While the pandemic era has created a lot of challenges for legal departments, it has also given corporate advisers a chance to rethink how it works.
In a recent webinar sponsored by Paragon Legal and Above the Law, legal industry experts explored new strategies for how legal departments can increase efficiency, streamline workflows, and increase staff well-being.
Moderated by Jared Correia, the panel included Deanna Brock, Senior Manager and Senior Corporate Counsel at Autodesk; Venora Hung, associate general counsel at Truepill; and Stephanie Corey, CEO and co-founder of UpLevel Ops and co-founder of CLOC.
Read on to learn more about how your corporate advisor can succeed in this age of “new normalcy.”
The pandemic has led to an increase in the exhaustion of lawyers, which should probably not be a surprise, given that the legal industry is full of performance burning the candle at both ends. But increasing well-being can lead to happier and more productive lawyers, and experts have come up with ideas on how to do just that.
For example, to combat Zoom fatigue, it’s helpful to suggest making audio calls, said Venora Hung, a general advisor at Truepill. Exercise and movement can also be very helpful, allowing lawyers and legal staff to return to work with a positive mindset. Deanna Brock, Senior Manager and Senior Corporate Counsel for Autodesk, noted the importance of taking a break from exercise or going for a walk.
“Then you can go back to work because you’re more focused and have a better mindset,” Brock said.
Use intake tools
Legal departments may lack clarity WHO really works at what the, which leads to a lack of transparency and general inefficiency. Hung noted that one of the best things her team of lawyers did was to start using an admissions tool. Before doing so, her legal department was struggling with various business partners who were emailing different lawyers about what kind of contracts they needed and it wasn’t clear what everyone was working on.
“Owning this tool has really helped our team see what’s next - the number of customer contracts versus supplier contracts versus agreements with business partners that we could negotiate,” Hung said.
Rethink legal staff
Stephanie Corey, co-founder of UpLevel Ops, noted that one of the things she used to see is that law departments use outside counsel as a “pressure relief valve.” In essence, they would manage the work that hit their offices and “once they reached the climax”, they would send other work to an external consultant.
Of course, this is not a very strategic or cost-effective way to manage outdated legal work.
That’s why many companies use ALSPs to help their legal team strategically manage their workload with the help of high-level interim lawyers.
“What we’ve seen in recent years is that as other types of law firms, such as Paragon, become more sophisticated in their association with law departments, what we’re seeing is an outsourcing program. Corey said. “You can bring in these partners who run ABC - that’s what they run, there are manuals, there are templates, there’s a program in place.”
Take advantage of legal transactions
Legal departments should not underestimate how useful legal operations teams can be. Whether it’s keeping the department organized or helping lawyers feel less overwhelmed by the answer to the initial questions, a team of legal operations can be essential when it comes to helping a corporate law department run smoothly. and effective.
“It’s just people who do the initial sorting, people who answer those initial questions - how do I get an NDA or who is the product advocate for that?” said Brock. “Just filtering these questions through that team really helped morally, I’d say, for lawyers.”
Ensuring clean processes
While making sure that your law department works with clean and efficient processes may not make anyone’s heart beat faster, focusing on these core components is essential. This will not only create better results, but will likely increase the happiness of lawyers, Corey said.
“It’s really about having clean processes, clean templates. You have to do it, “Corey said. “It’s not sexy, it’s not fun, but if you get over it, you’ll end up with a much better result and happier lawyers at the end of the day.”
The panel also provided a number of other efficiency tips, such as setting specific times for concentration time, allowing lawyers to handle tasks without meetings or distractions.
For more ideas on how your corporate advisor can increase efficiency, check out the full webinar, which offers fun conversations, expert advice, and a wealth of useful ideas and tips.