Law Department Consulting
Performance Planning, Metrics and Management.
Genreral Counsels are under increasing pressure from the business side to justify their existence, or at least their status as a cost center in the organization. They are held accountable for their performance like any other part of the organization. Law departments need to adopt a deliberate approach to performance planning and management.
Some counsel respond by applying rigorous business metrics to the legal function, or by passing the quantification demand along to outside counsel. In any event, when it comes to metrics, the perfect is the enemy of the good. Metrics are a tool, not and end. They should be used judiciously by in-house counsel to operate in a businesslike fashion and make their value clear in terms that the business team can understand.
Compliance, Risk Management and Corporate Governance.
None of these are new concepts, but at some companies they are surprisingly new corporate functions. Faced with ongoing regulatory and compliance challenges, many companies have revised or overhauled their compliance and governance functions and programs over the past decade. Legal, compliance and reputational risks are frequently topics on board agendas. For general counsel, establishing and maintaining appropriate compliance, risk management and governance programs require a candid assessment of the company’s culture, ethics and leadership. This pushes in-house lawyers beyond the confines of the law department and purely legal advice and services. Many companies in different industries continue to struggle to define the boundaries between the legal, compliance and risk management functions.
Charles & i provides quality, practical legal advice on compliance systems targeted to assist clients with their corporate governance requirements. This in turn protects their businesses from the consequences of non-compliance, which can include substantial fines.
Our services are different from our competitors in that we focus not only on diagnosis of legal compliance and risk management issues, but also developing a culture of compliance to protect your people and your organisation.
Charles & i’s compliance systems are designed to meet the needs of our clients and the expectations of regulators, and to embed the required policies and procedures within the existing framework of your business.
We can also carry out reviews or audits of your compliance system to ensure it meets the requirements of the law.
There never has been more pressure on general counsel and law departments to reduce the cost of legal services. Knowing what cost controls to implement and how to execute them is imperative in today’s challenging business environment.
Charles & i’s experts can provide law departments with the tools and expertise to ensure that the cost of legal services is managed effectively.
Our services include:
Benchmarking – Charles & i has access to law department metrics that you can use to compare your department numbers against comparable departments. We can assist you in developing appropriate guidelines and making sure cost control efforts reflect law department best practices
Billing strategies – What sort of pricing systems and structures should you require of outside law firms? We will help you develop and implement discount strategies and alternative pricing schemes to reduce costs. We can work with you to use e-billing to analyze and control your legal spend.
Outside counsel management – One of the most effective ways to increase your buying power and control costs is to minimize the number of outside law firms you use. We can help you design a convergence program to consolidate your legal work with fewer preferred firms and to align each of those firms with the most appropriate work. If you already have streamlined the ranks of outside counsel, we will help you manage the quality and cost of their services.
Resource allocation – It is critical that the right work is placed in the right hands among your department’s lawyers, paralegals and secretaries. Our consultants can help you cost-effectively manage your human resources by looking at staffing ratios, appropriate utilization and efficient delegation practices.
Inside/outside mix – Determining how much legal work outside counsel should handle and how much should be kept in-house is a key ingredient of cost control. One model does not fit all companies and we can help you find the right mix for your organization.
Legal process outsourcing – Should your law department outsource some of its legal work? We will work with you to develop effective strategies related to legal process outsourcing.
You will cut your law department’s costs while maintaining high quality legal work. You will have more leverage with a preferred group of outside counsel, and your internal resources will be deployed for maximum effectiveness.
Legal Resource Optimization
Finding the right alignment of legal resources within the organization is a perennial concern of law department management. Whether the crux of the issue is ensuring that lawyers and legal staff are correctly positioned within the organization, have the right mix of lawyers (specialist versus business facing generalists) and non-lawyers (paralegals, non-lawyer professionals, support staff), and a range of other such issues – legal resource management will always be a primary challenge for every general counsel.
Does your enterprise need to optimize the cost, sourcing or structure of its legal services? Do you want to identify and implement new tools to improve your law department operations? Are you a General Counsel, CFO, CEO or Director who wants to assess how well your enterprise’s actual legal functions and expenses are matched to its risk profile?
If so, a Charles & i consultation will quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively help you achieve those objectives.
We also have extensive experience working with law firm partners and associates, as well as in-house counsel, who are exploring their options for their «next steps.» We provide an independent perspective on navigating their career paths, with a particular focus on models for delivering legal services.
Outside Legal Services Management
Most law departments spend upwards of 60% or more of their budgets on outside law firms, usually amounting to tens of millions of dollars each year. Most are also under extraordinary pressure to reduce legal costs while maintaining the highest quality of legal service to their organizations. But they don’t know how to break away from the old, often ineffective ways of managing outside counsel.
Charles & i’s expert consultants understand the dynamics of the relationship between inside and outside lawyers and can bring proven, yet progressive ideas to outside counsel management, including:
Outside counsel selection – We will help you identify appropriate candidates and select the best lawyers and law firms for your needs using qualitative-based techniques.
Convergence programs – We will work with you to leverage your legal spend by developing a convergence program that will consolidate your legal work with fewer preferred firms.
Alternative fee arrangements – Charles & i consultants will show you how to break away from the inefficient hourly billing model to true alternatives that not only work, but that work far better than paying for legal services on a time-and-materials basis.
Performance evaluation – We’ll help you develop a systematic process for evaluation of outside counsel through the collection and analysis of key metrics from your e-billing system and other sources.
Working with us you will select the best outside counsel for your needs, maximize your buying power, structure advantageous fee arrangements, and effectively manage the cost and quality of your department’s outside legal service providers.
Leadership and Management Ability
General counsel typically reach the top of the law department on the basis of their ability as lawyers. Once they take the reins, however, they are faced with a new set of requisite skills. Effective GCs must be able to motivate and lead a diverse range of personnel. There’s virtually nothing in law schools, and very little in law firm life or the lower ranks of law departments, to develop such skills, and many lawyers don’t come by them naturally. But leadership skills can be learned with the right focus, attitude and guidance. It is not unusual to see outside professional coaches engaged to advise and assist the GC and legal leadership team in enhancing their leadership and management performance.
At Charles & i, we believe that an effective leadership development program must consist of a multi-level, comprehensive and integrated program that identifies and develops leaders over time and results in broad, systemic change in the organization. The skills and competencies will differ by firm or organization, sometimes greatly, and therefore development requirements will differ. A generic program for all firm leaders and managers will not suffice.
Our services include:
Needs Assessment – We will conduct a thorough evaluation of leadership skills at each level within the organization, identifying leader development needs, what key challenges exist and the firm’s future requirements.
Program Development – We will help you to develop a long-term, sustainable leadership program that builds on the foundation of the needs assessment and provides both academic development and opportunities for leaders-in-training to apply their new skills in a real world context to gain experience and credibility.
Leadership Training – We will help firm leaders, branch office managing partners and practice group leaders develop the fundamental skills and essential behaviors necessary to successfully lead lawyers.
Performance Management – Successful law firm leaders identify opportunities, put the right tools in the right hands, set a course and then get out of the way. We will work with your leaders to develop performance profiles and standards for attorneys that align individual and organizational goals.
Motivation and Mentoring – We will help you understand the connection between motivation and leadership styles and how to achieve behavioral change in highly independent professionals.
Evaluation and Feedback – We will work with your firm to set up evaluation and feedback programs, systems and procedures.
Associate Selection, Retention and Development – We apply the latest behavioral science strategies – sophisticated testing, structured interviewing, and group dynamics assessment – to help you select the best talent for your organization and keep them motivated.
Repairing Dysfunctional Organizations – We have experience in diagnosing and repairing complex organizational problems. We can help an individual lawyer, a law firm or a law department in crisis.
How You Benefit
By developing effective leaders at all levels of your organization, you will become more productive internally and more competitive in the marketplace.
The collective impact of globalization, international corruption enforcement, amplified regulatory actions and economic pressure has put the role of the general counsel under the gun as never before. Some have been civilly or criminally charged for clear misdeeds, but many more have been swept up in controversies that they did not anticipate, adequately respond to or fully understand. That’s cause for great concern, of course, but it also speaks to the growing significance of the general counsel and law department in most organizations.
Simply put, the general counsel is more important than ever—not just the person, but the function. The general counsel’s identity, alignment and relationship to corporate leadership play a greater role in the fate of corporations today than it ever has previously. We take that evolution seriously at HBR Consulting, and continually refine our services as we help the lawyers and law departments who strive to identify and implement best practices and stay a step ahead in an increasingly more complicated world
Talent Developement and Retention
Finding the right people is hard enough. Keeping them happy, motivated and in their seats requires constant effort. A perceived lack of advancement opportunity might lead valuable lawyers to depart for greener pastures. Internal politics, salary constraints and even generational gaps can make retention challenging. Developing and retaining legal talent requires continual attention and creativity. Too frequently, general counsel avoid these concerns because they are difficult to quantify or systemize or are seen as soft issues. The result of inattention, however, is all too clear on the bottom line: the considerable expense of recruiting, orienting and managing new talent.
Charles & i have experts in motivation and skill´s developement that will let you to achieve loyalty of your employees and create a skilled and stable workforce where key people of your department will be engaged at all levels in the company they work for.