Three varieties of “capitals,” as they pertain to legal departments, have appeared on this blog: human capital, social capital and organizational capital.
Human capital has the most accumulation. I devote an entire category to Talent Management but there have also been several references on this blog to the specific term (See my post of May 10, 2006: portfolio view of human capital; May 11, 2007: the first 9 practices; May 28, 2007: final 14 practices; June 10, 2007: leadership; June 11, 2007: employee engagement; June 14, 2007: knowledge accessibility; June 30, 2007: sixth in a series on human capital initiatives; July 29, 2007: human capital management; and March 20, 2008: Human Capital Theory in economics.). Human capital includes personal abilities within law departments that are not intellectual. Humor, multilingual abilities, diversity, emotional intelligence, and doggedness are examples. It’s what humans bring to the table from their backgrounds, personality styles, and genetics.
A subset of human capital is knowledge capital (sometimes referred to as intellectual capital) (See my post of June 25, 2007: “the intelligence, training, mental discipline and experience of the lawyers and others in the department”.).
Social capital consists of relations between people in a legal group. It includes teamwork, longevity, diversity and homogeneity, family friendly (See my post of Aug. 13, 2009: employee satisfaction with 11 references and 8 metaposts.).
Organizational capital I have already touched on so-called organizational capital (See my post of July 29, 2009: introduction to organizational capital; June 25, 2007: “the structure of the law department, its teams and communities of interest, and its reporting lines.”).
In this parade of capitals, we should include another: physical capital. This importantly includes technology, facilities as well as furnishings and layouts of offices and conference rooms.