Legal Department Best Practices

Proven Legal Department Leading Practices to Adopt

  • Best Practices (#142) / Legal / Legal Administrative Support

    Best Practice (Good)
    Utilize document management systems (DMS) that include optical character recognition (OCR). The ability to include metadata for documents will allow employees to search by keyword which can decrease the amount of time needed to find certain documents.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Use document management systems (DMS) without the ability to capture metadata.
    Benefits: The amount of time to find certain documents will be reduced. Employees will be able to focus on actually reading the documents instead of spending time searching.
  • Best Practices (#143) / Legal / Legal Administrative Support

    Best Practice (Good)
    Create a standardized method to assess outside counsel, taking into account prior similar cases, subject matter expertise, references, publications, etc. Store all assessment reports in a database for future reference.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Select outside counsel based on individual opinion and the ‘gut-feeling’ of Corporate Legal Department employees.
    Benefits: Allows for ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison of outside counsel and provides an easily accessible reference for future outside counsel selection.
  • Best Practices (#144) / Legal / Litigation Management

    Best Practice (Good)
    Assign litigation cases to either inside litigators or outside counsel based on established criteria such as risk level, compensatory value, level of government or regulatory involvement, etc.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Distribute cases based on attorney and support staff availability and individual litigator competency.
    Benefits: Standardizes litigator selection process and frees up skilled inside attorneys and support staff to work on high-value litigation activities.
  • Best Practices (#145) / Legal / Litigation Management

    Best Practice (Good)
    Establish a process before you need it. Start with a case assessment, then create a road map of where the case is going and have all stakeholders agree on a strategy.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Create processes for each litigation case on an ad hoc basis, using a notable amount of work hours customizing the approach to each case assessment.
    Benefits: Standardizes the litigation management process. If you have the litigation management workflow in place, handling a class action or major catastrophe litigation is all a matter of scale.
  • Best Practices (#146) / Legal / Corporate Governance

    Best Practice (Good)
    Create a stakeholder decision making model that aligns business goals across different groups of stakeholders. Appropriate checks and blanaces will be created that prevent one group of stakeholders from holding too much power.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Business goals are often aligned according to each group of stakeholders' interests. Goals are not aligned with respect to the overall company.
    Benefits: The company will not be under the control of one group. Stakeholders will be forced to hold each other accountable instead of solely placing the blame on one group.
  • Best Practices (#147) / Legal / Corporate Governance

    Best Practice (Good)
    Allow business unit leaders to participate in the drafting and distribution of compliance policies.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Develop all compliance policies within the Corporate Governance Group without soliciting feedback or suggestions from business unit leaders.
    Benefits: Ensures that policies align with business unit strategies and operations. Also improves the likelihood of effective compliance with new policies and procedures.
  • Best Practices (#148) / Legal / Mergers & Acquisitions

    Best Practice (Good)
    Involve the HR function even before due diligence begins. The HR team will need to over-communicate the effects the merger / acquisition to all employees of both companies so employees are aware of what is going on.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Allow excitement to spread those making the merger or acquisition deal. Notify the HR function at a later date.
    Benefits: Employees will be aware of the current status of the merger / acquisition. With the HR team being involved, any employee concerns can be answered quickly and efficiently without creating panic and fire drills.
  • Best Practices (#149) / Legal / Intellectual Property

    Best Practice (Good)
    Store all sensitive, project-specific information compartmentally. Allow only IP staff working on that particular project to access the related files.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Store all sensitive intellectual property (IP) information in a centralized location and allow all IP employees to access the information.
    Benefits: Reduces risk related to information leakage, especially for employees who might depart to join a competitor or start their own company.

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