As I suggested in Part I of this series, scaling a company’s resources to meet soaring legal and regulatory demands is, ultimately, a management challenge. Because at-scale impact — using limited resources — won’t happen without disciplined systems and processes by which colleagues work together to accomplish what no single one of them could do on their own.
Successful companies usually have individuals who have proven themselves as managers. They might be serving in a corporate function like finance, or serving as a line manager in a business unit. Or, in the past five years to ten years, proven managers may be found among a new breed of professionals: “legal operations” executives.
But such proven managers are rarely found among lawyers, whether general counsels or others in-house or in firms. Unhelpfully, lawyers in-house and outside counsel “manage” in dysfunctional ways peculiar to their profession: rewarding excessive time spent on tasks and overstaffing work teams with inexperienced attorneys — actually disincentivizing efficiency.
Therefore only proven executives should manage the corporate law function. Attorneys should play a supporting role in Legal, confined to their technical skills in law and regulation. Continue reading