Law department activities as priorities, programs, projects and practices – Part II, programs

Having introduced priorities (See my post of Nov. 19, 2008: priorities.), here I turn to programs.

Programs are a law department’s repeated sets of activities that have defined objectives and similar steps done time after time. Programs, therefore, include evaluations of lawyers, client satisfaction surveys, monthly reports, quarterly budget updates, compensation decisions every year, and the bi-annual conference of the law department.

Some corollaries of programs stand out.

Programs can become rigid and no longer serve a useful purpose in relation to the time they demand.

Programs need constant nurturing because they impose on people’s work time.

Programs flow most smoothly when staff attend to the administrative mechanics.

Some programs are imposed by the corporation such as green movements and diversity.

The essence of management, to many general counsel, is embodied in the programs they champion.

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