Designing a legal function of the future
Step 1: Understanding and addressing the demand on the legal function.
Our client, the GC and his leadership team of a large energy company based in Japan, approached NRF Transform’s Legal Operations Consulting (LOC) team to plan for an extensive period of global growth over the next decade. Specifically, the client wanted to confirm that they had the right team to support the business through this period.
At the time of instruction, the legal team had no existing tech tools, processes or plans to work from. However, they knew they would need these in place over the coming years. They approached NRF with the general concept that they wanted to improve, but had no idea where to start, or how they would go about the process.
It was apparent that before the client could start the process of improving or even identifying areas for improvement, they should spend time capturing information on the team’s workload and the way they currently managed incoming work.
Three possible solutions were proposed to tackle this, each with its own pros and cons: task diaries to be completed by the team over a defined period to identify pain points; time recording to be completed by the team to provide structured data on activity levels; implementation of an intake process and accompanying tech tool to effectively monitor the operations of the team. The client opted for the intake system, given its long-term benefits for their legal operations.
The client also requested a change management programme to maintain compliance with the implementation of the intake process and tool, but also to engender engagement and enthusiasm with the change.
The project involved several stages:
- Step One: Change management workshops with the leadership and wider team to understand the project positioning and goals, introduce the Legal Ops consultants and establish measurements of success.
- Step Two: Creation of a taxonomy to describe and categorise incoming work. To achieve this, we created a draft from the client’s documentation and interviewed the team for feedback and refinement. Information was then consolidated into a report for the client’s management team and was also shared with the wider team in an anonymised format to ensure transparency amongst all stakeholders.
- Step Three: Mapping and improving the existing intake process, which was a collaborative stage between our Legal Operations Consulting and Legal Design teams. Client workshops were conducted to refine the process and a new process map was created, highlighting agreed improvements.
- Step Four: In parallel with implementing the new intake process, Transform worked with a legal technology vendor to customise and deploy an intake tool. Support was given to the client to ensure the taxonomy built into the tool was both suitable from a legal perspective and feasible from a data perspective.
Results and benefits
- A clearly planned intake and allocation process with high stakeholder engagement resulting in a successful intake system roll out.
- Consistent capture of data and access to previously unavailable data to position the Legal department as progressive, whilst also demonstrating its value to the business