How to identify pockets of non-users of your law department

Senior lawyers in law departments understand that within the company they have some friends, some neutrals, and some foes. Friends respect them and use them properly, neutrals need some nudging and education to learn when to come to the law department, but foes stay away. Those non-users raise legal risks for the corporation. The assumption here is that the need for legal services is fairly uniformly distributed among similar business functions. If three comparable functions each keep busy approximately a full-time equivalent lawyer, but a fourth function never calls the law department, something is amiss.

One way for a law department to identify recalcitrant executives is to track and analyze the pattern of matters worked on according to their source (See my posts of April 17, 2006 on matter management systems.). If you overlay the pattern with senior executives, it usually apparent that some area is generating less legal work than its function would otherwise suggest. Once the department identifies those who are reluctant or refuse to use lawyers, other measures can come into play (See my posts of July 14, 2005 and Dec. 19, 2005 on methods of training clients; Dec. 20, 2005 on training clients how to get the most from law departments; and June 28, 2006 on client training possibly increasing workload.). Failing education, there remains jawboning and coercion.

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