In-house lawyers are often not fans of Procurement and procurement processes, at least from the start. Many of them don’t think like business people, savings often don’t matter to them as much as they typically matter to you, and relationships to outside counsel are of utmost importance for them. Former general counsel Leah Cooper of Leah Cooper Consulting recommends ways for Procurement to win in-house lawyers over and drive improvements:
Build the relationship: If possible, sit with your colleagues in Legal and/or schedule regular meetings. Ask questions, understand their issues, learn lawyer-speak and avoid Procurement lingo. Relate and engage. Come with different options or scenarios. Lawyers are trained to argue and find fault. By showing them different scenarios they can reason about the most fitting solution and are hence more likely to embrace it. Also come to an agreement as to what is a “win”.
Be useful: In RFPs, show your skills and usefulness and do the “leg work” for the legal team. Learn what is important to them and research alternatives. Show that you are aware of their concerns and know what keeps them up at night. Use this in your approach when making suggestions for different processes, analyses or firm choices.
What else you should do:
Understand what keeps your colleagues in the legal department up at night and connect with your peers in other companies. See what path they have taken, learn from their successes and mistakes, and adopt legal procurement best practices.
Attend the next legal procurement conference in London on 9 May. Click here for the programme!