In the glare of downsizing, law departments debate letting go their own staff who analyze budgets, handle the procedures of compensation and promotions, or support the hardware and software in the department. Relying instead on the Finance, Human Resources, and Information Technology departments sounds attractive when heads are being counted. The trouble is, when you do not control a person dedicated to your group you lose expertise and commitment. Worse, supporting a staff group often does not appeal to the career ambitions of the best staff people in those departments. They want to be where there are profit centers, not costs centers. That means turnover in the support you get from a staff group.
One innovative way to address some of this might be to turn to one or more of your key outside counsel. They can assist especially well with your IT needs, and they will care about pleasing you. They understand lawyers and they understand legal technology. Many firms, like Foley & Lardner and Reed Smith, pride themselves on their practice technology strength.