Practicing lawyers within a company should report to the general counsel (See my post of May 30, 2005: risk otherwise to attorney-client privilege.). So classically legal functions are clearly in the fold:
1. Contracts (See my post of May 5, 2006: contracts with 15 references.)
2. General legal counsel
3. Intellectual property (See my post of Dec. 31, 2007: intellectual property licensing with 12 references.)
5. Other specialized practices such as employment law, environmental law, antitrust, etc. (See my post of Feb. 19, 2006: HR lawyers not reporting to the law department; May 10, 2006: HR lawyers and reporting; May 5, 2008: specialty lawyers with 30 references.)
6. Management of outside counsel.
According to Hildebrandt’s 2006 Law Department Benchmarking Survey, four functions — other than the traditional law responsibilities noted above — reported to the general counsel in a majority of the participating 201 companies:
1. Compliance (See my post of June 11, 2008: compliance with 33 references.)
2. Corporate Secretary (See my post of Dec. 12, 2007: company secretary with 13 references.) This likely includes corporate governance (See my post of Aug. 17, 2008: corporate governance with 18 references.)
3. Ethics (See my posts of Dec. 22, 2005: ethics with 5 references.)
4. Government Affairs/Relations (See my post of Aug. 21, 2008: government relations and legislation influencing with 6 references.).
It gets a bit wooly with some other functions; some general counsel who manage well, or general counsel in smaller companies, oversee such functions as
1. Environmental health and safety (See my post of March 23, 2007: Raytheon’s Office of the General Counsel; Aug. 5, 2005: a database of EH&S issues;
2. Security (see my post of Feb. 1, 2007: Cummins, and also aviation.).
Outside the flock are the quasi-legal functions and those where creeping legalizations appears (See my post of June 22, 2008: easy to ascribe responsibility to legal department.).
1. Tax is quite commonly outside the fold. (See my post of Dec. 6, 2006: why tax lawyers don’t report to the general counsel.).
2. Employee stock administration (See my post of Sept. 17, 2007: equity stock administration.)
3. Claims (See my post of June 26, 2008: claims management moving to law departments.)
4. Workers compensation (See my post of June 25, 2008: workers’ comp should not be in the law department.)
5. Risk management (obtaining insurance) (See my post of March 23, 2008: risk management with 18 references.).
6. Contract administration
7. Records management.
Dare we extend the metaphor too far and call these the black sheep of the legal-related functions?