Let contract specialists handle the legwork on contracts before the legal department runs with it

A good example of delegation and pushing in-house lawyers to add the most value comes from Corp. Counsel, June 2010 at 79. During 2009, Discover Financial Services, with 34 in-house lawyers, executed 700 business technology agreements and about 100 facilities agreements. To get something like four agreements done per workday, the department set up an interesting model. “Nonlawayer contract specialists in the finance department collect a deal’s requirements from the business unit, prepare a first draft, manage the review process, and highlight any issues for the legal department.”

This is a powerful model: empower and educate client specialists to handle as much as they can and use the legal department to train and prepare them, then resolve difficult or novel issues. If this model of client paralegals spreads, it will change outside counsel usage (since more in-house time will be available to do work previously sent out or to manage instructions more closely), open up opportunities for offshoring services (since work at this level will flow to lower cost regions), and alter staff counts (with an effect on benchmark statistics).

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