10 October 2012 at 10:06 BST

Client training

Routine matters that do not necessarily require the input of legal departments could be handled more efficiently by business clients through training, a panel of in-house lawyers has suggested.

Does everyone understand ?

'You need to define what is a legal issue versus what is a business issue,’ said Amita Kent, regional lead counsel with Merck Canada in Montreal, reports the Canadian Lawyer magazine.

Strategic matters

The suggestion was made at the Association of Corporate Counsel’s annual meeting, where tips were offered to business clients so they can spend more time on more strategic matters.
Marcy Hingst, assistant general counsel with Bank of America, said that perhaps the most important factor is making sure that everyone knows the company’s overall business strategy, Once this is established, the legal department can focus its efforts on serving the business units that are pushing strategic objectives forward and be able to react to higher risk issues.

Budget constraints

‘We try and look at what matters are on-going, what are the budget constraints, the scope of work overall and try to define the role of what the client brings to the table,’ said Ms Kent. ‘It’s a good opportunity to say to the client, “Tell me all of this and I can better determine how to deal with the work and it won’t be a waste of time.”’

 
   
 
 
 

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