legal work

november 2020

The legal work facet seeks to articulate the work lawyers do, stripped of context.


The reality is that different organisations and people describe legal work today – this is an attempt to pare it back to its elements in a neutral way. It can be put back together into whatever bundles make sense to them for their own practical purposes, traditions and habits. An analogy is the way that, in the software world, narrowly defined permissions are bundled together into user roles.


This facet has three top level concepts – two of them reflect a split between transacting and resolving (approximately what English practice calls non-contentious and contentious) as we believe the skills, processes and economics have sufficiently major differences to make this a fundamentally important split, despite important attempts to bridge the gap (e.g. facilitated contract renegotiations).  The third top level concept – operating – represents something which mainly law firms have historically not been that involved in, but is in practice increasingly recognised as important.


As ever, there are other ways to cut things and we would welcome alternatives.


Please have a look at the relevant Nov 2020 draft visualisation on this website, but here is a plain text version of this draft:



·      deals > finance & security / leases & licences / buying & selling

·      contracting > standards / contract management / concluding contracts

·      changing > forming / dissolving / adjusting


·      disputes > settlement / litigation / binding non-court

·      official action > prosecution / investigation / enforcement

·      public policy > inquiries / public policy / soft law


·      grc > governance / risk / compliance

·      advising > legal advice / consulting / secondment

·      legal operations > people / process / tech & data

This and other topics will be the subject of some consultation events in 2021 Q1 as outlined here. Please participate!