Departments with lawyers spread around the globe confront obvious problems with time zones; someone has to be on the call at midnight while others are munching bagels. Offices of global law departments face language barriers, diverse legal systems, and different ways of actually getting things done. Managers who try to reach the summit of an effectively integrated global law department must climb over each of these.
The steepest slope, however, could be surmounting differences in culture – the divergent roles of lawyers, expectations of clients, training and work style backgrounds, managerial assumptions and all the peaks and valleys of culture. Clocks, accents, and the law find solutions much more easily than the tough climb of culture.