The importance of being a Connected Legal Function — becoming a more productive, engaged, and impactful legal team

Jun 10, 2022

Reading Time: 3 minutes

For the first time, in-house legal teams have a playbook that outlines a new framework — the Connected Legal Function — and provides insights, tools, and quick wins to put into action.

Within the pages of The Connected Legal Playbook: Your guide to becoming a more productive, engaged and impactful legal team in an increasingly complex legal environment, you will:

  • explore the emerging trends within the in-house legal profession
  • compare your in-house challenges with your industry counterparts
  • gain insights from senior in-house legal professionals
  • learn how to take action to become a more Connected Legal Function

The Connected Legal Function is a new framework that provides in-house legal teams with a pathway to optimize their work, engage with the business, and focus on enabling better business outcomes, and addresses many of the issues in-house lawyers face.

Why your team needs to be more connected

Many lawyers move in-house to play a more active role in a business by being a reliable partner and positively influencing business success.

Yet, the in-house legal environment is changing, with increasing workloads, increasing complexity, and unempowering tools and resources causing disconnection and impacting your legal team’s day-to-day work.

These demands mean they often struggle to find the time to be involved in the big picture, see issues from start to finish, and play an influential role in the organization’s success.

In fact, recent research from the 2022 In-house Legal Technology Report reveals that 67 percent of respondents say time spent on daily manual tasks takes time and effort away from working on larger business goals. Combine this with fragmented technology solutions — 90 percent of in-house legal professionals are using solutions from three or more vendors — and it’s no wonder that many lawyers are finding it challenging to do the job they moved in-house to do.

The solution? Re-thinking the in-house legal function so there is more connection between legal and the business.

The Connected Legal Function

A Connected Legal Function is:

1. Connected to work and team, to optimize workflows and team collaboration in order to manage the volume of work better and free up time

2. Connected to the wider business, to develop a deep understanding of the business and engage meaningfully with stakeholders

3. Connected to business outcomes, to step outside of what’s ‘strictly legal’ and focus on enabling the business to achieve its strategic objectives

“You can’t advise in a vacuum,” says Matt Vaughan, Executive VP, LawVu. “You need to understand the motives of the business, the priorities of the business, the context in which people are asking questions, and, sometimes, the background of the person asking the questions. You need to be connected and know what’s happening and who you’re talking to so you can give the best possible advice, and therefore get the best possible outcome.”

To become a Connected Legal Function there are four steps — Optimize Productivity, Optimize Engagement, Be Proactive, and Focus on Impact, and these are described in detail in the Connected Legal Playbook.

 

 

The playbook also outlines ‘quick wins’ to help you and your team make a start on becoming more connected. For example:

Optimize your productivity

  • enable business users to self-serve and submit their own requests to the legal team
  • consider a system of record, such as a legal workspace, to reduce the time spent switching between solutions

Optimize your engagement

  • consider partnering legal team members with other teams in the business
  • adopt technology to enable the wider business to communicate better with the legal team, and that supports popular integrations

Be proactive

  • educate the wider business of the benefits of involving legal early in a process or project
  • leverage historical data, such as matter types and dates to uncover any trends

Focus on impact

  • leverage data to report regularly on the upside and downside of ‘business as usual’ work
  • provide alternative and creative solutions that enable teams to achieve their objective in a different way, if the answer has to be ‘no’

It’s important to remember that as an in-house legal function you’re not a law firm sitting within a business — you’re an essential function operating within the wider business.

Take the Connected Legal journey …

Many in-house legal teams are already working in a more connected way, and are realizing the benefits both to their team and the wider business.

The Connected Legal Playbook: Your guide to becoming a more productive, engaged and impactful legal team in an increasingly complex legal environment provides a practical guide, together with industry insights, quick wins to get you started and access to complementary resources, such as the Connected Legal Function Workbook and Self-Assessment.

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The Connected Legal Playbook

Your guide to becoming a more productive, engaged and impactful legal team in an increasingly complex legal environment.