Eleven more advantages, in terms of management, for large law departments

An early post suggested a number of advantages (See my post of July 5, 2006: large law departments have scale advantages: division of labor, specialization, and investment in technology.). They have streams of similar work so those who do it become more expert (See my post of Sept. 10, 2005 on specialist attorneys in large law departments.). They have the funds to invest in process improvements, knowledge management, software development and licenses.

Somewhat later I extracted posts that together touch on eight more advantages of large departments (See my post of July 29, 2009: aspects of large law departments.). As compared to smaller departments, large ones can support more and different kinds of resources (See my post of March 6, 2007: obtain accreditation for free CLE; March 12, 2006: maintain librarians; Aug. 27, 2005: enjoy the services of dedicated IT staff; Sept. 10, 2005: stock specialist lawyers; May 1, 2006: run internal think tanks; July 25, 2007: explore alternative fee arrangements; March 9, 2009: use slush funds for investments; and May 3, 2008: create internal discovery teams; Nov. 6, 2006: test organizational network analysis; and June 15, 2008: spend seed money for technology ventures.).

Hardly done, I would offer 11 more propositions. As compared to smaller departments, larger ones are more able to:

  1. Take in different practices at a faster pace because they have more flex and resilience (See my post of Aug. 3, 2010: more absorbtive capacity.).

  2. Purchase goods and services at bulk rates because their greater flow gives them more leverage (See my post of Feb. 14, 2007: agreements with vendors for large purchases over time.).

  3. Get better lawyers from firms to work on their matters because of the professional interest of their problems, the ability to bill more, or the prestige of the client (See my post of Aug. 5, 2005: the A Team put on big clients.).

  4. Borrow low- or no-cost lawyers from firms for the reason that large departments have more openings and more clout (See my post of Oct. 13, 2009: opportunities for secondments.).

  5. Put work out for competitive bids since they have larger volume (See my post of Oct. 10, 2008: bigger portfolios are also an argument for convergence.).

  6. Manage knowledge more effectively because they generate a critical mass of users and material (See my post of March 16, 2009: post mortems.).

  7. Assign work horizontally and delegate vertically (See my post of Aug. 24, 2011: delegation compared to assignment.).

  8. Take advantage of more connections since their aggregate personal network is denser (See my post of March 8, 2009: get a leg up from network externalities.).

  9. Pay more because their companies are more flush and so attract and keep better lawyers (See my post of Dec. 6, 2006: richer benefits.).

  10. Implement concept maps because they have more ideas circulating (See my post of Jan. 30, 2011: put conceptual schemas to work.).

  11. Train more clients and train them better because the company is more settled and mature.

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