As a business owner, one of the most important decisions you have to make is how to handle your legal needs. It can be expensive and time-consuming to manage all of these yourself. In order to avoid the pitfalls that come with doing it all alone, many businesses are turning towards outside counsel for specific needs. This article will cover ways that utilizing outside counsel can help your company’s efficiency in the legal department.
Establish a Common Purpose, Direction, and Set of Values
In order to have a common understanding, you need to establish a set of values and goals. The in-house legal operations of a company are only as good as the business operations behind it. This ensures that you are all working towards the same thing, rather than going separate paths. It also helps provide motivation for employees, so they can accomplish more in a shorter amount of time.
If you build your company’s legal department on top of strong business practices, then that will reflect directly on your department. For example, if you are efficient with contracts, then there is no reason why employees within the legal department cannot be also. Make sure everyone is “on the same page” and has the same vision for the company.
Listen to Colleagues and Focus on What Matters Most
It’s important to make sure that all legal matters are covered, but too often the focus is placed on minute mattes while more pressing issues are overlooked. If your team needs information about certain legislation or procedures, for example, you may get bogged down in irrelevant details. Instead of wasting time on trivialities, consider talking to members of your team about what would improve their day-to-day work. The more your legal department can do to support company goals, the better it will be for everyone involved.
Set Clear Expectations
In order to accomplish a common goal, there must be a clear understanding of what is expected from everyone involved. Employees who have a clear direction will be motivated to work harder in their given role. Legal matters may require additional support from other departments, such as accounting or human resources.
If workers aren’t certain about their duties and how they fit into the big picture, they will not do everything possible to accomplish the goals set out by the company. If you have certain expectations set out for your employees, it will make it easier to delegate tasks and let your employees focus on what’s best for the company.
Set and Maintain High Standards
Your legal department should be a model of excellence for your company as a whole. One way to accomplish this is through regular training. If employees are constantly learning new skills, it will make the department more efficient and boost overall morale.
Unfortunately, schedules can become overwhelming, causing important tasks to slip through the cracks. To maintain your focus on what matters most, take time every week to complete any necessary tasks before they become too involved, you can show employees that there is no room for laziness or cutting corners by setting the highest standards possible and following them yourself.
Legal matters are often sensitive in nature, which means shortcuts may not be acceptable. Your team should work hard to make sure all tasks are carried out in a timely manner. Every aspect of your work should be done to the best of their ability, which will help your department stand out from the others.
Build a Collaborative, Creative Team
By setting high standards and holding yourself to them, you’ll encourage your employees to join you in following the rules. However, simply being able to work well with others is not enough on its own. Your legal department should be built into a creative team that can come up with innovative solutions to new challenges that arise. Employees should be willing to go beyond what they are required to do, which can involve taking on additional responsibilities and even working after hours on occasion.
It’s important to make sure that all legal matters are covered, but it’s equally as important to remember your team when you start this process. If employees feel like they’re a part of the company instead of an expendable asset, they will be more productive and excited to come to work every day. Be sure to talk to employees about their ideas on how your legal department can work better and what matters most to them. Listen carefully, and you may just find yourself with a new perspective on how some problems can be solved.
The legal department is often overlooked in the company, but it’s important to make sure that all legal matters are covered. A functional and effective legal department can help your business advance in so many ways. So, it’s important it remains one of the most efficient departments.