We see it as more and more of a mechanism to align what we want to do and should be doing,
with business goals. It helps shape arguments to business leaders. For the GC, it provides structure
for strategic direction of the team, rather than individually. Everyone brings their goals under
this umbrella. This brings cohesion to the multi-jurisdiction team. It helps us speak clearly to the
business: “Here’s why you should invest in this online compliance program.”
In-house lawyers initially saw it as a major, time consuming change, and they were a bit uncertain
at first. At the start, it is a challenge to really think about what you’re trying to do, in a business-oriented way. In the second year, it became much easier, and we’ve been told by other functions that
it becomes easier year after year. People get used to the mechanism, and it becomes more useful in
guiding our work. We immediately saw the value in the process the second year.
Our biggest challenge as lawyers was to deconstruct and reconstruct in this very structured way, and
to articulate what is usually unsaid–the strategies and the measures. In our first round of assembling
the Legal VGSM, all of us at times got confused between the strategies and measurements. Once we
started implementing it, it became obvious.
Our new law firm panel arrangement started in May 2012, just after the VGSM was prepared, so our
external firms have not been a part of it yet. But we absolutely want them to be involved. We will use
it to get their input into how we can best achieve certain strategies. For example, we are talking to
them about how legal can add value via risk mitigation. With each firm, depending on what they’re
doing for us–we plan to throw out a challenge and come up with solutions through brainstorming.
These will be folded into the strategies and measures.
3 E. Identify changes required for your external providers
Do not proceed with your approach in a vacuum. We strongly encourage dialog with your
preferred external providers as you develop your action plan. Law firms, for example, often have
significant experience working with clients on value-driven projects similar to what your in-house
team is doing. They also know your company and how your legal function works. They can often
provide valuable input at the development stage, if you ask them.
Effectively answering the questions posed at the start of this chapter requires in-house
counsel to first have a detailed understanding of business goals and strategy. It will then be necessary
to brief external providers on the business goals and strategy, and the concurrent legal department
goals. The in-house team is in a position to effectively get input from and guide outside counsel on
how they can best fit into these broader efforts and deliver greater value to the company.