Whereas a project team can be somewhat informal, a committee in a legal department is duly appointed and has more formally structured delegations (See my post of May 13, 2009: 11 committees in Exelon’s law department.). Also, a committee just keeps meeting, with no lifespan determined by completion of its task; if there is a task to be completed, after which the members disperse, most people define the effort as a project team (See my post of Feb. 1, 2009: project teams of law departments with 39 references and 4 metaposts.). Then there is the Milton Berle crack: “a committee is a group that keeps minutes and loses hours.”
Law department committees plan activities, but other people come to them for approval also, such as a social committee (See my post of Jan. 21, 2008: collect, vet and reward ideas; Aug. 3, 2005: prepare mission statement; July 16, 2007: to promote diversity; and Dec. 11, 2008: Pfizer and diversity.). People don’t come to project teams for permission. Both teams and committees suffer from problems with efficiency (See my post of Aug. 28, 2006: attack on committee effectiveness.).