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Piloting a managed legal service

Posted on Mar 1, 2018

General Counsel are becoming more flexible and creative in response to pressures that demand a change in the way legal work is undertaken. Changing the way things are handled can be challenging to implement. However, armed with a clear picture of the types and volumes of agreements to be supported, and how they are most efficiently, and cost-effectively, managed, in-house teams can find new ways to support the business and embed improvements.

Evaluating your landscape

The legal team has so much responsibility, it’s often not easy to quantify what the balance of work they manage really looks like. We always suggest a straightforward sampling exercise, that will help to estimate volumes and the time/cost involved in supporting them.

Once you have a clearer picture of workloads and where the value and costs lie, it’s much easier to start evolving your in-house support around the things that matter most, while at the same time putting in place a way of maintaining control of the work that is essential but non-strategic.

The right support in the right place

We’ve written before about the simple matrix we use to categorise different types of legal contract work:

If your sampling exercise finds that your team is spending a large proportion of its time in the top left of the framework, working on high volumes of simple and medium complexity contracts, you’re likely feeling the pressure of how to clear desks to improve agility and service the more strategic needs of the business.

Trialling a Managed Legal Service

A managed legal service is the support, of high volumes of similar contracts that need to be negotiated and managed well, whilst keeping you in control and giving you insight and detailed metrics. These contracts are the lifeblood of a company and need to be handled quickly and efficiently, but shouldn’t be taking up all of the capacity in your team.

In our experience, the most straightforward way of starting a managed legal service is to begin with a single type of contract. In deciding the best type of contract to focus on first, look for:

  • Volumes: at least 50 contracts a year needing support
  • Type: The contracts are reasonably similar, and they may be on your standard terms already
  • Real need: the area is either under-supported or is taking up too much of your team’s time which can be better spent elsewhere

A managed legal services pilot allows you to trial how the system works over a short period of time and on a fixed number of agreements before deciding to roll it out more widely. It also provides an opportunity to familiarise the legal and business teams with a new way of working, and to see and evaluate process improvements and speed to close.

During that period the delivery model is tested and adjusted to ensure the solution meets your needs. You can also expect:

  • Development of an interactive intake form
  • Creation of a playbook
  • Development of a process map
  • Training appropriate personnel on new processes
  • Access to delivery metrics and live progress tracking through our workflow dashboard

You can learn more about the benefits of a managed legal service here. If you are considering how to manage demand, speed up contracting and deliver the best outcomes to your business, contact us today and we’d be delighted to have a conversation about how a pilot might be the first step to a more efficient way of working.