Introduction to organizational capital and legal departments

The following quote comes from Stephen Mayson, writing in Laura Empson, ed., Managing The Modern Law Firm: New Challenges New Perspectives (Oxford Univ. Press 2007) at 152.
‘Organizational capital is thus distinct from both human capital (which is embedded in individuals) and social capital (which is embedded in the relationships between individuals).”

“Organizational capital can be regarded as relating to either or both of: (a) the method of delivering legal services (such as teams, knowledge management systems and routines), or (b) the context for that delivery (such as reputation and brand, culture, contracts, structure, and strategy).”

Legal departments similarly possess organizational capital – methods of serving their clients and contexts. Methods include self serve, lawyers co-located with clients, training, Single Points of Contact, templates and many other resources that help a legal department, as a function, advise and counsel its clients.

Context includes how clients feel about in-house lawyers, competition with outside counsel, alignment with clients, client satisfaction strategies, and the ethnographic culture (the “feel”) of the department.

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