A recent report on Legal Efficiency by The Times and Raconteur Media in the UK lays out one of the most extensive overviews of the changes facing the legal industry in recent memory. It is clear from the publication that the forces shaping legal departments and firms are not limited to the U.S. One article in particular highlights the increasingly commercial role of the GC, reiterating the forces we presented in our Transforming Legal whitepaper late last year. Writer Ben Rigby notes that, “A 2013 survey undertaken by City law firm RPC showed that 68 per cent of general counsel (GC) respondents were involved in formulating commercial strategy” for the corporation.
The GC’s evolution to being a key business stakeholder and strategic corporate partner means that new skill sets are required in the 21st century legal department. Like what? Change management, benchmarking and metrics analysis, business process excellence, project management expertise, and visibility to the entirety of the legal department operations. Having a single source of truth for all legal data, including a trusted technology platform, is a key component to meeting those new requirements. This means litigation matter data, e-Billing data, contracts data, claims data, and regulatory and compliance data ideally exists in one place, easily accessible, traceable, and reportable.
This new requirement also requires the GC to focus on more than just traditional legal efficiency metrics like reducing outside counsel legal spend. In fact, a truly strategic business partner is focused on value generation. What are some ways that legal departments can actually generate value for the corporation? Maximizing the efficiency of the contracts negotiation process to actually position the corporation as a preferred partner and vendor, facilitating decisions to better predict legal outcomes, proactively collaborating with marketing to enable enhanced brand protection, etc…
Here at Mitratech, we are proud that many of our leading client legal departments are embracing this new model of legal efficiency, driving the transformation of the 21st Century Office of the General Counsel.