The legal department in every organization is being asked to do more with less. Below is a checklist of six practices employed in a university general counsel’s office that may be helpful to make your office more cost effective:

1. Regularize the Routine

Common questions that come up repeatedly consume precious time that could be used by attorneys more productively elsewhere. That wasted time can be recaptured if clients become accustomed to consulting a manual, handbook, form, FAQ sheet or other resource with information that responds to these common issues. Preferably posted on an intranet, where it can be accessed any time day or night, the responsive information can also include broader background about the subject matter to educate the clients more deeply and help them understand the reasons for the responses. Clients can return to this information over and over again, as questions recur and responses are forgotten. Of course, the website should also remind clients that they are welcome to pursue more complex questions directly with the legal department. But this practice will ensure that follow-up questions are more deserving of attorney time. Getting clients trained to refer to the general counsel’s website as first resource for most legal issues will not only save time, but allow the website to develop into a broader communication tool.

2. Encourage the Office Network