3 B. Gather input from your business clients
It’s essential to understand how your internal business clients perceive you and how they
would like to see changes in legal services support. It does not require expensive research to do this,
but deciding what information you need to have and how best to gather it is crucial. An obvious
approach is to conduct interviews following an agreed questionnaire, carried out by members of the
in-house legal team.
“Like other teams at our company, we send a quarterly feedback form by email to assess the
performance of the legal team and individuals in the team. We ask what the lawyers should continue
doing, what our internal clients would like to see more of, what they should stop doing. The feedback
is useful in appraisals and in developing our objectives. A year ago the feedback spurred us to do
something game-changing: to shorten our response times and also reduce the number of repeat (low
value) requests by providing legal training and more information online.”
- General Counsel, Europe region, international company
3 C. Identify changes required for your in-house team
Clarifying ‘what you seek to accomplish and why’ will lead the in-house team leader to
recognize changes needed in individual skills and team approaches. These changes should be
identified and incorporated into your action plan. For example, you may decide that in-house
lawyers need to follow a consistent process to probe internal client needs when receiving a request.
They may need to gain skills to scope assignments in order to determine the resources required, and
this may result in a training workshop.
3 D. CASE EXAMPLE
Alignment through VGSM:Vision Goals Strategy Measures
Janice More,Vice President - Europe General Counsel, H. J. Heinz Company Limited
Timeframe: early 2011 to present
We sought a goal-setting mechanism to drive how we work in the Europe legal function at H.J. Heinz
that would facilitate the uniting of a geographically dispersed group towards achieving common
goals. We also wanted to connect the mechanism to business goals and strategy, and for goals to be
meaningful. We sought an aid to work actively on collectively and individually achieving our goals,
every day of the year.
The VGSM (Vision, Goals, Strategy, Measures) had been used by some functions and business lines
at Heinz and we adapted it for legal. We deliberately used the same vision and goals as our European
business, to be fully aligned with our business colleagues: delivering volume, profit, market share,
etc. We then developed the strategies and measures for legal that we believed would facilitate the
achievement of the vision and goals.