“continuing emphasis on quality.” cultural change

of mind
“How do you drive cultural change
in a corporate law department?”
on quality.”
At Honeywell, we have about 120,000 employees and
100 in-house lawyers to serve them. We are busy rendering legal
advice in a variety of business contexts, but at the same time as a
legal department we are committed to changing and improving the
way in which we have done business in the past.
In trying to change our culture, we have found it useful to focus on
discrete issues and to devote the leadership and other resources
necessary to resolve them favorably. One issue is the diversity
of our law department’s lawyer workforce. After sustained effort
and leadership from the top, we now count 33% of our lawyers
as women and 15% as minorities. In the last year alone, 50%
of our new lawyer hires have been women and 33% have
been minorities. With our continuing emphasis on quality, our
increasingly diverse lawyer workforce is an example of what can
be achieved in law department diversity.
Another issue that we have addressed is how to leverage a legal
resource of 100 lawyers across a vast corporate enterprise. Here,
we have turned to technology and, more specifically, to creation
of two web sites internal to Honeywell that have different purposes.
The first is for all Honeywell employees who have internet access
at work. This site achieves efficiencies through ease of access
to items such a form contracts, standard terms and conditions,
corporate policies and so on. It thus creates a self-help environment
in which lawyer time is devoted to value-added work. At the same
time, this site is a powerful tool for the practice of preventative law.
We have over 20 training modules on this site—embracing fields
such as sexual harassment, antitrust and many others—and our
employees are required regularly to access these modules and to
be tested on their understanding of the subject matter.
The second web site is for the legal department alone. Its focus
is on best practices, knowledge management and practice
management. It is an extraordinary productivity tool.
Peter M. Kreindler
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Honeywell International, Inc.
Morristown, New Jersey
In this age of accelerating legal risk, corporate counsel are
sometimes expected to be all things to all people. Yet, to elevate
ourselves within our profession, we have to “own” certain issues
and to define ourselves in terms of their resolution. At Honeywell,
our department has focused on diversity and technology-enabled
legal service strategies, among others, and our culture has been
changed for the better because we have.
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