16 January 2019 at 12:23 BST

'Flying blind' legal departments lack strategic plan, says survey

Nealry half of legal departments don't have a formal operations strategy and need better metrics and review steps, says Xakia global survey.


The survey authors suggest ‘legal departments may be flying blind without a legal plan.’ The global survey polled in-house lawyers and legal operations personnel on five continents.

Size counts

When accounting for size of the Legal Department, the report states it is clear that smaller teams that are ‘winging it’ without a plan. For teams of one to 5 and 6 to 10, 48 percent have no plan. In teams of 11 to 50 the figure falls to 39 percent, while teams of more than 50 sees 33 percent having no plan. About one-third (31 percent) of legal departments say they plan at least ‘moderately well.’ When asked how well their legal operations strategy aligned with corporate and support functions, larger teams are more likely to have more sophisticated strategies in place. Teams aligning ‘well’ in respect to size reveal similar patterns, with teams of 50+ having the most positive responses (33 percent), followed by teams of 11 to 50 (32 percent), teams of 6 to 10 (26 percent), and finally, teams of one to 5 (20 percent).

Need for metrics and review

About half of all Legal Departments currently lack metrics or regular review. Nearly half (49 percent) said their legal operations strategy does not include well-defined and measurable metrics. Over half (53 percent) said they do not perform any regular tracking against metrics or key initiatives, while 43 percent said they do not perform any regular review of their progress toward their legal operations strategy. The report authors suggest that as 2019 kicks off, legal departments should be formalising their legal operations strategies to ensure they tackle the most important initiatives. They argues that without a written plan, too often loftier projects are sacrificed for ‘business as usual.’


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