Special Report

Attorneys on Tap: The Changing Role of the Modern Legal Department

Historically, the role of the corporate legal department was to protect the company, including its brand and assets, from business operations and transactions that posed unnecessary risks. In-house attorneys acted as gatekeepers of information, working according to their own processes, with privileged status.However, over time the same pressures imposed upon other departments to deliver increased return on investment year over year eventually were imposed upon Legal. As a result, principles of operational excellence used by other corporate departments, such as the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and Lean Six Sigma, came to be used in Legal. Furthermore, the phenomenon of having in-house counsel who also hold business degrees has become increasingly common. "Like many things today, the role of the legal department has changed," said Scott Giordano, corporate technology counsel at Mitratech. "It used to be it merely had to handle legal matters, and now they're being asked to be part of a company's competitive advantage by producing high-quality, low-cost work."

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