The Legal Department

After nearly a decade inside corporate legal departments, I have generated a few opinions about how they should be organized and run.  I hope to use this weblog to discuss some of those conclusions.  I’m going to begin by discussing what I believe are the three categories of services that a corporate legal group performs for the company.   These are the Three C’s, compliance, contracting and consulting.

First, a forewarning.  I fully admit that I, like most of my brethern, love to pidgeon hole.  My choice of the Three C’s as the buckets into which I place all of our work is artificial and at times forced.  In order to keep the buckets to three, and in order to achieve alliterative beauty, I chose them. They are meant to collectively include everything a corporate legal department does.  An impossiblity given the variety and complexity of work we do.  So, inevitably, some shoe-horning and fudging needs to occur.  In the end, it is not important that the categories work perfectly well.  What is important is that we have some way of talking about our work.  Second, as you will see, overlap is great.  One activity, such as negotiating a contract for a client, may include all elements of all of the Three C’s.  Again, it is not important that the lines be absolutely crisp.  All I hope to do is explain what I believe is a helpful management paradigm.

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