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IBM restructures its legal department to set up global legal delivery centers

An intriguing article in Legal Strat. Rev., Summer 2010 at 14, describes how IBM’s legal team of 500 people has created a “legal delivery center” in Michigan and one in Dublin, Ireland. I can foresee at some time a center in Asia, but the article does not mention that. Each center has “several dozen attorneys.”

As I understand the change, the centers will consolidate virtually the entire range of legal services provided by the law department, thereby achieving greater consistency, control, and productivity. IBM will continue to have counsel based in many countries but the centralization of legal service delivery will alter the allocation of work significantly. For example, contract management – a significant portion of the work of a legal department – will divert to the global delivery centers. In fact, the article mentions that “IBM has hundreds of contract negotiators and support staff around the world” in the legal department – which has 500 members and “hundreds of lawyers” – so the change is massive.

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