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Subtle advantages of a geographically decentralized law department

A panelist at a conference where I recently spoke mentioned three arguments in favor of her company’s geographically dispersed law department. With a trio of far-flung locations, the lead lawyers have discovered that it is easier to recruit when drawing on the labor pool of three different locations. While it might be hard to bring someone to a one location, an office in a major metropolitan offers more to choose from.

The second advantage, she said, involves business continuity. Were a disaster to befall one location, much of the legal work could continue from the other two locations (See my post of Aug. 28, 2006 on crisis planning.). And third, since the lawyers in each city encounter partners from local law firms, the law department as a whole can choose external talent from a larger watershed (See my post of Nov. 25, 2005 on geographic decentralization and structure; May 5, 2006 on Convergys and its three lawyer locations; and Nov. 13, 2006 on co-location of lawyers with clients.).

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