For many in-house legal teams, the need to undertake projects that will streamline their operations remains a high priority. This is especially the case for time-poor general counsel, who are under pressure to reduce costs and increase their team’s efficiency, so they can focus on strategic prerogatives.

However, identifying improvements and actually making them happen is a challenge for many teams.

“We saw that many of our clients wanted to explore new ways of working, but didn’t know how to get started,” said Thomas Kaldor, LegalVision’s Head of Legal Transformation. “We wanted to do something practical to help them, something different to a text-heavy white paper. That’s how the General Counsel Toolkit came about.”

The newly launched General Counsel Toolkit is a free resource featuring tools and tips that in-house teams can use to tackle some of the operational improvements that have been on their radar. It consists of 35 cards organised into the five phases of the transformation journey, from mapping your legal function through to successfully running a project.

Designed to sit on a corporate lawyer’s desk (or in their remote office), counsel can dip in and out of the Toolkit depending on their stage in the transformation process. 

“It’s a ‘choose your own transformation adventure’ framework,” Kaldor quips. 

How the Toolkit Transformed Ad Review

Kaldor explains that there are three types of cards within the Toolkit: explanatory cards that deepen your knowledge, practical cards featuring tools to make change happen, and case studies from corporates who have successfully undertaken transformation projects. 

“It’s best to choose a contained project to start with, rather than attempting to transform your entire operations from day one,”  he said. “In our experience, a great place to start is with advertising review. Transformation in this area has a huge impact and helps both the Legal and Marketing teams.”

Marketing often cannot move forward without Legal reviewing their collateral, while for Legal, the volume of ad review work can be challenging. It can be a source of tension between the two teams.

LegalVision has worked with a number of clients, including insurer IAG and property solutions company Domain, to streamline their ad review process. Kaldor explains how the General Counsel Toolkit can assist other in-house legal teams to undertake this journey, by tying it back to three cards within the Toolkit.

1. Map Internal Processes

“This is literally mapping the lifecycle for a piece of marketing collateral from beginning to end,” Kaldor says. He notes that when using this card from the General Counsel Toolkit, it is important to identify whether you want to map your current or future state. “They’re two different objectives. Are you looking at the here and now, to uncover opportunities and  pain points you want to fix, or are you painting a picture of the perfect solution?”

Kaldor said that initially when LegalVision worked with clients, their objective was to map their current state. They brought both the Legal and Marketing teams together to map out their existing process, then identified opportunities to improve it. 

Now, having built an advertising review solution, LegalVision uses process mapping to show new clients what a future state might look like. “It’s a different approach. We can say: ‘This is the holy grail of what ad review could look like – what would it take to make this happen in your business?’ then work towards that goal.” 

A case study on LegalVision’s experiences and lessons learned with IAG is included in the General Counsel Toolkit.

2. Build a Business Case

Having identified transformational improvements they want to make, Legal then needs to convince the rest of the business that it is worth the investment, with the GC acting as an advocate. 

“For most in-house legal teams, effective business case writing means drawing attention to opportunity cost and/or wider commercial impact,” Kaldor says. 

An effective business case carefully articulates the commercial impact of the proposed course of action. It demonstrates to the reader that your proposal is not only a sensible use of capital, but is a better use of capital than alternatives.

Kaldor suggests that if you need help articulating the benefits, consider involving the solution provider. Aside from the fact that it is in their best interest to help you get the business case approved, they are experienced at convincingly pitching their solution.

3. Run a Retrospective Workshop

Having successfully undertaken a transformation project to streamline your ad review process, Kaldor says it is worth spending an hour or two discussing how the project went, to identify opportunities for improvement. 

“This approach comes from agile project management and design thinking, where you continuously seek to improve a process,” he explains. 

There are many ways to run retrospective workshops. But, for a simple and effective approach, Kaldor recommends bringing the stakeholders together and asking two questions: “What’s working well? What can we improve?”

You can then prioritise the items raised and create a list of actions. “If you can have a frank and constructive discussion, you’ll come out of it with an actionable to-do list of high impact improvements.”

Key Takeaways

Kaldor says that it takes three key ingredients to get your transformation project off the ground:

  1. an ability to take small, incremental steps; 
  2. an advocate to help drive it along; and
  3. a willingness to change.

He recommends you then identify what you want to transform, preferably, an area where there is a steady flow of work, such as ad review. You can use the General Counsel Toolkit to guide you through the transformation process. 

“By engaging in incremental goals, and demonstrating the change that is expected to occur in your organisation, in-house legal teams will be able to drive innovation and create new value,” Kaldor says. 

This, along with the cost savings and operational benefits that come out of the change, are compelling reasons to take the General Counsel Toolkit for a test drive.

You can download a free digital copy of the GC Toolkit on the LegalVision website. To request a physical copy, call LegalVision on 1300 544 755 to arrange a meeting on how to get the most out of the Toolkit for your projects.    

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