Every “new idea” has antecedents, and I generally think that “new” is a figment of journalism – it merely means that some law department practice gets written about and praised as novel, but in fact other law departments had done the same before, at least in part. Even so, I tried to recall some practices that were at least unknown to me when I wrote about them. Here are the ones that came to mind.
Litigation Advisory Board of Baxter (See my post of Aug. 3, 2005.).
The hire-only-partners approach (See my post of Nov. 19, 2005 about USF&G using only partners.).
Drastic reduction in the number of firms used of DuPont (See my post of April 2, 2006 on the Wilmington wave and convergence.).
Joint recruitment (See my post of Dec. 21, 2005 about Orrick Harrington and Lucent Technologies.).
In-house discovery teams (See my post of Feb. 1, 2006.).
National discovery coordinating counsel (See my post on July 16, 2005 about national coordinating counsel.).
Dedicated lawyers to push knowledge management (See my post of June 4, 2007 – Lucent Technologies assigned Preston Granbery to that role back in 1996-7)
Online auctions for legal work (See my post of Oct. 6, 2006.).
Release of the LEDES format for electronic invoicing (See my post of Dec. 2, 2007 about the proliferation of e-billing systems on offer.).
But which law department was the first to send out an RFP, to use electronic billing, to impose guidelines on outside counsel? Even right now, who knows the name of the first law department to use an Indian legal processing company?