Designing an in-house legal team strategy
Helping an in-house legal function define a strategy and a vision for the future
The regional GC of a large global insurer was taking part in a business-wide initiative to reduce their spend and improve operational efficiency (“Project Z”), headed by a large global consultancy firm.
At the same time, the GC was new in her role and the company was shifting strategic direction. Their goal was to use the opportunity to develop a clear strategy to direct the legal department’s priorities over the coming years, which also aligned with wider strategic considerations.
NRF Transform’s Legal Operations Consulting team developed a strategy which:
- aligned to the wider strategic planning exercise;
- identified legal department services not currently being provided, but which the business would value, and developed plans to implement these within the current team resource; and
- enabled clear and communicable prioritisation of the activities and projects within the legal team, to best support its own strategic objectives and those of the wider business.
Step 1: The NRF team started by completing an extensive review of the client’s business strategy documentation and vision, to understand the wider strategic objectives of the business.
Step 2: The client’s legal team’s senior stakeholders – including the CEO and CFO – were surveyed to understand their priorities for the business, as well as any specific suggestions as to how legal could support them.
Step 3: Using the outcomes from the strategy document review alongside the survey responses, several key areas for development were identified.
Step 4: The NRF team then worked with the client’s GC to translate these wider objectives into four specific, equivalent objectives for the legal team.
Within each of these objectives, the NRF team defined a set of workstreams with clear steps to help the client’s team achieve their objectives:
- Data analysis;
- Process improvement;
- Cultural change;
- Alignment with business risk appetite; and
- Leveraging technology.
For each individual step, the team provided the client with suggested metrics for measuring success, to make certain that progress in implementing the strategy as a whole could be measured.
Step 5: As a final step, the NRF Legal Operations Consulting team worked alongside the NRF Legal Design team to condense the report into an attractive, simple and clear 'one-pager' for the client’s legal team. This acted as a single point of reference for the team to check their actions against.
Results and benefits:
- The client now has a legal-specific direction and action plan to follow and can effectively prioritise additional recommendations from Project Z in line with the wider business’s objectives.
- Project Z was focused on saving employee time. The new strategy highlights priority areas where these hours can be re-allocated to the best effect.
- The process of designing the strategy involved outreach to Legal's stakeholders. This has had a positive effect on the internal perception of Legal.
- As part of the Project, an unintended consequence was the discovery of the positive perception of the Compliance function in the business, and the practices which generated this. This has therefore been shared with Legal who can learn from and adapt their colleagues’ practices.