Companies need to have an in-house legal department for smooth functioning of the business from the legal perspective. Whatever importance the legal department may have for a company, it is nevertheless a cost centre for the business. Any corporate law firm in India can argue at length about the importance of the in-house legal team and how much value it adds to the company, but at the end of the day it’s just another cost centre to the business. And when the time comes to prune the budget and do cost-cutting, the axe is likely to fall on the legal department along with other not so productive departments. It is, therefore, very important for in-house lawyers to properly market themselves to the business and keep themselves relevant. Though a cost centre, it’s an extremely valuable one and should project itself as adding great value to the business.
Usually, the legal department doesn’t have much to show as their achievements, it is nonetheless crucial to the smooth functioning of a business. This article discusses some ways to market the legal department to the business and help them understand the value it adds to it.
Have a Helpful Website
The first step towards marketing the law department to the business is to have credible and useful website. For most employees the website of the legal department is the first exposure to the legal field. If the website isn’t great, the employee experience wouldn’t be good. The website should be simple, clean, and easy to navigate, along with being practical. Try to avoid unnecessary external links as you wouldn’t want employees to do their own research on legal topics and waste their time. Instead, provide basic legal information and serve as a helpful resource to the employees.
Try providing answers to FAQs, information on what contract forms are to be used when, which lawyer to contact for a particular service, etc. Also, include a form where clients can fill in their request for a service, and publish articles on legal topics relevant to the business.
Proper communication, both external and internal, is the key to any business. Therefore, the law department should make it a point that they communicate regularly with other employees of the organization. You must communicate with the employees on at least a monthly basis and keep them updated on key legal issues. It could be through emails or video conferencing where a lawyer can explain important legal aspects. You can also set up a table at a prominent place where employees can come and get their queries answered. You have to make yourself visible and get involved in the day-to-day activities.
Conduct a Survey.
Conduct regular client satisfaction survey to get feedback from the employees. This will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses and how you are perceived among the employees. Based on the feedback you receive, you can improve upon the areas where you fall short of expectations and thus increase the satisfaction level with the department. Most corporate law firm in India say that getting feedback and then improving upon the shortcomings is critical.
Hosting boot camps for different business units on a regular basis is quite helpful. It helps you understand the problems faced by that unit on key legal and business issues, such as contracts and agreements. It helps in removing misconceptions the unit might have on any legal aspect of the business. Such initiatives help in improving the image of the legal department and their role is appreciated by the management.
List Your Accomplishments
Usually, the achievements of the legal department go unnoticed simply because the businesses don’t know about them as they might not be relevant from the operational point of view. If you wait for the senior management to come to know about them on their own then it might be too late. So, list down all the important legal matters handled by the team and present it to C suite members. Let the company know how important those matters were and how much positive impact they had on the business.
Be Engaged in the Business
A common grievance about the legal department is that they are not interested in the operational aspect of the business, but only concerned about the legal matters. Businesses expect the legal team to be more involved and engaged in the business. They want them to understand and learn the nuances of the business. It is believed that by doing so the legal team can add more value to the business by providing accurate legal insights based on their understanding of the risks involved, goals to be achieved, and the competition to be negotiated. Lawyers should attend all important meetings of the company to keep themselves abreast of all major developments.
Being responsive to the needs of different business units is a good way to market the law department. It doesn’t necessarily mean reducing the turnaround time. It is more about keeping yourself updated on every development related to a project. Make it a point that all phone calls and emails are promptly answered. Keep your clients regularly updated even if there is nothing new to add. Be always connected and never be out of reach.
Though the list of marketing techniques mentioned above is not exhaustive, a most corporate law firm in India would agree that this is the least you can do to market the law department to the business.
This article is written by Amy Johnes- A legal expert and law blogger at Ahlawat & Associates – The best platform for hire lawyer for Setting up LLC in India.