Processes and Procedures = Machines. Machines make you a better lawyer, make your teams more efficient, improve your career and standing in the company and will help your company deliver long-term value to its shareholders.
Low Hanging Fruit
It is never a good time to build machines, but it is worth the time investment. Building machines will not only help you put out fires faster, but prevent them from starting in the first place. And if done right, they can enhance your standing in the company. Start with the easy stuff: arbitration clauses, email retention policies, contract management systems and hiring.
Paying Less, Getting More
Use the 'who you're gonna' be' method for extracting discounts from law firms and vendors. Get them to invest in you by selling them on your company's mission. Implement substantive RFP processes, billing guidelines and billing tracking software.
Product Machinery (Getting a Seat at the Table)
Engage with your engineering team and speak their language. Build legal checkpoints into the RFC process. Ask them to A/B test your way vs. their way and see if there is a negative impact.
Cost-side Machinery (Justifying your Existence)
Use data analytics to demonstrate performance and showcase at quarterly business reviews (i.e. spend vs. budget, litigation outcomes). Data can be used to build a case for additional headcount.
Time Management Machinery (Your Time is Not Free)
Set up self-serve legal service. Hold legal office hours. Train business-side issue spotters. Automate certain tasks where possible (i.e. standard subpoena responses).