Tim's Take

Building Influence Across the Company

Cockpit Counsel

Building Influence Across the Company as a Legal Leader

In this short video, you'll hear Tim's thoughts on how legal leaders can build influence within their company by ensuring their team operates efficiently and communicates effectively. Discover the key strategies to enhance collaboration and drive impactful changes outside the legal team.


Question: What are your tips for building influence across the company as a legal leader?

Answer: First, I think your team has to be operating well. It's not enough for your team to just be doing good legal work. The way the team communicates has to be really strong. The way the team presents itself and is organized needs to be really strong.

I don't know if it's fallen out of favor to say, but, appearances are very important. As a team, as a unit. I think this goes beyond the legal team. This is also your finance team. Basically, any of your support functions. The appearance really is important. Think about it in terms of an HR team. Let's say you have an HR team that is maybe not following some of the office protocols or something like that. You have a lot of credibility that goes away when that happens. So, you have to be able to not only show that you're doing good legal work. You have to show that you're a high-functioning business unit who knows how to operate within that specific business.

All of that comes down to placing equal importance on the way that you communicate with your business holders, the way that you actually organize, distribute, and communicate your legal work. And the way that you actually perform the legal work itself. All of those things are really, important for having a legal team that will allow you to actually influence something outside of the legal team itself.

Now if you're a leader of a legal team that has a really good reputation in the org, then it's a lot easier to go to one of your business stakeholders and say, hey, this is a process that we follow internally in the legal team. I want to talk to you a little bit more about it, and we may be able to provide you some benefit, whether it's increased speed, increased visibility, whatever it may be. Maybe you guys tweak something just a little bit, and let's collectively, you and I, run this experiment and see if we can shorten the sales cycle, or increase visibility, or decrease some of the risks, or get out in front of some of the roadblocks that we have with our customers, or something like that.

It becomes a collaborative exercise. The problem is, if your legal organization is not running really well, and you go to another leader of a function who's actually running well or at least better than your legal team, they're just kind of like, great. Now I have to change things because the legal team can't get it together. Whether that's true or not doesn't really matter. That's the perception. Appearances and perception is important in a service function in a business.

In short, make sure you've got your own team working really well together. Even if there's a little chaos, it's okay. Don't let anyone know. And two, make it a collaborative effort when you try to implement or influence some process outside of your team. Get buy-in from others so that it's not the legal team's idea. It's the legal team and the sales team executive's ideas.


Tim Parilla Headshot
Tim ParillaChief Legal Officer, LinkSquares
Alyssa Verzino headshot
Alyssa VerzinoProducer, Cockpit Counsel, LinkSquares