Hallmarks of the Modern Law Department

Law departments should pay as much attention to their impact as to their cost. That’s the upshot of the 2019 State of Corporate Law Departments report from Acritas and Thomson Reuters’s Legal Executive Institute. Developed in collaboration with CLOC and IDA, the report prods in-house counsel to think and behave differently. “Today’s legal problems are dynamic and wide-ranging, and the solutions require a highly diverse set of skills and capabilities,” the report says. “Teams of lawyers alone are no longer enough to solve problems in optimal ways.” To that end, the report identifies five “improvement levers” law departments can use to elevate their performance and enhance their impact: create high-performing teams with diverse skill sets; develop professional project management skills; build collaborative partnerships with external legal suppliers; enhance gender diversity to enhance the quality of the legal function; and create an environment to stimulate successful innovation. Corporate law departments face complex challenges in 2019 and are under growing pressure to demonstrate clear contribution to shareholder value, the report concludes. The law departments most successful in delivering on this will be those that relentlessly focus on forward momentum in four key areas as shown below: