Editor:What are the characteristics of an effective staffing strategy to allow corporate counsel to deliver cost-effective legal services?
Volkert: Assembling a team of attorneys and other legal professionals to manage a large corporate initiative has long been an effective way to dedicate the precise blend of talent and resources required for a project. Teams can consist of internal employees within the legal department or a mix of staff supplemented by outside experts with the skills and experience needed for the project. A project team composed of both full-time and contract attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries and additional support staff allows participants to bring all of their strengths together to address the special needs of complex legal matters.By integrating a mix of professionals carefully selected for their knowledge and skills, these teams can complete a greater number of assignments in less time with more flexibility than is possible for core staff alone.
This scenario affords corporate counsel greater flexibility in the types of projects and cases they can assume on behalf of the organization.
Editor:How can corporate counsel benchmark their staffing to ensure that there are no gaps in coverage of critical legal functions?
Volkert: Once a case or project is underway, maintaining good communication is critical to preventing misunderstandings or confusion and important for staying on task. Project teams work more effectively when their assignments, goals and deadlines are adequately spelled out. To ensure there are no gaps in the coverage of critical legal functions, a thorough project staffing plan should address these questions:
• What is the timetable for completing the project?
• What are the members' tasks and areas of expertise?
• How will the team operate? Will it act as a semiautonomous unit with managing attorney oversight, or will it overlap with the activities of full-time employees who are not part of the group?
• How will communication be handled? Who will serve as liaison between the project team and in-house attorneys?
• What personnel and technical support are available in-house? If these are not sufficient, where will the team members obtain the necessary support?
• Who will supervise the project and monitor the group's progress?
For more information, please contact Lisa M. Hamilton , Public Relations Director, Robert Half International Inc., at firstname.lastname@example.org .