Collective actions by several general counsel is what this post has in mind. They agree to do something jointly and the resulting consortium can out-achieve what any individual department could. Previously, I have assembled 30 posts on this blog that refer to aspects of collective (or potential collective) action by multiple law departments. Having since then accumulated six more, here is the entire set organized by topics.
Technology (See my post of March 27, 2005: AI software; May 20, 2005: joint technology development; Sept. 21, 2005: Cisco and shared development costs for software; Oct. 19, 2005 #3: technology development; Feb. 1, 2011: law departments might combine to develop apps; and Nov. 22, 2011: teaming to develop augmented cognition software.).
Cost control (See my post of July 21, 2005: HR systems; May 13, 2007: League of Minnesota Cities and legal insurance; Feb. 25, 2010: pooling of purchases by smaller legal departments; Oct. 4, 2010: gathering of law departments and law firms to think through reserve setting; and Feb. 21, 2011: possible posting of a cash prize for innovative management ideas.).
Shared interests (See my post of May 24, 2006: patents pooled in a defense alliance; Dec. 28, 2006: patent applications collectively reviewed; Feb. 14, 2007: Corporate E-Discovery Forum; Feb. 26, 2009: conflicts rules among financial companies March 1, 2009: GC groups with 12 references; Aug. 20, 2009: statements signed by groups of general counsel; and Nov. 3, 2010: multi-department amicus briefs in support of cert petitions.). Benchmarking – usually through intermediaries — so that everyone gains comparative insights, is the most common form of collective activity involving law departments
Outside counsel (See my post of June 19, 2006: British local authorities hire external counsel; April 22, 2007: update UTBMS codes; April 15, 2007: Lloyds and legal fees; July 4, 2009: database compiled jointly of diversity firms; Dec. 7, 2009: shared diversity questionnaire for law firms; Nov. 5, 2009: collective assessments by law departments of their firms with 10 references; and Jan. 11, 2010: shared evaluations of law firms.).
Talent (See my post of Nov. 25, 2006: mentoring shared among several law departments; Nov. 18, 2007 #2: minority job fairs; Sept. 21, 2008: diversity teamwork among three law departments; and Aug. 21, 2009: Pro Bono Institute.).
Knowledge management (See my post of Oct. 22, 2005: to check whether client is correct regarding “industry standards” of behavior; March 6, 2007: collective effort by law departments to develop CLE material; May 24, 2007: Allstate shares its CLE programs; March 26, 2009: data pooled offshore for decision analysis; June 21, 2010: reward system for knowledge base contributors; and July 11, 2011: PSL’s as an opportunity for law department collectives.).