on how to run your corporate legal department, here are a few pointers that may help you out:
Look into their workload
Because your legal department is a business unit, you need to allocate enough resources, such as time and money to them. Such allocations should perfectly complement the workload of the department – they will not be able to work properly if they are running on a small budget. With this in mind, accurately determine and manage the amount of work coming into their office. Proper delegation of tasks and smart scheduling of deadlines will not only help you cut costs through efficiency. It will also lessen the amount of stress that your employees will experience.
Allow the department to outsource tasks
Speaking of workload, know that your legal department is not a super department that can accommodate all your requests as you please. With that in mind, you need to outsource some services and specializations to other vendors. For one, if one of your employees have dealt with a personal injury caused by a third party supplier, you can be of assistance to them by allowing your legal team to call an experienced personal injury lawyer. If your department has already had a roster of partners and outsourcing companies, it is your job to regularly evaluate them. That way, you can ensure that they will only provide quality services.
In recent years, running law firms or in your case, a legal department has become much easier through technology and online tools. You need to innovate yours, too. And you can do that by integrating programs and applications, such as document management tools, cloud services, accounting software, and mobile and applications.
What’s great about this is that you can always find vendors or suppliers that offer customized services made for law firms and legal departments. To get the best tools, you need to assess accurately the needs of your department. That will also make sure that the tools will be maximized.
Revisit your goals and metrics
To increase your legal department’s chances for success, you will need to look into its goals and metrics. First, make sure that they are still aligned with the overall vision of the company. Second, you must determine the course of action that the department will take (e.g. hiring new people, getting a new supplier, streamlining collaboration with other departments).
Your legal department is one of the major support systems of your company. It not only helps maintain order within the organization but it also protects it from external threats. It somewhat works as an immune system and an external shield. As such, you should do your best to run it like a pro.