The mixed sourcing strategy has the potential to address challenges around expertise, process improvements and technology. The key is going to be pairing the right task with the right sourcing strategy to create an optimal portfolio, both in terms of operations and managing costs.
“Selecting an approach ultimately depends on the circumstances of the law department in question,” says John Knox, EY Global Legal Operations Leader. “The key is to identify a strategy that allows law departments to manage increasing compliance and reporting workloads, while also reserving enough time to be able to partner with the business on more complex challenges that are reputational in nature and where there is sizeable risk.”
Recommendations and action points
To manage increasing workloads, General Counsel should look at refining your law departments’ operating model to ensure you have the capacity, expertise and resources to focus on higher-value activities by taking the following steps:
- Conduct a spend-management assessment to understand how internal and external resources are currently utilized
- Define the operational strategy going forward with a model matching tasks with appropriate resources
- Build internal and external capabilities, such as centers of excellence or technology improvements, to execute the strategic plan
General Counsel and your law departments are well positioned to play an important role helping build the partnerships, goals, guidelines and governance frameworks that will help organizations address the sustainability imperatives they face. To do that, General Counsel should:
- Consider expanding your risk management efforts to cover reputational or non-legal risks associated with sustainability
- Work with the business to identify the scope of the department’s role in sustainability, along with the roles of key partners and stakeholders, to help foster action and accountability
- Develop a shared understanding of the risks the organization faces and the goals it is working toward and create a decision-making framework for managing complex sustainability challenges, particularly in areas where there are no clear regulations
- Develop an operational model for the department that provides the flexibility, scale and the unique expertise required for sustainability work
While the EY 2022 General Counsel Sustainability Study makes it clear that law departments face a broad range of obstacles in these efforts, many law department leaders are recognizing the need to mobilize around sustainability and are rising to the challenge.