As company executives start to take time off away from the office, take these not-so-busy days ahead to set new goals for 2014. The key to achieving your goals, is to set realistic expectations (think: under-promise, over-deliver).
In addition to looking at the end result, create a plan for getting there -- you need to plan all the little baby steps in between. Here are the top five resolutions you can make as in-house counsel for an even more productive (and profitable) 2014.
1. Less Billables, More AFAs
One of the trends of 2013, was the growing use of alternative fee arrangements in place of BigLaw billable hours. Look, BigLaw wants to retain you as a client so you have lots of room to maneuver. More and more companies are looking to pay based on fixed fees, blended rates or success-based fees. Meet with outside counsel to discuss alternative fee arrangements -- BigLaw is trying to keep your business so you have a bit more power and sway over billing issues -- use it.
2. Police Your IP
One of the easiest ways for you to monetize the law department is to police your company's intellectual property. Vigilantly protecting your company's IP, by looking for licensing opportunities, or enforcing licensing agreements, can turn the law department into a revenue center rather than a cost center.
3. Keep More Work In-House
Another way to keep outside counsel's bills low is to keep more work in-house -- another trend of 2013. With such a talented pool of applicants at your disposal, you can hire the best of the best -- as contractors, or on a project basis -- and avoid BigLaw's big bills.
4. Compliance Procedures
Compliance has never been more important. Make compliance a priority and ensure that you have the appropriate policies and procedures in place to keep your company within the framework of the law.
5. Social Media Policies
If your company does not yet have a social media policy for corporate communications and for employee communications, then get with the program. You are already behind, so you need to do some catching up here. If your company already has policies in place, review them, and make sure they are still relevant, and effective.
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