External counsel can hone their skills as experts in an area of law, while in-house can hone these for an organization or industry, writes Mark Le Blanc
Columnist Mark Le Blanc outlines a system for successfully using technology for contract management and more
Mark Le Blanc on how to go from the department of no, to the go-to
Work is piling up. How do you decide what to keep and what to send to outside counsel? Today, those are no longer the only options. You can also now use legal service providers who are relentlessly focused on process and efficiency. Options are always good. But, we are still back to the initial question: How do you decide what to keep and what to sent to outside counsel or to an LSP?
Though the rewards can be significant, implementing new systems and processes always seems like such a massive challenge. And it is. It is hard work to determine what the current process is, where it meets and does not meet your organizational objectives, and then to map out the desired process. Once done, it can be harder yet to implement your new system and process that will improve the product or service delivery.
Many articles have been written on the issue of risk management and I do not propose to write the seminal piece on the subject. Rather, my point is that as in-house counsel you need to look at risk as organizational risk, not simply legal risk. To do this you must know your organization’s tolerance for risk and the return on resource investment to manage its risks. Without looking at the RORI for risk management, you are just measuring identifiable risks against some arbitrary standard (typically legal) of what is acceptable risk.
Beyond having general industry awareness and knowing what it is that your company does, what does this mean and how do you do it?
When you come in-house, your “hard” legal skills are table stakes. Your employer expects, rightly so, that you have these skills, and where you do not, they expect you to figure it out. This is where your jack-of-all-trades skill comes in. The real question for them is can you add value to the organization?