Of course, almost all requests for services from the law department come from clients, but there are certain client groups that have a strong flavoring of law. The claims department, for example, or contracts administration, or environmental audit. Others of these groups – can we call them as “pre-law groups?” – include export/import functions, those who review marketing materials, and compliance professionals. With each of these, knowledge of the applicable law and applying established principles define much of what they do.
If the pre-law groups do their jobs poorly, the lawyers bear the brunt of cleaning up or even counseling in the first-instance. Ideally, the pre-law groups handle well everything within their expected competence, and the lawyers step in for the exceptional and the difficult. Ideally.