With a new Administration comes a host of new developments, changes, and updates to regulatory and compliance matters. Take, for example, President Trump’s recent signing of an executive order to repeal a Dodd-Frank anti-corruption measure requiring oil and mining companies to disclose payments to governments. And this is just the start. As a result, legal departments across the country are experiencing an increase in demand for legal services. Indeed, in PWC’s recent Annual Corporate Directors Survey, 44% of respondents saw compliance and regulatory matters posing as the greatest oversight challenge.
Like many departments (including HR), these legal departments have been forced to cut spending and therefore, do without the resources they once had at their disposal. In other words, they are being asked to do more with less, in terms of both staffing and financial freedom. Here is how to automate cost management for legal departments.
While spending on outside counsel continues to decrease (down 2% last year), how can legal departments improve in-house department efficiency while continuing to deliver high-quality work?
Efficiency is key and whether your legal department is large or hopes to be, a legal department operations (LDO) team leader can be instrumental in facilitating getting you to where you want to go. An LDO professional often oversees third party management and internal processes and introduces new technologies that improve efficiency and reduce cost; thereby freeing the attorneys to focus on what they do best – practice law.
For example, in 2008, Mary O’Carroll was hired by Google to head its new legal operations team. During her time with the technology giant, O’Carroll’s streamlined focus has saved Google millions of dollars each year.
Attorneys are hired for their bright legal minds, not necessarily for their ability to micromanage a team. This is where effective legal project management becomes very useful. This provides someone, such as an LDO or a seasoned, unbiased third party, with an opportunity to view and assess all projects as a whole, include those assigned to internal departments and to outside counsel. As a result, managing attorneys are able to make better-informed decisions, leading to a positive impact on your company’s bottom line.
Today’s changing regulatory environment provides the opportunity for in-house counsels solidify their role by bringing the shareholders, C-suite, and legal together with shared systems and processes. Consider an entity management platform that allows for efficient communication among a department and steers you clear of compliance gaps.
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