Another instance of a group outside the law department which handles what are arguably legal issues is Industrial Relations. In some companies with unions, Industrial Relations handles labor grievances internally. This is similar to Insurance or Risk Management if it handles worker’s comp claims (See my post of April 23, 2006 on claims to litigation metrics.) and Human Resources if it prepares responses to EEOC charges (See my post of May 10, 2006 about Williams-Sonoma.). An EH&S function might respond to EPA requests and site visits.
Each group develops expertise in the apposite legal issues and turns to the law department only for serious or novel legal problems. The scope and responsibility of the legal function, in the abstract and stated absolutely, cannot be precisely pinned down or defined as a best practice.