Addressing these questions will help the legal department to explain what drives value inside
and outside the in-house legal function. For example, value can be added by:
•;expeditious resolution of a major dispute ;
•;effectively completing certain deals or transactions;
•;by providing advice and counsel to prevent certain issues from arising in the future; and
•;by shifting commodity work to lower cost providers.
A law department should also determine which of the factors that “drive value” should take
priority. In this way, each law department will ultimately define value in a unique and customized
approach to fit its company’s specific goals and objectives.
Beyond subject matter (“the what”), there is valuable strategic guidance to be conveyed as to
the manner in which the work is performed (“the how”). Ask questions such as:
•;What is the role of technology in utilizing existing work product and facilitating interaction
among client, law firms and vendors?
•;How important are cost savings, and what is the best way to achieve them?
•;Is there a role for innovation in the delivery of legal services in our organization?
•;Is there a place for alternative sources of legal service, such as legal process outsourcers?
•;What is the best time frame for measuring success?
•;When might the plan be reviewed for adjustments?
Answering these questions during the planning process will help
lay out the path for how best to structure outside counsel efforts and terms
to deliver greater value in a manner that best suits your organization and
your current situation.
Adapted from ACC
Guide to Managing
Outside Counsel – 2011
In-house counsel may often find that when they ask their
external providers to help them by suggesting ways to increase
value, they receive a lot of suggestions that don’t necessarily apply
to their situation or are not feasible in their company. In order to
move more quickly in managing change with external providers,
it’s important to specify the changes required based on your goals
and objectives. If the change is a 15 percent overall reduction in
legal spend, you will want to get specific about how those savings will be
realized, without exposing the company to greater risk.
Changes required from your external providers often require the development of agreements
and processes, and a few resources are provided in this guide. The following quote gives an example
of how an in-house counsel can provide specific requirements to work effectively with the external
lawyers to reduce costs.