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Practice groups and a commitment by lawyers to concentrate (Cadbury Schweppes)

The global legal function of Cadbury Schweppes hired 15 new lawyers during the early months of 2007, according to Legal Week, Vol. 9, March 15, 2007, at 4. During that period, the chief legal officer, Hank Udow, created five new practice groups: procurement, competition, emerging markets, food safety, and tax. “Members of the company’s now 80-strong legal team will be asked to specialize in one of the areas, with each team meeting up at least three times a year.” Udow explains later that “Under the new system, all lawyers will spend up to 30% of their time on their chosen specialism.”

The article says that the legal team is already divided into five groups: two regional groups, US beverages, US confectionery, and global intellectual property. The hope is that the new focuses will better leverage the size and scale of the company’s legal group. To help with this the department has implemented a group-wide intranet “to give all members of the legal department access to documents and online practice-centred forums.” I could not figure out from the news item how the legal function will matrix responsibilities between the five specialties and the five groups.

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