Here’s an unorthodox method to take the pulse of your law department during the pandemic. Figure out a way for members of the department to be able to contribute (text, Slack, email, hard-copy …) comments or complaints about whatever they want – but in a way that makes them very comfortable that their comments will be kept anonymous. Many companies have hotlines for complaints and whistleblower actions, so they have the technology that protects people from disclosure. Perhaps the explanation to the department’s members would be that they can use the hotline but put in the subject law department comment.
To get this initiative off the ground, the General Counsel should announce every other week or month how many comments came and say something about addressing them. The summary might be an abbreviated form of whatever was said or even quoting from the message. Once people learn of this avenue for expressing themselves confidentially, it will likely result in some insightful suggestions or criticisms.
We can imagine that a GC might feel uncomfortable setting up a system where secrecy is so valued. It’s like saying, “My people don’t want to tell me truths to my face.” But in a time of stress as now, any mechanisms that can be deployed to hear from the troops has value.