The role of a law department administrator as go-between with other staff functions

Aaron Van Nice, Director of Operations for the legal department of Baxter International, will be speaking at Mitratech’s upcoming Interact conference. The conference will take place May 16-19, but I read Van Nice’s bio in the program materials.
Among his many responsibilities, “Mr. Van Nice has primary responsibility for being liaison between other corporate staff (IT, Finance, HR, and Facilities) and the legal department.” That go-between role deserves mention.

Operations Managers in large legal departments (aka Law Department Administrators, Business Managers) have many roles (See my post of Feb.13, 2008 administrators with 21 references.). The plethora of titles intimates their wide range of responsibilities and the breadth of both their backgrounds and influence.

To be the go-between between the legal group and other support groups is a responsibility I have not written about. The larger the company, the more likely it is that other specialized functions support the legal team, whether on human resources issues like evaluations and compensation, or technology issues such as e-mail and PDAs, or facilities concerns such as office relocations and furnishings. Only the very largest legal departments – those over 100 lawyers – can justify the investment of a person on their own headcount to handle such needs. Accordingly, it falls on the business operations head to negotiate and coordinate with those other support functions.

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