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A four-year crusade to prove value is delivered by a huge law department (RBS)

Britain’s second-largest bank, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), is in the midst of a four-year effort to prove its 330-strong legal team is worth keeping. The team spends more than $189 million annually around the globe and its group secretary and general counsel, Miller McLean, intends to show they deliver value. All this from the Fin. Times, Aug. 22, 2006 at 5, but nothing more specific on the approach other than that “the drive has been to improve relationships between the lawyers in the business.”

That’s pretty tame stuff. Satisfied clients don’t prove value, although it is the best argument.

The article’s author writes that “Outside law firms have the dual benefits of economies of scale and knowledge of how others deal with similar issues.” The article continues with a quote from Jeffrey Timms, group head of legal at British insurer Legal & General. Timms explains: “The advantage of lawyers being internal is that they are doing it every day, they know their business and its appetite for risk and they should be well attuned to its commercial objectives. External lawyers, however, can bring the invaluable knowledge of how other companies are approaching the same issue, as well as the vast amount of know-how contained within the law firm generally.” Well said, but quantitative proof of value delivered is still MIA.

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