Key steps for auditing the legal department

General counsels wield lots of power inside a corporation. They are the ones who translate legal mandates that influence how a corporation internalizes its compliance duties, and they have a huge range of daily tasks.

Yet despite the prominence of the GC, little is known about the operations of the legal function. Internal auditors do have an opportunity here to examine and improve the efficiency of in-house counsel and its management of external counsel.

Moreover, given the heightened enforcement environment, performing an audit of the legal department has become critical for addressing areas of regulatory compliance, financial reporting, and operational efficiency. However you might view the goals of corporate regulation—whether to increase shareholder value, protect third parties, or rein in corporate power more broadly—the GC, in framing the corporation’s response, affects how much these goals will be realized. The objectives of auditing the legal department may vary but there are several key questions the internal auditor should consider:

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