Updates and advice for attorneys and law departments.

Aligning Law Department Organizational Structure

What do legal departments and your car’s suspension have in common?

While this sounds like the setup for a joke, the answer is serious: neither one works optimally unless it is carefully aligned.  To align your vehicle’s suspension, you call on a mechanic; to align your law department’s organizational structure, you take a close look not only at your department’s current structure and goals, but also how its work fits within the structure of the company as a whole.

Alignment for peak performance depends on a number of factors.  To start off an alignment project, ask the following questions:

  • How would we describe our organizational structure?
    Do attorneys and support staff report to a centralized source, or is accountability distributed in a decentralized fashion?  Is the department focused in the same geographic site or area, or throughout a region, country, or the world?
  • How does our culture support our goals?
    Legal departments must provide efficient, accurate, and consistent advice and services for the companies they serve.  A culture of communication and teamwork helps the organization align its work with its goals.
  • How do clients contact us?  Can they do so efficiently?  How do we serve them?
    A legal department whose clients cannot reach the right person when they need to is failing to offer its services at peak performance. Reach out to clients to determine how well services are being provided and how accessible clients find the department to be.
  • How well do our leadership and management serve our department?
    Most attorneys would rather practice law than lead or manage others, yet strong leadership and management is crucial in any legal department.  Make sure leadership and management duties are assigned to the right people and that the department has neither too many leaders nor too few.
  • How is our relationship with outside service providers?
    Many of the significant costs a legal department faces are associated with the use of outside counsel and other outside service providers.  Take a hard look at these relationships and the value they offer the department. Don’t hesitate to talk to your staffing partner for help with cost-efficient staffing.

At Assigned Counsel, our experienced staffing partners can help you find talent whose skills, goals, and work styles align with your legal department’s organizational structure and its needs, improving your performance and productivity.  Contact us today to learn more.

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