“The best ideas and theories for running legal teams are found outside of law.” This is the view of Jason Ryan and Gavin Davis who have together founded Engo.
In a first for Adelaide, South Australia’s newest law firm, Engo has opened its doors and its point of difference is specialising in legal efficiency.
In a market where all businesses are looking to tighten their belts, cost-cutting efforts rarely focus on in-house legal teams, even though in many instances they are one of the largest expenses.
Senior and highly qualified lawyers, Jason Ryan and Gavin Davis have combined their legal operations experience with a range of theories from outside law to establish an offering designed to ensure in-house legal teams are more efficient.
Mr Ryan said: “Other departments such as finance, IT and marketing have been employing this kind of thinking for a long time—and now we’re helping in-house legal teams to catch up.
Engo is a specialist legal operations provider that brings innovation to in-house law. The firm allows legal teams to focus on the kind of work that matters most – being strategic and game changing work.
Mr Ryan said: “A local, legal practice with this as its vision and mission has not existed in Adelaide until now.”
After working for many years as in-house lawyers and at the forefront of legal operations, Mr Ryan and Mr Davis realised that the best ideas and theories for running legal teams are found outside of law.
For example, they have reinvented the most prominent efficiency theory from manufacturing, which is Lean Six Sigma, by applying it to legal services in a bid to eliminate waste. Their data shows that organisations spend too much time writing and negotiating contracts, in some cases by more than 50%.
Mr Ryan said: “We know legal operations inside-out and we bring fresh thinking from the outside-in.
“At Engo we use theories from other disciplines to implement smarter, leaner ways of working for in-house legal teams.”
Engo has researched other principles from outside of law to develop practical solutions for in-house legal teams to deliver advice faster in a much more effective way.
Mr Davis said: “We have created over twenty separate methodologies that give a high-performance boost to legal teams of all sizes,”
A recent working example of their methodology involved an ASX100 in-house legal team that was told to reduce costs even while the workload was increasing. Hiring extra lawyers was not an option. Engo identified an opportunity to simplify the procurement and contracting approach by reengineering the way everything was bought, negotiated, contracted and approved so it was much faster. This generated a 70% reduction in negotiation hours being $5.38m savings per year and freed-up 20-30% in legal resources.
Mr Davis said: “Making a legal team more efficient makes the entire organisation more money.”
The duo knew there was a better way, so set about studying a range of theories such as efficiency, process improvement, problem solving, tirage, mission analysis, prioritisation, and the power of metrics and data.
Mr Davis said, “We eradicate the unnecessary – there are many unnecessary steps that in-house lawyers take because that is the way it has always been done.
“When a legal team becomes overworked it may make sense to throw more people at the problem (especially during large projects or litigation) and other times it will make more sense to save huge amounts of time and money, to fine tune the legal advice process itself.
“Engo offers both”.
Engo will assist all sorts of organisations to enhance the way their legal operations are structured and managed. This extends to all industries including large teams from ASX-listed mining and manufacturing companies, to one-person government regulator teams.
Mr Davis said: “We are all for spreading the word about legal operations and helping other in-house lawyers re-imagine their working lives, saving money and becoming more efficient.”
We are excited to be at the cutting edge of a movement that is helping all sorts of organisations become more efficient and effective.”
Learn more at https://engo.co/