Transparency and the future of in-house legal
It’s commonly accepted that transparency in the workplace has multiple benefits.
However, the legal team has traditionally been considered a silo-ed function in the enterprise. Radical transparency between legal and the rest of the organisation isn’t particularly that common.
In the world of business, transparency is defined as “operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see which actions are performed.” Many of the world’s fastest-growing tech companies have gone even further, particularly with the current surge in remote work, and adopted the concept of‘ transparency by default’ whereby specific processes are put in place to ensure information is out in the open wherever possible.
In the particular realm of in-house legal, there will always be certain data that should have restricted access (such as personal employment contract information, client sensitive information etc). However, a transparent system is still possible, and necessary – one where all relevant members of a team and company can easily and efficiently access all the relevant information related to legal work.
Benefits of transparency for in-house legal teams
The benefits of transparency are numerous, including creating trust, increasing engagement and overall alignment with the company’s strategic goals, improving performance and efficiency – and crucially for legal teams – improving problem-solving capabilities.
Less workplace stress and higher morale
The key triggers of workplace stress are unpredictability, mismanagement and difficulty in accessing relevant information, which can all be drastically reduced through transparency.
Having a more transparent system in place cuts workflow unpredictability, micromanagement and a lack of access to relevant information, replacing those with an increased feeling of certainty and autonomy in employees as they can adequately plan their workflow and easily access relevant information.
Transparency through the LawVu platform also facilitates better expectation management, giving more accountability.
Overall, a transparent legal team is a healthier workplace dynamic where all team members operate efficiently and have fairer expectations of each other’s delivery outputs.
Out of office
There’s nothing worse than coming back from holiday to find that your work was being mismanaged while you were away.
Increased transparency allows employees to share matters and contracts with relevant people before going away, and to quickly get up to speed once back in the office – where everything is recorded in one centralised and secure system.
If you absolutely need to check your work while away, a cloud-based system with a mobile app that provides a real-time system of record, such as LawVu, will enable you to check on things from your beachside cabana.
Increases productivity and fosters innovative problem-solving
Where there’s transparency across all matters, any problems that arise can be solved much faster. By being open and honest about any problems cropping up, all employees can jump in to help find solutions.
Where there is transparency across the company, teams are more inclined to problem solve across departments which can lead them to work harder and more efficiently within their own areas. Sharing across departments also gives employees the opportunity to share any obstacles they’re facing (which may be shared by other departments) and solve those in a collaborative and innovative way.
A cloud-based knowledge base tool, such as LawVu’s Knowledge app, is a great place to allow people to create knowledge pieces, store information or documents and most importantly, share them across the legal team and organisation.
Increases an employee’s engagement and alignment with company goals
A company culture that values transparency in the workplace breeds purpose-driven, engaged employees who align with the company-wide goals. Alignment means an employee can see the big picture and understand everyone’s role within it. Where a workplace practices transparency, it results in employees understanding the company’s vision and how their individual efforts will contribute to achieving the company’s strategic goals leading to higher levels of engagement too.
Given that many lawyers have gone in-house for that very purpose – to align with an overarching vision – transparency is key to helping in-house drive better business outcomes.
Help keep tabs on progress and strategic decisions
Last but not least, transparency is king when it comes to giving all members of the team a better gauge on how matters are progressing, where any bottle-necks in workflow are happening and where further follow-ups are needed.
All this data is also invaluable in helping General Counsels make key strategic decisions around hiring, outsourcing and workflow management.
LawVu’s Online Legal Workspace boasts many features that help in-house lawyers become more transparent in the way they work and with the wider organisation, including self-service intake, sharing of matters or contracts with non-legal business users, workflow status tracking, collaborative tools such as in-app messaging, and an easy to use knowledge base.
Just like the world’s fast-growing tech companies, in-house legal teams can leverage transparent practices to drive high performing legal teams and contribute to their company’s long term success.