Many companies of varying sizes and industries have in-house legal teams. Some, like retailers, use it to manage their intellectual property; others use it to manage contractual risks. Regardless of the purpose or type of operation for which the in-house legal team is maintained, there are many ways in which these teams can reduce costs and help a company function more efficiently.
6 Ways to Reduce Costs for In-House Legal Teams
1. Manage Contractual Risk
The in-house legal team should be focused on managing contractual risk. An excellent way to do this is to review all the contracts in operation and identify any that may need updating or revision. The team can also work with vendors and partners to maintain contracts that are important to the company. The goal of a legal team should be to manage contractual risk so that there are fewer disruptions in operations and fewer costs associated with making alterations.
2. Review Intellectual Property
The second way an in-house legal team can reduce costs is to review their intellectual property. The goal is to ensure all intellectual property is properly managed and protected. Managed implies that it is appropriately used and protected and has a proper filing strategy. Both steps will help manage risk related to lawsuits, fines, or even theft because the company can keep track of its intellectual property.
3. Review Contracts with Vendors and Partners
An excellent place to start is by identifying the vendors that are most important to the business. Ideally, these will generally be larger companies with considerable resources. Smaller companies may not be worth the time or effort of an in-house legal team because they may not significantly impact company operations or profits. To identify and manage these contracts, the team should have documentation that they can use to verify that they are adequately controlled and updated regularly by using cost management software.
4. Manage Litigation
The fourth way an in-house legal team can reduce costs is to keep track of the legal proceedings that are likely to impact the company. It might be something like a pending lawsuit or another action by a government agency. The goal should be to manage how this could affect the company before it becomes a problem. The first step for a legal team should be to identify all of the litigation. After that, the team needs to find some way to manage the proceedings and ensure they don’t impact the company. It can help reduce costs and ensure that there are no issues with bias in favor of one party over another.
5. Develop a Process for Delegating Tasks
It can help with costs because it is much cheaper to delegate tasks than hire more personnel for the in-house legal team. It is also a good idea because it enables the employees of in-house legal teams to take on the responsibility of gaining the experience and skills they need to move up or advance. The company can also reduce costs by minimizing the work the in-house legal team needs to do and reducing how much time they spend doing it. The more time employees on the in-house legal team spend away from other tasks, the more wasteful their work becomes. It can impact several different areas, such as quality and productivity.
6. Create a Process for Identifying Contractual Risks
The first thing that the legal team should do is to focus on identifying all of the contractual risks. It could be done by making a list and then organizing it according to the likelihood of risk, impact, and probability of occurrence. Once that has been accomplished, the team should look at existing contracts and identify which ones have any issues or risks related to them. The goal is to identify these before they cause problems or disrupt operations.
An in-house legal team can be very effective in helping reduce costs for an organization. By managing contractual risk, reviewing intellectual property, reviewing contracts with vendors and partners, managing litigation, and developing a process for delegating tasks to employees of the in-house legal team, a company can build a legal team that is effective and efficient at reducing costs.