Published on:

The wide swath “intangible assets” cut in a law department, or Das Capital

A footnote in the MIT Sloan Mgt. Rev., Fall 2006 at 89, n.1 set me thinking. “The terms intangible assets or intangibles refer to any nonphysical assets that can produce economic benefits. They cover broad concepts such as intellectual capital, knowledge assets, human capital and organizational capital …” Consider these my reMarx on Engels that occur of Das Capitals.

Intellectual capital in a law departments consists of the intelligence, training, mental discipline and experience of the lawyers and others in the department (See my post of . It’s what’s in people’s heads.

Knowledge assets in a law department include datases, guidelines, form documents, how-to’s, books, precedent files, intranets, and other forms in which knowledge is stored. The forms are tangible but what they capture is intangible. It’s what’s available from people’s desks.

Human capital are 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.

Organizational capital includes the structure of the law department, its teams and communities of interest, and its reporting lines (See my post of Sept. 10, 2005 on practice groups and communities of interest.).