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Cisco — the law department most-written about on this blog

Preparing to write something about Cisco, I rummaged through my past posts. Amazed, I found 30 that cite the company’s law department (See my post of June 30, 2006: much publicity about Cisco’s law department.). That is 25 percent more than the references I collected for General Electric (See my post of Nov. 19, 2007: collects 24 posts about GE’s legal department.).

Many posts have to do with techniques of outside-counsel cost control (See my post of Sept. 14, 2005: fixed fees at Cisco; May 26, 2007: multi-year terms of fixed fees; March 9, 2007: competitively bids patent work; Nov. 5, 2007: Cisco and Fenwick & West; Nov. 24, 2007: service level agreements with firms that work on fixed fees; Dec. 5, 2005: virtual law firms; Jan. 6, 2006: “corporate captive” for LPO services; Nov. 5, 2007: cash incentive for a firm to reduce costs; and May 4, 2007: Brad Blickstein and Cisco saving fees of outside counsel.).

The software tools available in Cisco’s legal department are many (See my post of Feb. 6, 2007: document assembly; April 8, 2007: rules-based drafting tools; June 20, 2007: document management system; June 27, 2006: internal law-department blog; June 17, 2008: Cisco’s High Tech Policy Blog; June 27, 2006: portal for its applications; June 16, 2006: online contracts and e-signatures; and Aug. 28, 2008: telepresence rooms.).

Cisco’s general counsel, Mark Chandler, is an outspoken, thoughtful legal manager (See my post of March 8, 2007: Chandler’s thoughts about the plummeting cost of legal information; March 9, 2007: technology is driving down cost of legal services and information; Oct. 26, 2007: distinction between automation and technology; and May 24, 2005: divides work into “business development” or “transactions, litigation and general corporate support.).

Chandler has been eager to explore and promote all kinds of innovation (See my post of Sept. 14, 2005: Cisco’s self-service model; July 21, 2005: collective action with 8 major law departments; March 9, 2007: creation of Legal OnRamp; Dec. 11, 2007: shared with other law departments some of its technology; Sept. 21, 2005: building its own e-discovery “discovery lab”; Nov. 24, 2005: in-house litigation document infrastructure; May 3, 2007: Brad Blickstein on Cisco’s mining of documents; June 4, 2007: knowledge management directors; Nov. 28, 2007: staff structure of 75 in-house attorneys and 37 non-lawyers; and March 26, 2008: knowledge management systems and technology.).