Creating a Solid Law Department With Team Building: 5 Tips

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on August 07, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Welcome to corporate America. You are now a part of a team that fits within a larger corporate culture. Adjusting from BigLaw (or Small-to-MidLaw) to your company's corporate culture can take some getting used to.

One of the ways that the corporate world breeds cohesion and camaraderie is through team building. Yes, you're a lawyer, but you're in the corporate world now. You've got to play by the company's rules.

Here are five tips to help in-house counsel run an effective legal team building exercise.

1. Determine Goals

Before you start planning a day in the park, determine what the goals are for team building. Do you want people in the department to get to know each other? Do you want to foster communication? Or, is there a specific conflict that needs resolving. Before you do any planning, figure out what your goals are for the team and start from there.

2. Determine Budget & Frequency

Like any event, one of the main parameters will be budgeting. Figure out what budget you have allocated for team building exercises. And, before you blow your budget all in one place, figure out how often you want to have team building events. One event per year isn't going to cut it. Team building needs consistency to be worth it.

3. Determine Competition Level

Most general corporate team building info will tell you to avoid competition. But we're lawyers, and those rules don't apply to us. We thrive on competition -- that's why we became lawyers, no? Whether we're litigating or negotiating, we want to win. So maybe a competitive element to the program is just what the doctor GC ordered.

4. Determine Events

Your location and time of year will dictate the kind of event you have. Some fun events include: sports, scavenger hunts and competitions. Basing events off of reality television -- for example, getting teams together in a cook-off not only fosters creativity in groups, but you'll have a meal to share afterward.

5. Determine Liability

If anyone is going to be concerned with liability, it will be the legal department. Just cover all your bases and makes sure that the company's insurance policies will cover the team building exercises. For example, kickball is probably ok, but we're not sure bungee jumping will get the green light.

Team building is an essential part of corporate culture. Now that you're part of a bigger team, it's inevitable that you'll have to participate in some sort of team building. What are some great team building exercises you've participated in? We'd love to hear about them. Tweet to us @FindLawLP.

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