Survey your legal department for ideas on integration of corporate and business unit lawyers

Sabine Chalmers, the chief legal officer of InBev, the world’s largest beer company by volume, has written a series of thoughtful columns for the ACC Docket. Her latest, Nov. 2007 at 10, treats the topic of law departments that have a corporate group as well as decentralized business groups of lawyers.

One of her four suggestions to bridge the divide is to survey members of the legal team to learn their views on areas of focus and effective ways of working together. Chalmers suggests that “Questions could cover:

• The respective roles of the corporate and business unit lawyers;
• Practice areas which the function as a whole believes benefit from centralization and/or decentralization;
• Ways to improve best practice sharing and efficiency; and
• Ideas for improving communication and eliminating bureaucracy.”

Along with the ideas gathered this way from members of the legal function, for integrative ideas a law department might consider communities of practice and solid line reporting of all practicing lawyers to the CLO.

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