Inside Experts: The Importance of Customer Service for In-House Legal Departments

In-house legal departments-- just like their law firm cousins-- can benefit from focusing on customer service and actively 'soliciting' business from their in-house clients. It is always surprising to me, when I speak to my colleagues in the profession, the sheer number of in-house attorneys that don't see themselves as "service providers" to their 'customers'. For many attorneys it appears that the move from the law firm to the in-house role shifted their mindset away from focusing on delivering customer service. Some may even view the customer service concept as degrading to the legal function. They argue that they are integrated with the business operations, not merely providing 'service' to it. It is true that in-house attorneys are connected to the operations of the business in a way that outside firms rarely manage to achieve. However, legal counsel is by its nature a service-oriented activity regardless of how integrated it may be with the business. Fully embracing the mindset of service provider imposes an important shift towards better customer service. One easy way to help change the mindset is to refer to and always consider your in-house clients as your 'customers.'

You can put more focus on customer service by developing an initiative around it. An outline to create a customer service initiative (whether for departments or individuals) is as follows:

Deputy General Counsel

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Matt Allegrucci

Matt Allegrucci is deputy general counsel, legal affairs at Daiichi Sankyo Inc. He can be reached at

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