In my last post I discussed how to “market” the Legal Department to the business. One of the items I mentioned was the need to have a really good Legal Department website available to your internal clients (i.e., behind any company firewalls and available on the company intranet only – and not to the public). I received several notes back from readers asking me to elaborate on what makes a Legal Department website “good.” After sending a few responses I realized that this might be a question other readers have and the answer would make a good topic for “Ten Things” (and it seems like others are starting to ask the same question about websites).
The goal of a Legal Department website is threefold: 1) it markets the Legal Department to the business by providing business colleagues with easy access to useful information and materials that make their day-to-day work easier (e.g., form agreements); 2) it frees up time for the members of the Legal Department by allowing them to post useful information and materials and provide a place for “self-service” (i.e., company employees can find answers and documents on their own without having to directly utilize the time of the in-house legal team); and 3) it provides a private place for the Legal Department to store materials and can provide a single point of access to tools utilized by the lawyers (i.e., a Legal Department “desk top”). If you can develop a website that meets these three goals you can significantly improve the delivery of legal services, lower costs, and improve efficiency. You can also provide an opportunity for newer lawyers to “own” a piece of a project and show their leadership and problem solving skills. This edition of “Ten Things” discusses some practical things you can do to create (or improve) your Legal Department website: