Let’s define three kinds of foci for inside lawyers: SPOC, specialist, and majors/minors.
A Single Point of Contact is a lawyer whom clients in a line of business or staff group can call if they do not know which other lawyer to call. A SPOC is like a relationship partner at a law firm (See my post of Oct. 14, 2005: SPOCs; March 23, 2006: SPOCs at PPG Industries; and March 17, 2006: four disadvantages; March 31, 2007: survey data and analysis; Nov. 8, 2007: a way to align with clients; Nov. 16, 2008: international SPOC assignments; and Dec. 7, 2008: BAE Systems*6.).
A specialist lawyer handles all the work for a substantive legal area, such as litigation, employment, collective bargaining, environmental, or patent (See my post of May 5, 2008: specialty lawyers with 30 references.). Law schools teach specialty law.
A majors/minors arrangement means that lawyers who are assigned to support a line of business also keep up on some specialty area on behalf of the entire department (See my post of Dec. 21, 2005: Ascential Software; Nov. 11, 2005: assign lawyers to specific areas; Dec. 7, 2006: RadioOne; and Nov. 20, 2006: FMC Technology.).