The In-House Lawyer’s Survival Guide
We know you don’t need to be told how to practice law, nor do you need lofty, big-picture business advice. You need direct and practical advice for how to handle the inevitable challenges that come with being in-house.
That's where this book comes in.
This comprehensive guide is designed to be your trusted companion, offering practical advice and solutions to help you tackle the day-to-day challenges in managing your legal operations.
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About the guide
Ready when you are
As a field manual, we created this book around a set of 10 scenarios you are likely to encounter. There’s no need to read it from cover to cover (although you are welcome to). Instead, we recommend keeping it on hand throughout the year so that you have reliable and relevant instructions at the ready.
Each chapter is written to stand on its own. Again, no need to read it from cover to cover — but if you do, you may see some repetition. This is done intentionally to save you time in the moment.
In several instances, Xakia has additional resources – articles, white papers or templates – that can help you address your problem.
Legal Department Strategic Planning
Create a straightforward, purposeful plan
Do you feel so buried in work that you don’t have time to think big-picture about the company, let alone the Legal Department? If so, you’re not alone: According to a FindLaw survey, nearly half of in-house lawyers said they were too busy “fighting fires” to achieve long-term goals.
The good news: You don’t need a week-long retreat to create a Legal Department strategic plan. In fact, the best plans – and the ones most likely to actually get implemented – fit on a single page.
Our guide will outline the eight steps to drafting a practical, purposeful strategic plan that will fit on one page. You can download the legal strategic plan template here so you don't have to start from scratch.
Smarter in-house legal budgeting
Build a budget that works for you – and Finance
With a smart framework, compiling the legal budget can be more than tedium and guesswork: It can be a powerful and thoughtful process for shaping the department you want.
Our survival guide will outline a 10-step process that will provide you a solid first draft for your discussions (and negotiations) with Finance.
You can download the Legal Department Budget Template (Excel format) here. Then follow the steps in this guide, collecting your data and entering it into the template as you go. The template will help with adjustments and calculations already set up to work for you.
Stay in control of legal spend
Adopt the best practices of legal spend management
Spend management is a prime directive for most Legal Departments – and it gets more challenging in tight economic times. It’s a tenuous balancing act that calls for a combination of big-picture vision and attention to minute detail; a mixture of legal acumen and business savvy; and a blend of data, both quantitative (how much) and qualitative (to what end).
But with the right approach legal spend management can evolve from a chore to a strategic initiative that is enlightening, action-oriented and significantly less painful.
Our survival guide will outline the five best practices to achieve clarity on and control of your legal spend.
Legal Department resourcing
Match your resources – internal and external – to matters complexity and strategic impact
Resourcing is the secret of Legal Department success: Once you have it right, everything else falls into place. It takes some work, but the right resourcing isn’t impossible alchemy; you can balance your workload and budget with some straightforward segmentation of your matters.
Our guide will outline the six steps to help your in-house team become more efficient and effective and achieve harmony with your outside firms, with less strife about billing surprises and doublework.
Legal Intake & Triage
Take control through structured Intake and Triage
Without structure and consistency, Intake can set a tone of chaos for all involved, adding stress for both business clients (Who’s doing my work? What happens next?) and lawyers (Who’s handling this? What information do we need? When’s this due?).
The good news: A few simple process improvements can pay dividends, and many of these can be “DIY” fixes.
Our guide outlines 12 steps from beginner to advanced level.
Legal reports for key stakeholders
Create customized reports tailored to each of your audiences – and their specific interests
Legal reporting is a natural opportunity to connect with your stakeholders; to share critical information; to demonstrate your value. But going from a blank page to a rave-worthy report isn’t so straightforward: Who needs to know what, exactly? When should we tell them? How should they get it?
Our guide will explore how to create effective reports for five critical audiences, including examples of each type of report. Get our white paper to learn best-in-class legal reporting.
Show Legal Department value
Demonstrate the value you bring in multiple terms, from risk management to strategy, and do so in business terms
Whether you’re making a proactive move to demonstrate value or preparing for the dreaded “Justify Your Existence” conversation with the C-suite, preparation is key. By addressing four key aspects – Who, What, When and Why – you can set the tone for a big-picture conversation.
A data-driven approach is crucial. Our comprehensive guide will show you how to harness your Legal Department’s data to make smarter, more informed decisions.
Get our legal data analytics for beginners white paper to learn more.
The ultimate in-house legal operations survival guide
This guide aims to help you set up a structure for your legal team that will empower you to work more purposefully, while at the same time collecting and analyzing your data to shed light on resourcing, risk management and more. This will elevate your Legal Department from busywork to strategic impact; from the “Department of No” to a depended-on business adviser; from out-of-control to in-command.
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