A Brand-New Year: Goal Setting for In-House Legal Counsel

To approach the brand-new year fully prepared, goal setting is essential for in-house legal counsel.

The end of 2022 consisted of looking back and jotting down some of the big wins, best practices, and key performing indicators. These aspects will help you and your department analyze what best practices can be continued and which areas need improvement.

Here are some goals setting best practices that your legal department or in-house counsel can implement:


Evaluate your KPIs 

Setting goals for the new year helps to look back and figure out what aspects worked for your department and which areas need improvement. In situations like this, having data on crucial performing indicators of your team and department can prove to be helpful. It is also a good morale booster to see all the high points of your department and wins that your team achieved in the last year. Some metrics to look at include billing/financial, client satisfaction, implementation of automation for admin tasks, and software integration.

Upgrade technology where required

After evaluating the technology aspect of your department, you can set goals for which areas need an upgrade. This could be hardware or software related. Another aspect to consider is automating tasks such as billing, contract management, and data storage. If your company implemented technology in 2023, a new goal could be to see how you can expand this initiative to make processes more straightforward and increase efficiency overall. 

Talk to different parties involved

The best way to understand what you can do better for the new year is to get direct feedback. Talk to the different departments you work with and your clients, your internal team, and any other external parties you work with. Evaluate what worked well and what can be done better. This feedback will help you list a few goals that you can aim to achieve for the new year. Additionally, you can work with your team and department to set group goals and individual goals for the year. 


Use the SMART approach

Many teams and companies use the SMART goals approach to create a comprehensive list of goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound goals. For example, if your department wants to implement a specific software to increase efficiency, the SMART goal would be “Implement new SaaS software for 40% of the legal department by the end of the second quarter.” This goal has a specific software, measures how many people will have it, is attainable and realistic, and has a time-bound approach. Having specific goals with timelines makes it easier to measure your goals and have a clear and concise list that everyone can understand. 


Go over your goals with the team and department

To ensure that goals are achieved, everyone needs to be on the same page. Going through team and individual goals is an excellent way to motivate each other and track. You can have a meeting at the beginning of the year to go through the goals, and maybe every month or every quarter to ensure the goals are on track to being achieved or see which areas need help for goals to be met. 


All set for the new year

Setting an action plan is crucial once your goals are set for the year. Team meetings, using the right tools, and taking the help of technology can help your legal counsel achieve the goals they want. The in-house legal counsel team can achieve all its goals with maximum efficiency with the right approach. All you need is a SMART approach, regular team meetings, feedback from parties involved, and the right technology. These aspects will help your department pave the path to achieving great things in the new year. 

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