The chief litigation officer is the leader of a critical component of any in-house legal team. However, given that various priorities of modern legal departments, litigation leaders can struggle to secure the resources they need to maximize their departments’ effectiveness. Below are several strategies that can help these executives highlight the importance of litigation management to the GC and other decision makers who hold the company purse strings.
Like other executives, chief litigation officers can benefit from working collaboratively with other business leaders. When the opportunity arises, chief litigation officers ought to advocate for the needs of other departments, as well as support the interests of colleagues in their own department. Advocating for others in pursuit of resources or other help may lead to reciprocal support when you make the case for your own team’s needs. You will also gain a greater understanding of the missions and priorities of other departments, which may be leveraged in future situations.
Advocating for others in pursuit of resources or other help may lead to reciprocal support when you make the case for your own team’s needs.
When advocating for an increased budget or other departmental needs, you should not assume that your audience recognizes the value of your work or the risk of insufficient investment. Instead, you should always err on the side of providing detailed context, including financial data or projections, to support your requests. For instance, when seeking funds to promote a report, your argument becomes infinitely stronger if you can demonstrate a financial payoff, rather than merely asking to boost your salary line. Be sure to highlight risks of insufficient investment as well. Additional resources may help improve departmental efficiency, but they may also help reduce financial exposure. Maintaining or modestly increasing litigation department costs can help avoid a dramatic spike in outside counsel expense and substantial financial trauma resulting from adverse judgments. By framing your needs against the company’s bottom line, you give your team its best opportunity for sufficient support.
By framing your needs against the company’s bottom line, you give your team its best opportunity for sufficient support.
One of the best ways to ensure support for the litigation department is by being a team player after decisions have been made. In an era of limited financial resources, a gain for one department may come at the expense of another. You may be inclined to demonstrate an open and adverse reaction to a final decision that goes against your interests, but protesting in the short term is likely to do more harm for you and your department than good. By supporting the company’s final decisions, you have an opportunity to show support for company leadership that could come in handy at a later point.
While it will be challenging to secure the necessary resources for the litigation department, following the steps above will give the litigation team a fighting chance. At the end of the day, the needs of the litigation department are directly in lines with the most crucial needs of the rest of the company. Making sure those shared interests are known will hopefully help you in receiving the resources.