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A law department with a “double solid line matrix reporting system” (TIAA-CREF)

At the ACC 2004 Annual Meeting (Course 611), a Division General Counsel for TIAA-CREF, a major financial services company, deciphered this reporting mouthful. The three Division General Counsel who support business groups report solid line to both the general counsel of the company and to the leader of their business group. The corporate Division Counsel has a double solid line report also, to the general counsel and to the company’s CFO. The matrix comes from the double reporting.

In the end, there must be some distinction between the two reporting lines. Both people cannot be expected to decide compensation, titles, job responsibilities, rotations, relocations, and other matters of the lawyers co-reporting to them. Perhaps the client solid line intends to say that the lawyers take their principal work direction from the client, thus tightening alignment. (But see the privilege risk of lawyers reporting to non-lawyers, in my post of May 30, 2005; also my posts of July 11 on AXA and decentralized reporting and July 30, 2005 on dual reporting of specialist lawyers.)

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