Business units in all organisations with a calendar year end are likely looking at the business plans and their allocated budgets for 2018 and wondering how they are going to deliver more with less next year. In-house legal teams are no different and this is a good moment for legal leaders to take stock of what the business will need and how to deliver it. Many organisations time the appraisal process to fall at this time of year too, meaning that leaders are well placed to consider both their internal headcount and skills profile, as well as what services need to be outsourced.
Key shifts that have broad implications across wide parts of the business and compliance landscape, such as Brexit and GDPR, will impact priorities next year. Although the overall legal horizon looks relatively clear heading into 2018 compared with prior years, this has the feel of the calm before the storm. The strength of the internal and external legal team at the GC’s disposal will be critical to how they fare in the weather ahead.
I have been working with a number of in-house teams, law firms and consultants on a series of materials to help support a practical approach to sourcing legal services, from identifying the business’s needs and how to meet them, through recent changes in the legal services market which affect how you might frame requests for proposals, to insights into what makes – and breaks – panel relationships in practice.
- Sourcing legal services: a practical guide to the panel review process provides an overview of the conventional panel review process from beginning to end, as well as noting those areas in which changes to the legal landscape (such as the advent of ALSPs and trends such as insourcing) may influence an organisation to adopt a different approach.
- Sourcing legal services: identifying the business’s needs and potential suppliers sets out a method for determining what your organisation really needs from its panel, and where to look for it, devised by Bruce Macmillan of the Centre for Legal Leadership.
- Sourcing legal services: step-by-step tips for panel reviews gives practical advice on how each stage of a panel review should (and should not) be approached, from the perspective of those running reviews in-house, and their panel firms.
The series also includes case studies giving detailed accounts of how four organisations have conducted recent panel reviews – and what it was like for the firms going through those processes.
- Panel reviews in practice case study: AIG EMEA
- Panel reviews in practice case study: BT and Addleshaw Goddard
- Panel reviews in practice case study: Carillion and Slaughter and May
- Panel reviews in practice case study: John Lewis Partnership and Burges Salmon
Thanks to the Centre for Legal Leadership, AIG EMEA, BT, Carillion, the John Lewis Partnership, Addleshaw Goddard, Burges Salmon, Slaughter and May and Halebury for their collaboration on these resources.
The Practical Law In-house resource centre contains further materials relevant to managing your organisation’s relationships with its external legal resourcing, whether it is considering what technology might suit your team (see Video, Technology and the changing legal services market), identifying value-added services that really will add value (see Article, The power to do more: reinventing your relationship with your external counsel) or going direct to a barrister (Practice note, Public access: how to give a direct instruction to a barrister).