II. Part One: Laying the Foundation in Advance
A. Step One: Setting Goals and Defining Value
“Begin with the end in mind.” This adage from Stephen Covey is a sound starting point when
focusing on value-based relationships with outside counsel. It requires answering key questions,
■ What do we, as a law department, seek to accomplish and why?
■ How will we measure our progress?
■ What are the best ways to achieve our goals?
■ What resources do we need?
■ What must we change and how?
■ How do outside counsel and vendors fit into all of this?
Effectively answering these questions requires in-house counsel to first have a detailed
understanding of business goals and business strategy, both currently and in the years ahead.
Once legal department goals are aligned with the business goals, then the in-house team is in a
position to effectively guide outside counsel on how they can best fit into these broader efforts and
deliver greater value to the company.
Thus, a useful starting-point for in-house counsel is to develop and implement a strategic plan. A
valuable resource to help with legal department strategic assessment is the ACC Guide “Strategic
Planning: Why a Plan is Needed and How to Develop One.”1 It provides the following list of six
steps in creating a strategic plan:
■ Step 1: Understand the Corporate Strategy and Goals
■ Step 2: Define the Department’s Vision, Mission, and Values
■ Step 3: Understand the Department’s Differentiators
■ Step 4: Define the Critical Objectives to Accomplish
■ Step 5: Determine the Process Needed to Support Success
■ Step 6: Identify Metrics to Measure Progress
(For details and a complete discussion of the above steps, see the Guide, “Strategic Planning: Why
a Plan is Needed and How to Develop One.”)