Annual “State of the Law Department” Report

A recommended, pragmatic practice for an in-house legal department is for it to publish a yearly summary of achievements. Quantitative proof of your department’s value may not be possible — see my post earlier today on quantifying revenue gained and saved through the efforts of lawyers, yet surely there were major matters where the lawyers devoted much of their time. Just as likely there were some metrics that show the department had its hand on the throttle, such as that total legal spending as a percentage of revenue stayed flat. The department probably made some changes: a promotion, a shift in reporting, a new hire for patent work, all of which the annual report should highlight.

Marketing may be anathema to general counsel, but an insightful presentation on your major activities and contributions helps not only the senior executives appreciate the department but also helps the department focus on its core competencies and value delivered. CEOs don’t hum the tunes of unsung heroes.

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