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Are mission statements a mission impossible?

Law departments everywhere have crafted mission statements, but I question their value.  I agree that the process makes sense of thinking about a law department’s core competencies and how it should strive to best serve its company, but the outcomes usually reek of banality. 

“Our department will deliver world-class legal services, cost effectively and with devout customer orientation while developing the diverse talents of our members and providing them with unparalleled career opportunities.”  So easy to write, but so hard to know whether the high-sounding creeds make any difference at all.  Cost, quality, productivity, and people are mantras in mission statements. 

I simply do not see in my consulting practice how a department’s mission statement changes how people behave.  I would welcome hearing from readers about their department’s mission statement and how it has made a practical difference in their work lives.

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