General counsel and other managers in legal departments designate project teams for almost every conceivable task I define a “project team” as a group of people charged to accomplish a task in a timeframe and then to disband.
Beyond that goal, teams in law departments serve purposes other than the accomplishment of a task. For example, they help weaken silos as they mix team members together (See my post of March 22, 2006: solutions to silos; and March 28, 2006: PPG’s efforts to break down silos.). Team leadership can help a lawyer progress (See my post of Jan. 30, 2006: career development through leading teams.).
This first of two posts on project teams in law departments narrows the scope of the term (See my post of Feb. 1, 2009: the ubiquity of project teams in law departments.). The term “team” has many uses. Let me start with several uses of the word “team” that are not aspects of internal “project teams.”
“The legal team” means the entire law department and is common in Europe (See my post of April 16, 2007: Dreyers’ general counsel uses it; and Dec. 17, 2006: synonyms for “department”.).
A “practice group team” or “community of interest” is an ongoing activity of lawyers in a law department who face common legal issues (See my post of Sept. 10, 2005: COE, center of excellence.).
“Management team” means the direct reports to the general counsel.
“Team player” as client satisfaction surveys express that concept (See my post of Feb. 10, 2007: client survey about cooperativeness.) means someone’s ability to get along well with co-workers.
“Core teams” of law firms (See my post of Aug. 8, 2006: core staff with 6 references.).