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The legalization of various tasks and resulting burdens on law departments

It is all too easy for the law department to don the mantle of responsibilities that have legal elements, but should be handled by others. This creeping legalization applies to such functions as electronic discovery, compliance, risk management, records management, contract administration, equity awards oversight, workers comp, and ethics.

Each of those areas undeniably has laws or regulations that need to be understood and enforced, but the onus of responsibility ought to lie elsewhere than the legal team. To assign responsibilities to the law department that are removed from its core competency – to legalize a function – warps the role and effectiveness of internal lawyers and erodes the obligations of other groups within the company.