Smart Collaboration for In-house Legal Teams

Smart Collaboration for In-house Legal Teams

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In-house legal teams are under more pressure than ever to add value to their organisations. This Special Report combines the rigour of Harvard research with a pragmatic focus based on input from hundreds of General Counsels, in-house lawyers, CEOs and board members to show why and how legal teams work across silos - what we call 'Smart Collaboration.' It includes the business case, practical tips, case studies and tools to help legal teams master the four essential 'vectors' of collaboration:
1.Within legal: the full potential of legal and non-legal talent. Rethink hiring and onboarding. Collaborate across countries and cultures. Elevate leadership skills and engineer work to make time for collaboration.
2.With the business: create more innovative, strategic solutions by partnering with business leaders. Proactively engage with the board and c-suite to deliver value.
3.Across functions: integrate with other departments (Finance, R&D, HR, etc.) to create more holistic solutions that capture opportunities, lower risk, and improve the employee and customer experience.
4.Externally: co-develop solutions to shape regulatory agendas and inform public discourse. Maximise value with outside counsel and other third-party legal providers.

Vetted by dozens of General Counsel and in-house lawyers, this report will benefit all members of in-house legal teams and those who work with them (eg, executives, heads of other corporate functions, recruiters and consultants). Partners and leaders in law firms will also gain from a deeper understanding of their clients' operations and aspirations.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 144 pages
  • 210 x 297 x 20.32mm | 458.13g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1787423506
  • 9781787423503
  • 3,414,219

Table of contents



I. Introduction

1. The four vectors

1.1 Across disciplines within the legal group
1.2 With the business, including front-line managers, executives and governing boards
1.3 Between the legal team and other corporate functions
1.4 With external parties beyond the organisation

2. Research methodology, confidentiality and terminology

3. In this Special Report

II. The case for collaboration

1. Benefits of in-house legal teams' collaboration across all four vectors

1.1 Higher-quality, lower-risk solutions
1.2 Innovative outcomes
1.3 Operational efficiency
1.4 Attract, engage and retain talent
1.5 Diversity and inclusion
1.6 Individual benefits: networking, recognition, legacy

III. Real and perceived obstacles to collaboration

1. Barriers

1.1 Time pressures and the drive for efficiency (27%)
1.2 Interpersonal distrust and territoriality (22%)
1.3 Knowledge gap about your legal, business and functional colleagues' expertise (17%)
1.4 Lack of skills and confidence to initiate and carry out collaboration (15%)
1.5 An unsupportive culture (11%)
1.6 Lack of trust in others' competence (8%)

2. Closing thoughts on barriers

IV. Building collaboration within the in-house legal team

1. From vision to strategy

2. Hiring collaborative talent

3. External hires - the three stages

3.1 Preparing to hire
3.2 Recruiting collaborators
3.3 Integrating those new hires

4. Collaborating across geographical divides

5. Building leadership skills

5.1 Tie actions and directives to the larger vision
5.2 Create an open, learning-centric environment
5.3 Build your team's future-ready competencies
5.4 Create exposure opportunities for others
5.5 Offer timely 'suggestions' (instead of anxiety-producing feedback)
5.6 Celebrate success

6. Making time for collaboration

7. Closing thoughts on collaboration within the team

V. Smart collaboration with business executives

1. Earn a seat at the strategy table

1.1 Be more than just a lawyer
1.2 Develop and share future-focused insights

2. Claim your seat at the strategy table and use it effectively

2.1 Overcoming imposter syndrome
2.2 Building and using authentic gravitas
2.3 Help shape the style and tone of interactions across the executive team

3. Build two kinds of trust

3.1 Building interpersonal trust
3.2 Building competence trust
3.3 Climbing the Trust Staircase

4. Concluding thoughts: collaborate by building relationships

VI. Smart collaboration between Legal and other corporate functions

1. Proactively build relationships - while the pressure is lower

2. Paths to building cross-functional relationships

2.1 Formal relationship-building
2.2 Informal relationship-building

3. Explore others' perspectives

4. Building the bridge

4.1 Spend time consciously focused on the other person's (or group's) agenda
4.2 Develop and demonstrate genuine curiosity
4.3 Probe the politics (sensitively)

5. Lead collaborative efforts for higher performance

5.1 Employ disciplined project management to maximise use of time and other resources
5.2 Distinguish between task conflicts and relationship conflicts
5.3 Use your influencing skills rather than your authority

6. From responder to thought partner

VII. Smart collaboration with external stakeholders

1. Degree of joint experience

1.1 Mature, deep (stakes: high; innovation need: high)
1.2 Familiar (stakes: low; innovation need: low)
1.3 New (stakes: low; innovation need: high)
1.4 Strong (stakes: high; innovation need: low)

2. Collaborating with outside counsel, including law firms and ALSPs

3. Collaborating with regulators

3.1 Establish trust and credibility with regulators through upstanding conduct and an effective compliance regime
3.2 Help shape the regulatory environment
3.3 Proactively participate in voluntary regulatory framework discussions

4. Collaborating with legal team counterparts in other organisations

5. Closing thoughts: collaborating outside the company

VIII.Smart collaboration: the ongoing opportunity

1. The 'dark side' of collaboration: an over-committed organisation

1.1 The Four Ms

2. Final thoughts


About the author

About Globe Law and Business

Figure 1. Four vectors of collaboration for in-house legal teams
Figure 2. Benefits of cross-domain collaboration
Figure 3. Business outcomes of employee engagement
Figure 4. Collaboration and performance - added value from smart collaboration
Figure 5. The reinforcing cycle of collaboration benefits
Figure 6. Barriers to collaboration for in-house legal teams
Figure 7. Collaboration and external hires - two paths
Figure 8. Three-stage process for external hiring
Figure 9. Multi-tiered benefits of role-based competency grids
Figure 10. Preference gap between giving and receiving feedback
Figure 11. Leader's reaction to subordinate's good news
Figure 12. How CEOs view Legal: cost vs value-add
Figure 13. The Trust Staircase
Figure 14. From responder to thought partner
Figure 15. Avoiding the performance pressure trap degree of prior joint experience
Figure 17. The danger zone
Figure 18. Measure it: collaboration across many teams

Table 1. Paths to cross-functional relationships
Table 2. Signs of excellent and deficient collaboration within outside firms
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Review quote

Gardner's new book Smart Collaboration for In-house Legal Teams is a must-read for any in-house lawyer who wants to become an effective business thought partner and claim a seat at the table in strategic discussions. Through extensive research and analysis, Gardner turns a complicated subject into simple guidance on how to overcome typical barriers to collaboration in global organizations and achieve real and long-lasting results. -- Suzana Blades
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