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Law firm panel reviews are an intense process for in-house teams. How can you ensure that all the effort you put in reaps the right rewards for the business? Sophie Gould talks to Rob Booth, General Counsel and Company Secretary at The Crown Estate, about how the value model he developed for running panel reviews has become an integral part of how firms are chosen.
Tell us about your team…
We have five internal lawyers. On an even keel that feels lean, but when there are spikes in activity, that feels very lean. The company is worth about £12 billion. At that scale, real estate is a legally heavy area, not because it’s so highly regulated but because every dealing involves a solicitor.
Due to the size of the team, we need a very tight delivery model and a well-defined concept of what value means for the organisation and how to leverage that value. We’ve done a lot of work to ensure we are confident in where we are as an internal resource. I took advantage of rewriting the governance and executive structure for our organisation to create, with input from the team, a fully integrated model for legal service. At the same time as crafting the fundamental infrastructure for the organisation, we could very elegantly weave into that the role that legal plays.
The senior legal counsel layer that sits beneath me has got the best part of 60 years’ post-qualified experience. Looking at where you want to be and how you align that with the business is much easier when you’re doing it with experienced people who talk in sophisticated terms.
What is your approach to panel reviews?
We’ve produced a structure that ‘cradle to graves’ our relationships with external law firms. The value model, and what that drives out of the relationships we’re looking for, forms an integral part of how we pick
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Since joining LexisNexis in 2009 Sophie has worked on developing our legal and business content for the in-house legal community. She also runs various networking and mentoring groups for in-house lawyers and works with schools to promote social mobility within the legal profession.
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