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When Legal Ops suggestions are annoying
I used to drive my co-founder Chris (CTO) crazy. Maybe I still do… I should check.
Basically, I was an infuriating fountain of ideas:
“would be great to have a dashboard with this kind of data on it”
“we should have a better way to store our docs. Maybe use some machine learning to extract some juicy insights too?”
“how about we automate document compares?”
“maybe a little button here, that would enable me to do [INSERT YET ANOTHER LITTLE MINOR THING]”
Now Chris is an easy going guy, but even he’s got his limits. Controversially, he prefers to code things that actually make a difference instead of just ticking things off the CEOs ‘useful and interesting’ ideas list 🤪.
So basically, I was being annoying and unhelpful.
Anyway, here’s what fixed it:
I started to come up with much better ideas by first locating the biggest bottlenecks. And only allowing myself to come up with ideas that focussed on that. After all, any idea that attacks a bottleneck head-on, automatically has a much bigger impact.
I like doing this visually by building process maps. Great way to get the team to join in as well.
For example, in our business we negotiate a lot of contracts on behalf of legal teams (on fixed fees, so we have to be efficient). We also build software to help speed these things up.
In either case, given our goals, it’s worth us understanding:
where lawyers spend most time in the process;
what’s driving the ‘time-to-close’, e.g. too many rounds of negotiation, waiting for stakeholders, stuck in someone’s inbox, etc ?
And this is exactly what the process map should tell us.
If you want to give this a go, here’s a 4 min video snippet from a larger workshop I recently gave. It shows what a process map looks like, and the huge positive impact (50+%) of implementing seemingly minor changes:
After you have a process map, you can simply point to it and comfortably say ‘no thanks’ to the 80% of other ideas that annoying people like me like to suggest. 😂
Thanks for being here,