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‘Become a strategic partner to your business.’ It’s the universal aspiration for in-house counsel at the moment, but it’s easier said than done. If you manage to dig yourself out of mountains of paperwork and process, and find some genuine headspace, what should you do with it?
Here are five ways in-house counsel can transform from reactive, risk-averse lawyer to proactive, strategic business partner.
One of the most effective ways to make sure legal actually partners with the business, rather than simply reacting to it, is to align your KPIs. If you work in a sales-led organisation, and their key metric is deals closed, then by sharing that goal, you can incentivise legal to work towards it too. For example, is there anything legal you can do to remove friction in the deal process, whether that’s through automation, adjusting your risk guidelines, or exploring contract management?
Forcing lawyers to think creatively about ways they can work directly to support business KPIs is a great way to bring the legal function closer to the teams it supports. Aligning financial incentives could work too - but that might be too radical for some.
If you expect to be invited to meetings with the C-suite and financial directors to talk commercial strategy, you all need to be speaking the same language. And while you might have your head around the risk environment your company faces, or the commercial upside that a particular legal strategy might enable, can you show your workings
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