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Guidelines as compared to practices and policies

Most of what takes place in a law department would not be handled any better if the activities were codified. A small number of repetitive processes, however, such as how to handle subpoenas or to take care of options that are exercised by senior executives, might be done better – and certainly become easier to train – if the law department studies the processes and creates guidelines.

Guidelines are heuristics that help people who are part of a process, but the codification need not be as formalized as a policy statement. Law departments accumulate many guidelines: how to complete expense reports, what steps to take to order subscriptions, what to do if the department wants to add another law firm to its provider list; checks on the accuracy of Board books, and on and on.

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