Effective communication and collaboration are key to supporting the evolving role of the in-house function, from being perceived as a cost centre and risk manager to that of a strategic business partner and enabler.

Strategic business partnering requires an understanding of the organisation’s strategic goals, a degree of business and financial acumen and the ability to foster relationships of trust, bringing multiple stakeholders together (often with competing priorities), to build consensus. Collaborating across functional areas enables lawyers to see the big picture and develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle increasingly complex legal and business problems.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, with the absence of in-person communication across desks or over coffee, the need for fostering a collaborative culture and ensuring effective communication has never been more important. Global events have forced us all to adopt new ways of working, shining a light on things that were previously taken for granted or viewed as nice-to haves. The adoption and use of technology tools (even by the most resistant of lawyers), has been accelerated to address these challenges, however what is often missing is the governance, processes and frameworks which should underpin the use of such tools.

Many in house teams also experience a disconnect between the reality of their role and the value they bring to the business, and what the business understands and expects from them. It can be difficult to know how to bridge this gap in order to build stronger, more transparent relationships with business stakeholders and other support functions.

To do this, GCs and legal teams require a plan.