What’s Your Legal Team’s Brand - Part 1

Laura Jeffords Greenberg
Written by
Laura Jeffords Greenberg
August 13, 2022

What is the Value of Your Legal Team?

Discovering your “why” is key to building your legal team’s brand. Before tackling your team’s purpose, it’s helpful to identify the “what” and “how”. This article focuses on identifying what your team does and the value of your work.

What Do You Do?

Starting with “what” requires examining your legal products and services.

I’m a big fan of grouping topics, ideas, or anything into “buckets”.

Looking at what the legal team is doing can be as simple as writing down all of the work and bucketing it into different categories like product, commercial, privacy, IP, corporate, marketing, M&A, etc. Post-it’s are great for this exercise if it’s in person. If it’s done remotely or asynchronously, then Miro is a great tool for this collaborative exercise.

What Value Do You Add?

The more challenging aspect of this exercise is assessing the value of the legal work. What value does this legal work add to the company? The maturity of your legal department will greatly impact the time this activity will take. Some questions to consider:

  • What is the most important legal work being done by the team?
  • Does the company have a risk profile?
  • Does your team have established goals, objectives, or priorities?
  • Is your team using any metrics or data to track legal work?
  • Are there any decision making hierarchies or risk matrixes in place?

Not sure where to start?

A popular legal writer, Sterling Miller, suggests focusing on your 5 biggest value generators[1]:

  • Legal Spend
  • Contract Completion
  • Litigation
  • Compliance and
  • Intellectual Property

I would also suggest looking at this checklist for measuring the legal department’s performance.

Remember, this exercise cannot be done in isolation. You need to understand what the executive team and your business partners find valuable. Include them in the conversations and use them to validate your ideas. They’ll appreciate it. And they’ll gain a better understanding of what your team does and how your team adds value to the company.

The added value of this exercise - with a clear understanding of what work you are doing and the value it adds, the team can:

1. Cut the low value, low risk work

2. See where they should and should not be spending their time

3. Prioritize competing work

4. Add the same value consistently across the company and

5. Set metrics and measure performance

Now that you have a clear understanding of your team’s “what”, it’s time to move on to the “how.”

Up Next: Is Your Legal Team Like Ikea, Apple, or McDonalds?

[1] Sterling Miller - The Things: Showing the Value of the Legal Department