Legal departments that have developed a high-efficiency approach for handling disruptive events are essentially making one tradeoff for every three in a low-efficiency department.Raashi Rastogi
Gartner reports that it is imperative for legal departments to have a systemic approach to dealing with disruptions. These disruptions could include global events, the economic downturn, and staying on top of regulatory and compliance issues. According to the article, the “ad-hoc approach to managing incidents is ineffective in an era of persistent disruption”.
Legal departments deal with contract reviews, keeping their company compliant with local and regulatory measures, and collaboration across the organization. When they turn their immediate focus to pressing matters such as disruptions, their day-to-day processes take a backseat. To process the legal work associated with disruptions, legal departments often have to “trade-off” routine work for these urgent tasks, which causes a veritable mountain of work. In an era of strained resources and shoestring budgets, legal departments can no longer rely on adding additional attorneys to the team, nor allocate the much-needed funds for load-easing legal tech. Instead, legal departments can look towards creating clear-cut strategies to maximize their efficiency, ensure they’re not burned out, and stay on target with their business goals.
The Negative Impact of Disruptions on the Legal Department
While legal departments need to work quickly in order to manage and resolve disruptions, there is a certain amount of time and resources that are expended trying to make up for lost time. As Gartner explains, “high-efficiency approaches for handling disruptive events are essentially making one tradeoff for every three in a low-efficiency department.”
Urgency vs. Long-term Value
When an attorney is firefighting and putting out the flames that an explosive incident causes, they have no other choice but to attend to it first. When urgency is at the crux of workflows, legal departments cannot focus on offering legal work or advice that offers long-term value to their organization.
Legal Department’s Potential is Wasted
Instead of working on ironing out issues with contracts, ensuring the company is staying compliant with rules and regulations, and being the organization’s legal advisor, legal departments have to make do with getting the department back to square one. This time and investment could have allowed the legal department prove their value to the company and helped them scale up and focus on what really matters, rather than managing disruptions.
As mentioned above, today’s legal departments are faced with a recession, having to “do more with less”, and working at half capacity. With the current strain on time, budget, and resources, attorneys are tired out having to not only do the legal work required of them, but also the emergency work that they have to deal with, without a game plan.
Mitigating the Risks Associated With Disruptions
Contrary to popular belief, nobody can do their best under pressure. Throw in a bit of legal to the mix, and legal departments need to ensure they have a contingency plan in place, and to predict future scenarios before they happen. With a successful approach to disruption management, corporate attorneys can work fast, when the disruptions happen, so that they can attack the hiccup and get back to their regularly scheduled work – without the mental strain and of course the resources needed to accomplish it.
Experience is truly the greatest teacher, and Gartner states that legal departments that learn from disruptions are 3.5 times more likely to be highly efficient in their disruption response and 2.3 times more likely to provide high-quality guidance.