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Corporate Counsel Vendor Management

Posted by Legalease Solutions on 17 Feb, 2022

Your legal department is complemented by the work by vendors like outside counsel and law firms. To ensure that your legal department is at peak performance, and manage your vendor’s tasks and timelines, it’s beneficial to create a management system for vendors.

Vendor management programs (VMP) can be as simple as mapping processes and workflows, so that you and your department can identify workflow bottlenecks, speed up timelines, and have vendors deliver on time.

Benefits

Streamline vendor processes

Measure your legal department’s performance

Manage vendors timelines and tasks as set out in contracts

Choose the best combination of law firms and outside counsel

Target and address inefficiencies

Identify and eliminate bottlenecks

VMP Best Practices

  • Prepare – Scale to Size
    • Identify as many, or as few, vendors to suit your corporation’s size and organizational needs
  • Measure It
    • Establish KPIs to measure and manage your vendors performance and efficiency
  • Crystal Clear
    • Your department’s goals and needs must be highlighted, clear to understand and follow, communicated well, and be consistently monitored
  • Communicate
    • Initial communication is always easy, but evaluating your legal department and vendor’s needs, issues, and queries makes for a stronger vendor-company relationship to hit those goals in tandem
  • Legal Tech
    • Whether automating processes or bringing legal AI on board, integrating legal tech is always a good idea

Frameworks to Follow

Creating a vendor management framework involves carefully designing a flowchart to establish a VMP. The framework can consist of vendor acquisition and divestment, vendor management, and noting what individual benefits each vendor brings to the table.

  1. A dedicated team needs to be assigned to the VMP
  2. Next, all current vendors must be identified, sorted, and organized by department and/or service.
  3. Risk-assessment and compliance to regulations by all vendors needs to be assessed
  4. Agreements by way of contracts must be negotiated and terms, clauses, and fees agreed to before signing on law firms and outside counsel
  5. Vital communication is necessary to creating a successful relationship with vendors. All expectations and requirements must be clearly defined, with a set of processes and workflows to achieve them

Sample VMP Workflow

  1. Prepare
    • Lay out your program and goals, to identify vendor on-boarding
  1. Create
    • vendor selection and certification
    • policies
    • compliance
    • confidentiality
    • standards
    • oversight
    • termination information
  1. Work in Progress
    • manage and monitor performance of vendors on an ongoing basis, throughout the process lifecycles
  1. Evaluate
    • After completion of processes or delivery of projects, assess vendors competency

Go Dick Tracy with Due Diligence

Do some sleuthing before vendor onboarding, because you’re dealing with sensitive legal matter at your legal department.

  • Find out about their industry and track record
  • Scrutinize their finances
  • Assess sensitive legal data and matter access
  • Understand their cybersecurity risk
  • Conduct ongoing risk management
  • Standardize a list of questions to ask potential vendors
  • Evaluate their strategy and previous work, if any

Your legal department is set to shine by partnering up with law firms and outside counsel to provide exceptional legal services to your company. Integrate the VMP best practices, and create a framework for your organization’s vendors.

Want to find out how your legal department can implement a VMP? Talk to a LegalEase Solutions specialist today.