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Workshops with key firms to improve how they and your department can work better together [

Ann Page and Richard Trapp, Managing External Legal Resources (ICSA 2007) at 43, describe how Carillion’s legal department holds “improvement workshops – joint workshops with network firms concentrating on improving specific aspects of the way we work together” (italics in original). That is the only mention of the workshops, but it set me to thinking.

Mostly, when law departments invite their primary firms to gather for a conference, the topics have to do with the business of the company, developments in the law, or new procedures to be rolled out by the department. The information flow tends to be one-way (See my post of; Dec. 3, 2005: Wal-Mart used conference to announce diversity efforts; June 19, 2006: another discussion of a law firm gathering; Dec. 10, 2007: suggestions on conferences for firms; Feb. 21, 2008: Sainsbury conference; Sept. 28, 2008: cost cutting discussion at Burger King; and Dec. 14, 2008: Pfizer and diversity initiative.).

Instead, to share ideas about accessibility, knowledge capital, decision making, staffing, joint evaluations of lawyers, collective training, billing issues, and leverage – among the myriad topics that pertain to how firms and departments can coordinate effectively – offers many advantages