Two of Deloitte’s lawyers have shed light on how they’ve taken a proactive rather than reactive approach to managing matters in-house.
Speaking on a recent episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Rachel Besley, general counsel at Deloitte, and Jason Bender, partner at Deloitte, spoke about how they’ve effectively delivered better outcomes by immersing themselves more into the business, with the aid of technology, instead of purely offering legal advice.
“I think a lot of legal work or work that comes to lawyers tends [to be] business decisions [that] have already been made about what [the business] wants to do. And then it’s handed over to your lawyers to execute on those tasks instead of the lawyers being part of the strategic piece up front and helping to shape what you're actually ultimately going to do,” Ms Besley said.
“I think that because we spend so much time in that delivery space, you don’t actually segment the time in your day or the thinking in your mind in order to be able to think about, ‘Well actually how are we going to transform our business? How are we actually going to introduce technology? How are we going to change the way that we actually do business?’”
To combat this mindset, Ms Besley says her team has implemented some key strategies to ensure it is more involved in implementing innovative strategies to drive better business outcomes for Deloitte, rather than just advising on its legal matters.
Among them, she said, is the appointment of an operations officer within the team, and creating an environment where the team can contribute from the ground-up.
“… I also find that the most innovative group within our team are that sort of mid-level of lawyers who have mastered their craft but at the same time are not necessarily sort of bogged down with the management piece. So we’ve actually created a manager group who are responsible for innovation and technology and it’s up to them to sort of come up with ideas that we then sort of implement within the team,” Ms Besley explained.
Mr Bender offered a similar sentiment, saying its vital that in-house lawyers use technology to its potential.
“I think you need to actually have enough challenge in your work. You're stressed out, you’ve got too much work to do, you have to find a new solution. And I think it's a lot of our teams being empowered to use the technology platforms we make available to do that,” he said.
“One of the ones that’s interesting is just the use of enterprise social networks like Yammer. Our legal team was one of the first groups that really activated around that and started to understand not just the work that was going on, but the conversations that were happening with the clients and the business. And so they could onboard people into an activity faster.
“So I think, often it can be quite simple solutions when we talk about technology. It doesn't have to be an amazing piece of machine learning or something that can activate the teams better.”