Part I of this series concluded:
” … In most companies, corporate Legal is a business function without a strategy … without objectives and metrics by which to assess its effectiveness .”
In other words, most corporate Legal functions neglect to target specific results for which executive management can hold them accountable. And they lack measures against which to assess their results (other than generalized cost complaints).
Nevertheless, most corporate Legal functions have what amounts to a substitute for a strategy, implicitly adopted by default. As the article cited in Part I (“The One Thing You Need to Know About Managing Functions“, Roger L. Martin & Jennifer Riel, Harvard Business Review, July – August 2019) put it:
“You have a strategy whether you like it or not … The goal may be implicit … The choices may have emerged without discussion or exploration. The actions may be ineffectual in achieving the goal. But the strategy exists nonetheless.”
So the typical corporate Legal function’s implicit, default substitute for a coherent strategy that actually amounts to a set of tactics:
- Respond to events ad hoc; don’t commit Legal to achieve particular outcomes, and
- When a legal need arises, simply assign lawyers to whatever task needs doing.