Best Practices and Priorities for GCs

By on April 21, 2017

Nancy Jessen, UnitedLex

General counsel must look for ways to protect the company’s legal and business interests while managing costs and maintaining efficiency in the department. Changing how the department delivers legal services requires a business oriented mindset, and informed determination of which of the skills needed for efficiency gains are more available outside the department.

In respect to contract review, the tactical approach is to look at each contract individually. A more strategic approach is to analyze contracts as a portfolio, to understand which clauses typically delay contract negotiations, and to recommend language changes that will require fewer review cycles.

Intellectual property can be a source of revenue loss for many corporations, particularly when it comes to enforcement. Shifting day-to-day management to an external provider allows the internal legal team to focus on identifying potential IP revenue opportunities or strategic acquisitions. Many legal departments already outsource e-discovery and other litigation support functions. An outside  provider can scale service levels as needed, and establish measurable criteria so that performance goals are met.

Balancing efficiency and effectiveness requires identifying high-value activities that actively support business success, redefining the role of internal resources and leveraging complementary external service providers. Establishing business oriented benchmarks helps GCs understand what kind of work is being performed and how much effort is undertaken, and it enables demonstration of the department’s positive impact on overall business performance.

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