The value of clear lines between what business unit lawyers do and what corporate specialists do

Where a law department assigns some lawyers to be responsible for the primary legal needs of a particular business unit (See my post of Oct. 14, 2005 on single points of contact.) and assigns the rest to handle specialized areas of law, it helps to clearly draw the lines of responsibility between the business generalists and the corporate specialists.

Carillion, an $8 billion British company, has about a score of lawyers, of which the business unit generalists are often co-located with business unit they advise. According to Richard Tapp, group company secretary and general counsel, in Law Dept. Quarterly, Vol. 2, Sept. /Nov. 2006 at 39 the business lawyers and the specialists know their respective roles: “For example, the legal team has a specific remit to handle construction law, services or facilities management and finance issues, while corporate and competition issues are dealt with centrally by the general counsel’s office.”

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