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MetLife’s summary of legal accomplishments by its Legal Affairs group

MetLife has published a handsome Annual Review 2007, which includes in its 33 pages one on its Legal Affairs group. Every activity described in the section marks a contribution by Legal Affairs of “critical support and guidance that enhanced MetLife’s corporate structure and investments, delivered innovative products to the market, and expanded compliance programs that protect the company.”

Terminology and orientation are important for legal teams. The MetLife summary always refers to “business partners.” The lawyers of Legal Affairs don’t advise clients, they pitch in shoulder to shoulder with their business partners (See my post of Oct. 8, 2007: banish the word “client”.).

Productivity metrics count at MetLife. The summary proudly notes that in 2007, “Legal Affairs supported capital-raising activities in excess of $12 billion and was instrumental in the formation of new entities.” Where possible, an impressive scorecard for a law department should detail quantified contributions (See my post of Feb. 25, 2008: practice area benchmarks with 24 references.).

Cost control accomplishments likewise deserve praise. MetLife’s legal team helped deregister Metropolitan Life Insurance Company as a broker-dealer, which “significantly reduces enterprise costs and regulatory exposure.”

The summary also highlights industry involvements of Legal Affairs. For example, the summary mentions that Legal Affairs personnel were a “primary force in an investment industry effort to draft model covenants that better protect public bond investors.” This effort is not pro bono, nor is it lobbying. It is standards development for the lawyers in an industry.

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