A new report written by Nabarro partners Jonathan Warne and Peter Williamson suggests that lawyers’ involvement in key strategic decisions remains limited. As its title, ’From In-house Lawyer to Business Counsel’, suggests, it focuses on the evolving role of general counsel and the need to prove their business value. A total of 81 in-house lawyers were interviewed from companies with legal teams ranging from 250 to one, along with 13 CEOs.
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Lawyers and CEOs differ in assessing the contribution that the in-house legal team makes to a company.
- Nearly 40 per cent of lawyers felt the in-house team made a very strong contribution last year. Only 14 per cent of CEOs felt the same.
- Nearly one GC in seven felt it was not particularly important that the in-house legal team should add commercial value to the business. None of the CEOs we talked to agreed.
- Most lawyers and CEOs, 86 per cent and 85 per cent respectively, thought it was quite easy or very easy for inhouse lawyers to contribute commercially.
- Only one-third of in-house legal teams currently operate in the top half of the “value pyramid” (see page 10). But nearly half of the GCs we talked to want to be in the top half by 2015, with over a quarter aiming for the top quarter of the pyramid.
- CEOs tend to be sceptical about whether GCs can reach the top of the pyramid.
- We believe performance and value measurement will be crucial for GCs seeking to move up the value pyramid, and will be increasingly important for others as well.
- Only one-third of GCs currently have a formal performance measurement system.
- Nearly all the in-house lawyers who do measure performance find their metrics either quite effective or very effective.
- Many GCs who are interested in the idea of performance measurement struggle to define the commercial value added by their teams, and find it difficult to create a measurement system suitable for an in-house legal function.
The General Counsel Value Pyramid
Vision for General Counsel
Winning Strategy for General Counsel