It may seem strange that at a leading Silicon Valley company, the head of the law department calls himself “a bit of a technology skeptic” when it comes to his profession. But Steven Rodgers, general counsel at Santa Clara, California-based Intel Corp., isn’t kidding. “I don’t ever want to get to a point where, when my CEO wants legal advice, he goes to a website,” says Rodgers. “I want him to call me or walk down the hall to talk to me.”

It’s not that the 281 attorneys around the world that make up Intel’s law and policy department don’t care about the gadgets. They use cutting-edge technology every day to work more efficiently and enable Intel to create and sell its products. But what makes the team unique is that they recognize the importance of balancing speed and innovation with the slower and decidedly less high-tech process of building relationships. Whether it’s forming meaningful ties within the department or with outside lawyers and pro bono clients, Intel’s focus on the connections that go far beyond computer circuitry make it an organization deserving of recognition as one of our Best Legal Departments this year.

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