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Management concepts that are important to those who lead in law departments (Part 4 of a series)

Two conclusions have clarified for me as I have tussled once again with a conceptual structure for what goes on in law departments. My previous forays have resulted in a farrago of ideas and terms swirling around concepts, toolboxes, processes, methods, and tools.

It now seems to me that a set of three almost always applies: a cognitive category (a management concept), a set of related actions (a management process), and aids to accomplish those actions (management tools). Perhaps no longer do I need my constructs of “concept toolboxes” or “methods.”

Secondly, digging deeper, a part of speech applies to each set of three, which I will illustrate with one set of three: cost control – a noun form – means the concept; controlling outside costs – a verbal, gerundive form – means the process; and budget – an adverb applying to the verb – means one of the tools. This is a loose and creative metaphor but it may have usefulness.

Finally, I would nominate the following concepts to be important to general counsel and others in legal departments who have a significant hand in running it: engagement, emotional intelligence, ergonomics, focus groups, infographics, network, public relations (marketing), project management, Six Sigma and TQM, and transparency. I add these to the concepts discussed previously (See my post of Feb. 1, 2009: ten most important concepts; April 5, 2009: a second set of ten; April 22, 2009: 17 more important concepts; and Jan 3, 2011: accountability, competency, competition, expectations (perceptions), diminishing returns, experience curve, power, satisfaction, scope of responsibility, and trade-offs.).