Much of the administrative back-end of project management relies on strong cooperation with other internal groups. One of the teams you’re likely to leverage regularly is Legal. From evaluating vendor contracts to approving lease agreements, the legal folks have got you covered. Here’s how to get the best legal collaboration out of this very busy group, and be a good customer while you’re at it.
Why you need them: The Legal team is qualified to interpret documentation to see what your company’s obligations or expenses might be, along with understanding any rights you may be relinquishing. This isn’t something you want get wrong, so leave it to the experts.
DO include time in your project schedule for Legal review. Consider asking for a general time-frame during the initial planning phases, as their review schedule may fluctuate based on workload or litigation activities.
DO consult Legal if you’re unsure whether a document needs to be reviewed. Many organizations have guidelines stipulating which documents require Legal’s approval, but in the absence of a clear directive, ask one of the Legal department admins if your paperwork is something the attorneys need to see.
DO schedule meetings in or near the Legal team’s offices. They may have materials in their files that they want to consult, or additional documents you’ll need to complete. Scheduling discussions away from their work area could be inefficient.
DON’T forward documentation to Legal without an explanation of what it’s regarding, what help you need from them, and when you need it back. They’re busy, and they aren’t mind readers.
DON’T expect Legal to review your document the same day it’s due back to the other party. You are not their only legal collaboration. They’re responsible for supporting every other group in the company along with yours, so give them ample time to evaluate contracts and other documentation.