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How BAU work blocks legal from being a strategic asset

Two things GCs tell us they care about:

  1. Making time for what matters most in a legal department 
  2. How to be a strategic partner to the business 

What makes these things such a challenge for GCs and how are they related?
In this post we’ll look at some of the negative feedback loops that make these things hard to do and suggest a few solutions that can help legal teams break these cycles, unlock efficiencies and have a more visible impact on their businesses.

Being a strategic partner takes time

For legal teams to be involved in a strategically significant way, they need time to:

  1. Establish relationships with key stakeholders
  2. Understand other departments in the business and how they operate
  3. Being involved early in a project’s lifecycle
  4. Growing a reputation of being a strategic advisor

These activities are all high value to a business. So why can’t GCs and legal teams find time for these activities?

The BAU to strategic work ratio

The majority of time spent in a legal department is BAU work and that’s a perfectly normal thing. We think of BAU as high-frequency work like commercial contracts, employment or data protection queries. But if the balance of BAU to strategic work moves too far in the direction of BAU, some negative feedback loops start to form. Breaking these is key to a high impact legal function.

If strategic work accounts for less than a third of the workload of a legal team, the following two negative cycles become difficult to break.

1. BAU blocks strategic work

Business understanding and visibility helps legal team members focus, tailor and refine their legal advice. If there’s not enough time for that, legal is forced into a reactive game of whack-a-mole and can’t innovate or tailor processes to drive business goals:

2. The downsides of trying to address BAU work

Most teams have tried to increase headcount or outsource work and they are often caught by these constraints:

The solution: the strategic legal function’s positive cycle

Reduce the BAU load to enable the legal team to invest in strategic work:

Lexoo’s approach

Lexoo has found a way to free you from time constraints of BAU work, without the tradeoffs typically associated with outsourcing:

We’d love to discuss these topics more with you if you recognise some of the issues outlined in this post. We’d also love to hear if you’ve found alternative ways to solve these issues.

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