Project teams in law departments – Part II – examples of teams

Legal departments have project teams for almost every conceivable task (See my post of Jan. 23, 2008: disaster planning; Jan. 3, 2008: risk management; Dec. 20, 2005: crisis management; Jan. 28, 2008: end-to-end contracts process; and July 3, 2007: morale.).

Teams at specific law departments show up in numerous posts on this blog (See my post of Nov. 22, 2008: Becton Dickinson’s Six Sigma team for IT contracting; Jan. 22, 2008: Caterpillar’s Six Sigma team on pro bono; March 3, 2006: John Deere’s with HR and consultants to review jobs; Nov. 13, 2005: Dow Chemical’s for IP review June 10, 2008: Exelon’s for RFPs; Jan. 4, 2006: Halliburton’s virtual teams; Jan. 30, 2006: cross-functional teams at Independence Blue Cross; April 27, 2008: Kraft team to study litigation holds; May 15, 2005: change management at NLRB; May 19, 2006: Nestle’s project team; Oct. 1, 2006: Sainsbury team to review external spend; and June 15, 2008: Saint-Gobain’s team to select document management software.). Many posts refer to a team formed as part of a Six Sigma process (See my post of Feb. 13, 2008: Six Sigma with 18 references.).

Tools to help law department teams abound (See my post of June 28, 2005: facilitators; Sept. 27, 2005: facilitate important meetings; Jan. 4, 2009: four ways teams can make decisions; Jan. 11, 2009: online tool to diagnose team effectiveness; Jan. 11, 2009: suggestions for better team decision-making; Jan. 6, 2006: social network diversity is very important; June 4, 2008: virtual team-building game; and Feb. 7, 2006: Group Development Questionnaire.).

Many people believe that “when employees work in teams and have the trust and cooperation of their members, they outperform individuals and teams that lack good relationships.” Not everyone agrees as they have discovered limitations on team effectiveness (See my post of Oct. 29, 2007: team members don’t fire themselves; Feb. 18, 2006: teams don’t make decisions effectively; Jan. 28, 2009: groups and teams falter when making decisions; April 27, 2005: seven common causes of team breakdowns; and Aug. 28, 2006: an attack on committees and project teams.). Competition also thwarts effective teams (See my post of Oct. 2, 2008: competitiveness with 29 references.).

We have no lingua franca to describe the degree of teamwork exhibited in a law department without measurement (See my post of Oct. 1, 2005: the Johari window; April 9, 2005: Hartman-Kinsel; April 18, 2005: MBTI; and Oct. 19, 2005: MLE4.) and Dec. 18, 2006: assessment of collaboration.).

Brainstorming is a typical team process (See my post of Dec. 31, 2008: brainstorming with 5 references.) as are meetings (See my post of April 22, 2007: improvements to meetings.).

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