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Upscale research into how large companies purchase corporate legal services

The Program on the Legal Profession, based at Harvard Law School, is collaborating with the American Bar Foundation (ABF) on a project to examine the processes by which the legal departments of large corporations go about finding, selecting, and evaluating outside counsel. The project’s approach is to use in-depth interviews with general counsel of Fortune 500 companies, publicly available data, and a survey of general counsel to develop, in the words of the ABF’s 2007 Annual Report at 39, “the first systematic examination of the structure of purchasing of corporate legal services.”

I applaud academic thinking applied to the management issues of corporate law departments, because there has been too little of it (See my posts of July 4, 2006: empirical law department research; Oct. 23, 2005: the dearth of academic, empirical research; and May 5, 2006 – academics who care about law departments.). Mostly I hope that the findings of the project bring fresh perspectives and insights.

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