Best practices

The 30-60-90 Day Plan for In-House Counsel: Days 31-60

October 16, 2023
Kathy Zhu

Table of Contents

After you spend the first month as in-house counsel learning how the team works with the business, use the next 30 days to make suggestions for process improvements or investments in better legal delivery.

Develop team playbooks to standardize legal review

As legal teams scale and evolve, it’s only natural that knowledge sharing can become more challenging. When people who’ve been with an organization for years move on to new opportunities, their knowledge often leaves with them. As you ramp up, it’s the perfect time to capture what you’re learning for future (and current team members) in legal team playbooks. It accelerates future team members’ ramp-up time, helps manage risk and adherence to company policy, and ensures consistency and continuity for the entire legal team. As you build the playbook, encourage team members to contribute their learnings to the resource.

In-house legal playbooks might include the following:

  • Standardized templates for common legal documents like NDAs and sales agreements.
  • Checklists for legal processes that outline steps, responsible parties for review and approval, and timelines.
  • Guidelines for legal review by contract type, including default positions and fallback clauses, risk analysis guidelines, common issues, red flags, negotiation strategies and tradeoffs, approval requirements, required approvals, and ethics considerations.
  • Library of past contracts, agreements, and briefs that can serve as examples.
  • Information on records management and retention policies.
  • Outline of legal approval authority levels and delegation protocols.
  • Crisis management/response plans.
  • Budgeting, billing, and outside counsel management guidelines.
  • Outline of legal department goals, KPIs, and other metrics, and strategic initiatives.
  • Overviews of relevant laws and regulations 

Leverage software to reduce time spent on administrative tasks

The growth and evolution of the legal tech stack in the last decade has meant that there are software options that can reduce the time that legal teams spend on administrative tasks. As a new hire, you have a fresh perspective on processes and how to improve them. Look at ways that Legal can save valuable time and deliver better legal services. This can be anything from optimizing legal intake form design to implementing legal intake and workflow automation software as a legal front door to improve how the business interacts with in-house legal.

For example, requests for legal review or help are often scattered via various tools, such as Slack messages, emails to specific individuals or a alias, or even verbal meeting conversations. Because intake is not standardized and centralized, this means that an inordinate amount of time is spent on back-and-forth information gathering, piecing together threads, or making sure there’s no redundancy in request coverage. Legal front door software like Streamline AI brings all those legal requests to one central command center and automatically routes them to the right points of contact for reviews and approvals. By centralizing and streamlining intake, legal teams gain efficiency, visibility, and control over items like sales agreements and vendor contracts while collaborating with business stakeholders. This legal software gives visibility as to who is working on what across the team, drives consistency in review and approval protocols, and provides metrics on performance and automated workflows to smooth processes. For many companies, it’s a must-have in order to ensure legal teams have enough bandwidth to serve the business effectively and efficiently.

Creating resources to facilitate self-help for business stakeholders

As you work with business stakeholders, if you notice that they are asking the questions repeatedly, it’s time to build self-help resources to empower stakeholders to find answers on their own and reduce the workload on your team (and foster self-sufficiency for business users). This might include documenting frequently asked questions and their respective answers within a knowledge-sharing platform and including a link to the resource directly on your intake request forms to ensure visibility.

Your initial months as in-house counsel are pivotal in shaping how legal works successfully with the business. By taking proactive steps to develop and refine legal team playbooks, scale legal delivery with legal technology, and establishing self-serve resources for stakeholder empowerment, you’re setting the stage for a cohesive, efficient, and impactful legal function. Learn what’s next in days 61-90 of the 90 day plan for in-house counsel.

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