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A brief encounter with some legal processes, and a dubious process

GRC 360˚, Fall 2007 at 6, has a sidebar that briefly lists ten of the many processes its publishers maintain are involved in governance, risk and compliance (GRC). One of the ten is “Legal.” All that the sidebar says is that “Processes typically executed by the general counsel and legal staff such as defining legal strategy, investigations, litigation and assisting with due diligence for mergers and acquisitions.” With examples that broad, everything done by a law department is a process (See my post of April 9, 2008: all aspects of law department management fall under people or processes.).

But I consider “defining legal strategy” as something higher, more unusual, and different. “Processes” are steps of a repeated series of actions that lead to an anticipated outcome (See my posts of April 27, 2006 and June 28, 2006.). “Defining legal strategy” has too many elements, too many vagaries to be called a process. It is creativity and thought, not assembly-line predictability according to a cookbook.

Processes are important in law departments and I have devoted many posts to the concept and to examples. I have collected the germane posts twice (See my posts of Oct. 8, 2006 – 4 posts; and Feb. 6, 2007 – 17 posts.). Since then I have returned to processes five more times (See my posts of Feb. 24, 2008 and June 10, 2008: RFP processes Oct. 31, 2007: competitive bidding processes; Jan. 13, 2008: procurement processes; May 18, 2008: law departments rarely benchmark processes.).