I posted my first blog on this specific topic in 2012. At that point, I explained a corporate legal departments’ 10 key business objectives to achieved. In 2014, that grew to 12. And more recently in 2015, the number stood at 13. As corporate legal departments continue to change and evolve, particularly with the volume of data and increase … Continue reading The Changing Role of Corporate Legal Departments – Now with 17 Key Business Objectives
With 2016 quickly coming to a close, I have been revisiting my personal and professional resolutions for the New Year. Last year, I focused on the importance of training but this year I’m noticing trends that hail back to 2010. I cannot help but remember when I gave a presentation on “Early Information Assessment [as] … Continue reading Early Information Assessment is the Center of the Corporate Universe
Recently, I was having lunch with a former colleague at a major telecommunications company who is a manager in their corporate legal department. My colleague and I started working together back in 1979 as paralegals for AT&T. It was during the heyday of several antitrust suits being filed against the Bell System. As we were … Continue reading If I Only Knew Then, What I Know Now
According to a recent survey by BTI Consulting Group, general counsel have moved $4 billion in legal spending back in-house citing dissatisfaction with the services they receive from their outside attorneys. In conducting their survey, BTI interviewed 330 chief legal officers and general counsel at Fortune 1000 companies and global companies with an annual revenue … Continue reading 3 Management Impacts of Corporate Legal Departments Taking More Control
I read an article in Corporate Counsel recently (“Why the GC-CFO Relationship is So Crucial“) and it got me thinking about two important aspects of managing corporate legal departments. First, corporate legal departments have a number of key business objectives that it must achieve. Second, some of these objectives are dependent on the ability to … Continue reading The Importance of Stakeholder Management for Corporate Legal Departments
In his article, “People Are What Matter Most In Business,” Bruce Kasanoff states that “without people, every patent in the world would be worthless. People are the ultimate consumers of every product and service, even the most obscure manufacturing technology. Even in business-to-business sales, people make the decisions about what to purchase and when.” As VP … Continue reading What People Can Reveal About Your Business
As I mentioned in my previous two blogs on corporate legal departments, my days inside the legal departments at AT&T and Bell Atlantic helped me realize that there is truly a uniqueness and artistry to being effective in this industry – managers must continually enhance their legal, technology and soft skills across the board.
In thinking back on my own corporate legal department experience with AT&T and Bell Atlantic, and understanding today’s corporate legal department business environment, I have established a list of ten critical skills that corporate legal department management professionals must have to be successful in their roles today.
As you might have read recently in Joe Kanka’s blog, corporate legal departments are unique. In addition to having to manage legal matters, they are business units with their very own missions, goals, objectives and budgets. They cater to multiple stakeholders, work closely with information technology departments and strive for proactive processes. Corporate legal departments need to demonstrate value to their larger organizations, which require them it to constantly consider the business implications of legal issues.
One of the key trends I have been very pleased to see over the past few years is the growing importance of management professionals within corporate legal departments. As someone who has spent 15 years working inside the legal departments of AT&T and Bell Atlantic managing several business and operational functions, I recognize two critical things: