Within the in-house practice of law, the past decade has brought a transformation: of the role
of the legal department, of the quality of its partnerships, of its savvy use of technology and
people, in a unified quest to bring greater value to internal clients and shareholders. There is a
continued upward trend in moving high-risk, high-value work in-house.
Key to the success of the reinvented in-house legal department is alignment with the interests
and goals of the client. To ensure alignment, savvy general counsel will review the enterprise
strategic plan to identify priorities that may require or drive legal services. The next step is
plotting legal services on a “value matrix” (considering risk and competitive advantage) and
sitting down with business leaders to discuss their needs and how the legal department will
meet them. Proactive agreement upon which legal services to invest in (or not), as well as
service standards, yields alignment.
Business Client Interview Questions
• What is your role/scope at [Company]?
• What are your legal needs/challenges?
• With whom do you work in the law department?
• What is your decision-making process in determining when to get the law
• Are there any challenges in this process? If so, what are they?
• What is the law department doing right? What should the law department do
• What, if any, interaction do you have with outside counsel? Do you hire outside
• How would you rate your satisfaction with the delivery of legal services? (Scale of
1-10, 1 is poor, 10 is exceptional)
• How would you recommend that the Law Department ensure quality and
accountability with regard to lawyer work product?
[From the ACC Guide to Value-Based Staffing]
For strategic planning, here are some additional areas to explore:
• Considering your strategic plan, are there unmet legal
service needs, now or in the foreseeable future?
• What changes to legal service delivery standards would
have the biggest impact in your business?
• Are there areas in which the legal department is over- or
ACC Value Challenge