Legal Cost-Cutting and Social Networking: Strange Bedfellows

By Neetal Parekh on September 10, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Now we have all heard about the virtues and the dangers of Facebooking at work, or tweeting during meetings, but can in-house counsel actually benefit a company's bottom line by foraying into the world of social media?  According to an article on the subject in Bloomberg, there is a possibility.

The article reports on a general counsel's online exchange of ideas of how his legal department saves company green by drafting trademark applications in-house before sending to outside counsel. The initial social media post met with responses by corporate counsel at other companies offering their own money-saving techniques. 

Are you surprised? Mystified? Downright befuddled? We didn't think so.

Breaking down the buzz word "social networking" you get two core concepts of communication.  Social and networking.  Whether you are in a conference break-out session, happy hour, basketball court sideline, or company luncheon you have an opportunity to interact with others in a less-formal, more-personal way.  Similarly, social networking allows a candid flow of thought and exchange of ideas.  Just like your career counselors encouraged you to do in law school in their odes to the power of networking, connecting and sharing online is a form of networking.  And one that seems to be gaining some street cred from its offline cousin.  And though three years of legal training has drilled in considerations of liability, privacy, and confidentiality, it is up to the innovative devices of in-house counsel to find constructive and ethical uses of social networking that will inspire progress and productivity within their legal departments.

At a time when companies and legal departments are cutting staffs, ways to cut costs and save jobs has taken on heightened importance.  And corporations are quantifying expenditures of time and resources more closely, leading in-house counsel to re-examine their own tendencies to take a first pass at legal work before subbing it to outside counsel.   

It's enough to make anyone want to answer the question, "what's on your mind."


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