Home Workplace Personnel The Role of the Legal Department of a Business

The Role of the Legal Department of a Business

The Role of the Legal Department of a Business


Most businesses today that are large enough to be considered a corporation will generally have a standing legal department to manage and perform many of the day to day legal needs associated with running a business.civil litigation that came to affect many different organizations and the resulting increase in legal costs, and 

The rise in civil litigation was a major factor, however, especially as corporations grew in significant size and had trouble overseeing their considerable assets, thus causing more individual problems that parties were forced to seek legal restitution for (admittedly, the size and liquidity of these corporations made them seductive targets for predatory litigation, as well).  

It was this rise in costs that led to the need for paralegals, who could perform legal tasks for far less than a lawyer, thus limiting the billing costs on the behalf of these firms. Many businesses, however, did one better, taking many legal concerns in house and creating legal departments, staffed by lower paid paralegals overseen by a selection of business lawyer who took care of the business’s legal work.

The growth in legal departments was chiefly economic, and part of this was based in large part on the rise in legal needs driven by the changing state of employee relations in American corporate culture.  In addition to this, federal oversight of many individual corporate activities, products, and means of production became far more diligent, with new federal agencies emerging all the time and older ones growing in size and power (the Environmental Protection Agency would be such an example).  An increased reliance on contracts for employees and for most business transactions also emerged during this time.

All of these assorted legal activities were delegated by these businesses to their legal departments.  Paralegals working for a legal department can usually be expected to do large amounts of document writing, and usually in specialized ways.  Therefore, paralegals who in legal departments can usually expect very specialized, repetitive work, and could also be expected to work in high volume environment with many other personnel.

It should be noted that legal departments vary based on the size of a business, and that a legal department for a smaller company can still subsist on one or two attorneys and a few paralegals.