Much can be said about lawyers in companies who concentrate on an area of law. Legal specialists are the lawyer’s lawyer for the commercial lawyers who spot legal issues and handle a wide array of needs for a business unit (See my post of Nov. 13, 2006: what business generalists do and what specialty lawyers do; Nov. 20, 2006: lawyers who combine business responsibility and a specialty; and with May 21, 2006: functional generalists and legal specialists create checks and balances.).
Legal specialists play an important role in law departments (See my posts of Sept. 10, 2005 and July, 31, 2005: specialist attorneys in large law departments; June 20, 2007: specialization of in-house lawyers; Nov. 30, 2005: specialty lawyers and references cited; Nov. 15, 2005: assigning lawyers to specific areas of expertise; Dec. 17, 2006: major and minor – specialty – responsibilities of some lawyers.).
How lawyers in the department are structured to handle the flow of legal work, such as by legal specialty or by operating unit is a recurring topic for general counsel (See my posts of May 14, 2006 and references cited; May 1, 2005: should specialists handle lawsuits that arise from their work; and Aug. 5, 2005: who should manage litigation.).
Costs associated with specialist attorneys appear on this blog (See my posts of April 8, 2007: compensation differences; May 23, 2007: specialists can’t get bonuses based on business unit performance; March 20, 2008: correlation to importance for company; Nov. 8, 2005: paradox of specialists who use more outside counsel; and April 26, 2006: invoice approval levels should vary by specialty.).
Knowledge sharing by specialists has shown up at times (See my posts of Sept. 10, 2005: communities of interest and practice groups; and Jan. 26, 2006: specialization of in-house counsel renders much CLE too basic.).
Most of the blog posts relate to specialists and structure (See my posts of July 31, 2005: co-locating specialist lawyers with business unit lawyers; March 6, 2006: dual-track specialists; April 13, 2006: rotations of lawyers from specialist to generalist at Philips; July 30, 2005: dual reporting of specialist lawyers; March 28, 2006: specialist silos broken up at PPG; March 23, 2007: shared service specialists at Raytheon; Aug. 2, 2006: two-thirds of Qualcomm lawyers are specialists; Feb. 9, 2006: rule of thumb of one specialist for every two generalists; May 16, 2006: even split at Saint Gobain; March 2, 2008: spin-offs often need to add specialist lawyers: and Oct. 1, 2006: Sainsbury and “legal specialisms.”).