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GC Perspectives for Scaling Your Small(ish) Legal Department

Ironclad General Counsel Chris Young recently joined the In House Focus Leaders of Legal conference and led a roundtable with fellow GCs to share their experiences around growing a lean legal team and scaling their operations to keep up with business growth.

Once your peers are confident in your ability to be an operator, it is much easier to compel the resources you need for technology and strategic headcount for your team.

Chris Young

Getting that first legal hire can be a challenge and there are several ways to go about it. Here is how your panelists made their first hires:

  • Figure out what your business needs then aggressively recruit
  • Hire someone for legal operations to lay the groundwork and systems that the rest of your legal hires can follow
  • Ruthlessly prioritize what you need and fill the positions that you need most first

Key takeaways

Here’s some really important things you should remember:

  • Think about scaling with systems and not with people.
  • Bolster your network.
  • It takes way longer to hire than expected, so do it sooner rather than later.
  • Optimize for trust with your teammates, not only in Legal, but across the business.








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Dive into something interesting

Growing your team can be as challenging as starting one as you’re now facing obstacles from business partners. Here are how our panelists overcame the need for a buy-in with business partners:

  • Properly tracking your spending can help you present to partners where there is a need for additional funding in certain areas of legal
  • Think about creating a legal to employee ratio with your partners
  • Gain trust in your business which will legitimize your requests for hires
  • Avoid the budget battle
  • Be thoughtful about the language you are speaking with your partners and relay your need in a way that will also meet their need




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