Eve A. Konstan, Executive Vice President & General Counsel of Home Box Office, Inc., recently shared her views with Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law The Journal: Transactions & Business (PLJ) on how to measure legal department success and what advice she would offer to a prospective General Counsel.
PLJ: How do you measure and improve productivity and success within the law department?
Konstan: We measure our success, in the first instance, through feedback from other departments. If we are not exceeding their expectations in how we are providing legal support, we are not successful, despite what any formal metrics might indicate. I regularly check in with the stakeholders to ensure that we are doing everything we can to deliver world-class legal service. Our business people will certainly let me know if we are not meeting their expectations. Thankfully, that does not happen very often. We also consider other, more objective measures, such as the number of deals concluded, litigations and claims resolved, and of course performance against our budget.
PLJ: How do you align the incentives of external law firms with the objectives of the law department?
Konstan: A key step is to develop deep, long-lasting relationships with external firms so that both the firms and the legal department understand that there is more at stake than simply the outcome of a single assignment.
PLJ: What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Konstan: Focus on the role that you have, and exceed expectations in every aspect of it. Too often, people are thinking about a role they would like to have, rather than focusing on what they should be doing today. Being forward-thinking is an important part of career planning, but it should not interfere with ensuring excellent execution in your current role. Success breeds success, while lack of focus, even on small tasks, can derail it. The most successful people I know have excelled at every position throughout their careers.
PLJ: What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective General Counsel?
Konstan: Make sure you have the right people in the right roles within the legal department. This will allow you to take on additional responsibilities and broaden your areas of expertise, which is critical to becoming a General Counsel.
Read the full interview in PLJ’s May/June issue.