In-house Counsel Housekeeping Checklist
Thinking and Problem Solving for In-house Counsel
Getting Information About Your Client
Peripheral Vision & Strategic Thinking – Who is the Customer and What Does the Customer Need?
- What’s the future that has already happened? Seeing the “future” in the “present” → What opportunities does this future present?
- Asking the right questions: What do we need to know? What’s occurring? What does it mean for us? [“Us” can be your organization, or simply the “legal department”]
Tracking Events Outside Your Organization
- Intelligence System [scanning the environment and the periphery; seeing ahead and around corners; connecting “what’s new” with “what you already know”]
- Noticing customer needs, observing changes and trends both in your industry and the law → changes and trends can present opportunities
Tracking Achievements Inside Your Organization → Information Systems & Results
- Measure to manage; organize data & information about your matters [e.g. risk, compliance, costs/values of violations, disputes and other matters]
- How organizational strategy meets customers’ needs
Being Effective and Efficient for Your Client
Systems & Design Thinking: develop systems thinking; seeing “wholes” and patterns [use insights from the Intelligence System and Information System above]
- Set up systems [processes/forms/documents] as needed in your areas [e.g. governance, risk management, compliance, drafting, dispute prevention, early dispute resolution, value, crisis management]
- Set up “after-action review” systems where you review matters to add to your “preventive system”
Process and Lean Thinking: reducing waste, highlighting value, adding technology/automation, project management; using checklists [things that you typically “do” on a case]
- Lean thinking: diagnose challenges in processes that are causing delays, frustrations, errors, long cycle times, dissatisfaction → solutions to address those problems
Being Innovative and Creative for Your Client
Innovation: Is there a better way?
- Could we offer our customers [current and potential] new products/services? What new projects could we do? How can we do current projects better?
Creative & Smart Thinking and Problem Solving
- Please visit “ACC Value Champions – Meet the Champions”]
From James Freund who years ago wrote a book entitled, Lawyering: the most brilliant ideas are simple rather than complex – a fresh way of looking at a problem; question the assumptions [if you’re having difficulty working with them]; look for analogies; figure out possibilities for alternatives.