C. Step Three: Structuring Operations to Achieve Success
Having decided upon a strategic course and set of metrics that will help deliver greater value, it is
then critical to align both internal and external operations to execute these strategies. This entails,
among other things, focusing on the core considerations below.
Make Vs. Buy Analysis
One of the first steps in successfully structuring operations is conducting a “make vs. buy”
analysis to determine whether there are certain tasks the legal department should be doing more
or less of. By comparing core competencies, relative cost to produce, and available (or readily
attainable) capacity, in-house counsel can make a very strong business case for effective use of
company resources through a customized mix of work performed internally versus externally.
A valuable resource to guide this assessment is the ACC Value Practice Primer, “Using a
Structured Process to Allocate Work.”
5 It outlines the following five core phases of analysis for in-house counsel to ensure efficient utilization of internal and external resources:
■ Assessment: Identifying the current baseline approach to providing legal services—
internal and external—to the business;
■ Value Prioritization: Ordering tasks according to competitive advantage and risk
■ Work Allocation: Determining who should be delivering the services (e.g., in-house
or outside counsel; lawyers, paralegals or managers; and law firms or vendors?);
■ Implementation: Smoothly transitioning to the new work allocation; and
■ Measurement: Ensuring desired results are achieved and/or course correcting to
improve as necessary.
The following resources elaborate further on efficient utilization of internal and external resources.
Kenneth A. Cutshaw, “Within the Legal Department, History Repeats Itself,” ACC Docket
28, no. 2 (Mar. 2010): 20, available at
www.acc.com/legalresources/resource.cfm?show=805966 (addresses the benefits of in-sourcing e-discovery work).
“Legal Process Outsourcing: A How-To Guide on Legal Process Outsourcing,” ACC Value
Practice (Sept. 2010), available at
“Informal Outsourcing Checklist for In-house Counsel,” ACC Quick Reference (Oct. 2008),