Beyond Cost Center: How Legal Teams Can Deliver Business Value Through Streamlined Service Request Management

February 22, 2024

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In-house legal teams have often been perceived as cost centers within their organizations because they are not properly demonstrating their value to the business.

With plateauing headcounts and limited resources to serve the business, in-house legal teams must work in silos, causing them to work inefficiently with the business and becoming a cost center. Since legal teams cannot properly demonstrate their value to business, they have an overall poor perception by the business, creating a strained relationship.

However, legal teams can shift this perception from cost center to strategic business partner by providing an effective service delivery model, which can help legal work better with the greater business. Namely, the intake of legal service requests and the resolution of those requests.

By using an effective model for legal service request management, legal teams can transform themselves into that strategic business partner.

Shifting the Narrative

Shifting the narrative and journey of viewing in-house legal teams as cost centers to strategic business partners is essential for organizations to fully unlock the potential of their legal departments. Businesses need to recognize that legal support and expertise can play a proactive and strategic role in driving overall organizational success. By embracing this perspective, organizations can leverage the specialized knowledge of their legal teams to inform key business decisions, navigate complex regulatory landscapes and identify opportunities for growth while managing risks.

Legal service request banner

But where does this shift start?

It can start with legal service request management. Streamlining and investing in legal service request management software is a critical aspect of this transformative journey. Such software empowers legal teams to efficiently manage service requests, automate processes and improve collaboration with stakeholders across the organization.

Legal teams can often have a bottleneck effect when it comes to resolving legal requests, as it requires significant manual work in triaging requests and identifying the right resources to address them. By implementing a centralized system, where business users can access legal advice through a legal digital front door, legal departments can standardize and streamline their workflows, enabling them to handle requests more effectively, reduce response times and enhance overall efficiency. This not only enables legal teams to deliver services in a more timely and efficient manner but also frees up valuable time and resources for them to focus on higher-value strategic initiatives.

What role does LSRM play in helping legal to become strategic business partners?

Aligning your legal service request management with business objectives brings numerous benefits whilst playing a crucial role in demonstrating legal departments as strategic business partners.

By aligning legal service request management with business objectives, you can ensure that legal efforts can be better spent on delivering core legal services and supporting business-critical activities. Streamlining the service requests that come through to legal can enable legal teams to understand the specific needs and challenges of the business, allowing them to provide tailored advice and solutions that address those needs directly. This provides a proactive approach for legal professionals to adopt the role as trusted advisors to the business who contribute to key decision-making strategies that guide the organization towards achieving its objectives.

Another crucial benefit of aligning legal service request management to business goals is that it fosters stronger collaboration and integration across other departments in the business. Legal professionals can then focus less on being the company defender and instead become part of their organization’s digital journey to further its goals to elevate customer outcomes, values and experiences. When legal teams can openly collaborate with other departments, that is when legal professionals can build stronger relationships across the organization, building trust and positioning themselves as a valuable partner.

Having a defined process for your legal service request management can also provide key legal analytics to measure your department’s success over time. Visibility is a key part in the value of legal service request management as it helps the business understand the status of their requests and track them from request to resolution.  This is particularly great when it comes to demonstrating success to senior management, as it provides them with real, concrete evidence of how successful implementing a streamlined legal service request management system can be for legal.

Case studies and success stories of legal teams delivering business value through LSRM

An example of using legal service request management with software to position the legal department as a strategic business partner can be seen with Woolworths Group, the largest company in Australia with more than 215,000 employees. They had built a service delivery model using intake and triage with online self-service solutions that offers legal advice to stakeholders across their organization. As a result, they were able to exit 50-80% of manual, tedious work from their lawyers, allowing them to spend more time on motivating work and high-value matters. To learn more on how Woolworths group was able to elevate their legal department from a cost center to a valuable business partner, read here.

How Can Legal Teams Get Started with Streamlining their Legal Service Request Management?

Streamlining the legal service request management process can be an empowering journey for legal teams. Not only is it a critical steppingstone to being perceived as a strategic partner, but it also helps lawyers derive value from their day-to-day work. Here are some ways legal teams can begin to approach their current problems with request resolution and how to get started on using legal service request management:

  1. Assess the status of your current processes: Evaluating your current system for resolving legal service requests is a good place to start to identify the main pain points and bottlenecks that exist.
  2. Start defining your process for requesting legal service: Establishing well-defined workflows and guidelines for legal service requests. Clearly communicate expectations, submission formats, required information and turnaround times to requestors. This clarity will help streamline the overall process and can be easily done by creating an intake form which lays out criteria for submitting requests.
  3. Leverage technology solutions to help the legal department: Using technology to build an effective legal service request management system can help the business in a number of ways on how they engage and interact with the legal department.
    1. Leveraging technology can help guide business users on where and how they can make service requests, whether it is through an internal intranet portal or a dedicated channel like a #legal Slack channel. It not only ensures better visibility over requests but provides a way to track the status of requests.
    2. Technology helps legal build a legal front door where business users can access and engage with legal.
    3. It can also help the legal team set up an automated triage for requests, so they are directed to the correct resource/lawyer to resolve the initial request.
    4. Using technology to build effective legal service request management can also assist in automating legal workflows, removing any manual work needed to resolve a request.

For a more in-depth look at how legal teams can determine where to start improving their legal service request management processes, access our Maturity Guide here.

How to measure and demonstrate value through LSRM

  1. Provide key metrics/examples for evaluating the impact of legal teams
  2. Discussing the benefits of having legal departments implement a streamlined process for their legal service request management operations is only a singular factor in demonstrating its value. To measure the outcomes, legal departments may objectively quantify, analyze and report on their performance over time. Here are some of the ways to measure and prove the value of your streamlined legal service request management workflows to position legal departments as a strategic business partner.
    1. Visibility & reporting on requests:
      1. The time it takes to fulfill a legal request
      2. The status of the workflow of the request
      3. Who made the request
      4. Who the workflow is currently with (not necessarily legal - it could be with IT, procurement, finance, etc.)
  3. Report key legal department results
  4. Analyze data for continuous improvement and optimization


The transformation of in-house legal teams from cost centers to strategic business partners is a journey that organizations must embark upon to unlock the full potential of their legal departments. By recognizing the multifaceted value that legal professionals bring and aligning their services with business goals, organizations can use their ability to drive growth, mitigate risks and enhance overall organizational performance. However, this transformation is harder to achieve without the implementation of effective legal service request management.

Legal service request management plays a pivotal role in this journey by serving as the catalyst for transforming the perception of legal departments. By implementing streamlined processes, legal teams can elevate their role within organizations. They can proactively contribute to decision-making, drive growth and ultimately become indispensable strategic business partners. Embracing the power of legal service request management is a crucial step towards unlocking the full potential of legal teams and propelling organizations towards greater success.

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