Agency 14: Legal
The fourteenth agency in the community is the Legal Agency. It is the second agency in the Regulatory Bureau, which also includes Agency 13 (Intellectual Property) and Agency 15 (Audit). Agency 14 handles the community’s legal issues, facilitating access to legal services by agencies and participants, the alignment of community operations with the law and bylaws, and contracts.
How the agency works
Presidencies and boards
The Legal Affairs Agency is served by an executive presidency. The presidency consists of four presidents serving and representing the four main demographics – married men (A), married women (B), single women (C), and single men (D). The executive presidency develops and adjusts the agency’s legal strategies and policies. It also monitors how different aspects of its operations work, including the automated system, operational presidencies, and contractors. It makes the necessary adjustments as needed.
The four executive presidents, together with their counterparts in the IP and Audit Agencies, form a bureau board. The bureau board acts as an additional check and balance mechanism besides the presidency. The board provides a useful avenue for mentorship, as new presidents are onboarded and integrated into the community public service. The board also gives individual presidents and agencies an opportunity to collaborate on common interests.
Within the board, three presidents from the same demographic form a demographic presidency. There are four such presidencies, representing each of the four demographic groups. The demographic presidencies engage each other on matters that cut across the three agencies and need a demographic-centered approach. The specific arrangement of the different presidencies, and the board, can be tabulated as follows:
|Demographic presidency A||Demographic presidency B||Demographic presidency C||Demographic presidency D|
|Executive presidency, IP (13)||13A||13B||13C||13D|
|Executive presidency, Legal Affairs (14)||14A||14B||14C||14D|
|Executive presidency, Audit (15)||15A||15B||15C||15D|
As part of the Regulatory Bureau, the Legal Affairs Agency is served by a team of 12 operational presidencies. Each operational presidency serves 2 district buildings, where they interact with executive presidencies of the agencies that have their offices in those buildings, and district and village presidencies. Since each presidency consists of four presidents, there are 48 operational presidents. Each president also belongs to a demographic presidency and a board. The operational presidencies are organized as detailed here.
Operational presidents implement the strategic plans and policies that the executive presidency formulates. The presidents also interact with contractors, offering them any facilitation necessary to serve participants better, collecting important information on the system’s functionality, and advising the executive presidency on how this system can be improved. They monitor the system to ensure it is meeting the participants’ expectations and needs.
The Legal Affairs Agency has an automated system through which it interacts with community public servants and participants. The system performs virtually all functions that the agency is responsible for. For instance, contract preparation is an automated process, with the system using various tools, such as artificial intelligence (AI) to tailor-make agreements for unique circumstances. The system also uses machine learning and other necessary tools to check compliance, advising participants and community public servants on what to do and how to best meet what the law demands.
The agency, working with contractors under the monitoring and facilitation of the operational presidencies, ensures that the system is as complete as possible, and can meet customer needs effectively. Through the system, the agency charges for the services it offers to agencies and participants.
The system is designed to as much as possible, minimize the need for participants to procure legal services. This is because the associated costs can significantly affect businesses’ profitability. When there is a need or high supply of legal contractors, or too frequent instances of participants taking legal action against each other, it is a symptom of the system’s inability to effectively serve the community. The operational presidencies constantly scan these variables and streamline the system for better performance.
While the agency performs the bulk of its services through the automated system, it needs contractors to perform some day-to-day tasks, such as maintenance of the system, legal proceedings, and other duties that require active human participation. Additionally, participants engage contractors if they are unable to obtain any legal help they need from the system.
The Legal Affairs Agency maintains a roll of accredited legal experts and their areas of expertise, who can be contacted by participants as the need arises. Before inclusion in the roll, a few factors are considered, such as the expert’s qualifications, experience, areas of expertise, ratings or reviews, and any other relevant features. The agency avails this list to participants, who can then pick whomever they need. The contractors pay the agency to be maintained on this list, which uses automated tools to maintain the roll and promote professionalism.
Each of the 24 agencies belongs to one of three columns. While columns do not have the level of interaction that boards do, there is nonetheless extensive collaboration between the agencies in a column. For instance, the Legal Affairs Agency coordinates with the Stewardship Agency (agency 2) as limited partners draw up their agreements with the community and with each other, and in monitoring businesses’ compliance with applicable laws.
The Legal Affairs Agency cooperates with the Capital Bank Agency (agency 8) as limited partners invest in the community, drawing up applicable contracts and helping in their execution. The Legal Affairs Agency also interacts with the Life Planning Agency (agency 4) in preparing insurance agreements with participants. After the Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency (agency 11) has facilitated the formulation of bylaws, the Legal Affairs Agency works on their implementation and advises on whether they align with existing laws of the area of jurisdiction within which a community operates.
The Data and Publishing Agency handles extensive amounts of data, which it needs to handle properly. It needs to comply with privacy laws, for instance, while still leveraging the data to enhance agencies’ performance. The Legal Affairs Agency consults to enable this.
Roles of the Legal Affairs Agency
- Aligning the community’s activities with existing laws and community bylaws
- Acting as the community’s legal advisor and litigator
- Coordinating the community’s legal strategies
Aligning community’s operations with laws and community bylaws
The Legal Affairs Agency constantly scans the legal environment in which the community operates and notes any changes. New legislation, for instance, needs to be accommodated in the community’s bylaws and practices. Normally, different laws will concern different agencies. The agency ensures that the affected agencies are familiarized with these changes and that they implement them.
Bylaws are also likely to change from time to time. The process of changing them must be done in a way that does not contravene the law, or fundamentally change what the community stands to achieve by its existence. The Legal Affairs Agency monitors the process to ensure compliance. Once the bylaws have been adopted or amended, the agency again ensures that they have been implemented properly.
Normally, the process of monitoring the environment and the community to check for changes and guide their implementation is tedious. The Legal Affairs Agency works with contractors to pick out changes and design how best to respond to them. The agency also works through operational presidencies that help agencies to conform to changes and implement various regulations. The automated system carries regular information updates to get participants and community public servants up to speed with changes. It also ensures that people are drawn to these updates, through applicable digital marketing communication strategies.
As agencies go about their operations, they may need legal input to ensure they are on track. The Legal Affairs Agency helps agencies with legal advice as needed. The agency can do this by having operational presidents interact with the agencies involved or recommending legal experts who can offer hands-on assistance to the presidencies that need it.
The community may also run into legal issues with external entities. The Legal Affairs Agency is responsible for seeking out-of-court resolutions to issues. When this fails, the agency spearheads the community’s legal effort. The agency engages quality legal experts to pursue its issues in law courts, and to adopt resulting judgments in its operational guidelines, regulations, and bylaws.
Legal coordination and security
The community needs to constantly engage with external authorities in the area where it operates. Each aspect of the community’s operations including recruitment, business operations, and financial operations needs the input of regulators. The agency interacts with these regulators to proactively find the best means of operating and leveraging any opportunities.
Additionally, the Legal Affairs Agency is in charge of hiring security contractors who provide the systems needed to secure participants. The agency coordinates with both these contractors and law enforcement authorities to synergize operations and ensure operation within the law. Some of the security systems are highly advanced in the way they collect and analyze information. This necessitates coordination with the Data and Publishing Agency as well as data protection authorities to properly manage these approaches.
Security contractors’ services are limited to using digital tools to monitor the community and do not include actual enforcement of the law. Therefore, rather than carry out arrests and hand over suspects to law enforcement agencies, or actively investigate suspected crime, the security contractors will leverage the community’s existing systems – face and voice recognition, access control, biometric data, and other tools to prevent and detect crime.
Presidencies’ offices, meetings, and quarterly conferences
The Legal Affairs Agency’s executive presidency has its offices on the first floor of district building 14’s western side. The trustees and operational presidencies who serve the agency sit across them on the eastern side.
The Regulatory Bureau’s operational presidencies, who serve each agency, alternate their offices with trustees. This graphic illustrates district building 14, which has offices for the executive presidency of the Legal Affairs Agency (agency 14), district presidencies for District 14, and the data and business planning presidencies that serve the district.
Working hours and meetings
The Legal Affairs Agency’s executive presidency and the Regulatory Bureau’s operational presidencies work from Monday to Thursday, from 8:00 to 8:45 in the morning. This time is dedicated to meeting clients and normal operational duties as the office requires. On Thursday, the whole presidency (four presidents serving A, B, C, and D) meets for a 45-minute meeting from 9:00 to 9:45 in the morning.
On the last Friday of each quarter, between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, each demographic presidency meets. The three-member presidency discusses common bureau matters that are of interest to the demographic they serve. On Saturday, again between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, the whole board meets, where the presidents present their input from the previous day’s demographic presidency meeting, and prepare for the quarterly conference. The aim is to have a cohesive presentation during the quarterly conference but tailored to specific demographic interests.
Quarterly conferences are held on the last Sunday of each quarter, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, with a lunch break in between. During quarterly conferences, each demographic presidency sits together in the same row.
Quarterly conferences are held in District Buildings 5 and 17. Each building has a lower and higher assembly court. The different demographic groups use the assembly courts as follows:
|5||Lower court||Married men (A)|
|5||Higher court||Married Women (B)|
|17||Lower court||Single women (C)|
|17||Higher court||Single men (D)|
Each of the four assembly courts has seats for 480 presidents representing the respective demographic. In the diagram below each of the 4 courts is illustrated. The ceiling of each court has an elliptical arch. It enables executive presidents, who are the only ones who make a presentation during the conference, to speak without the need of amplifying their voice. The 480 seats are easily rotatable to enable presidents to face whoever is speaking.
Each of the four courts has an identical arrangement and number of seats. The exact arrangement of each court can therefore be illustrated using one court, in this case, building 5’s lower court that is used by married men (A).
Within an assembly court, the 480 presidents are arranged in terms of demographic presidencies of 3. The 12 Regulatory Bureau’s operational presidents for married men (A) are organized into 4 demographic presidencies. The executive demographic presidency (13A, 14A, and 15A) sits in the highlighted seats.
Some additional notes/definitions from an earlier version of this page:
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the provision of legal services is growing. AI tools are used to offer additional insight and analytics, due diligence and research. This saves time that professionals can ill-afford. AI is also used to automate creative services, such as writing. The Legal Services Agency will use these automated services to reduce the time that agency presidents and departmental agents need to spend serving the agency. (Rayo, E. “AI in Law and Legal Practice – A Comprehensive View of 35 Current Applications.” Emerj – AI Research and Insight (2019): published online.)
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) has caught on the legal profession, where firms today outsource most of their non-essential duties. The obvious benefit is cost cutting, especially where the services are outsourced to regions with lower business operating costs. Outsourcing also affords the organization the time necessary to handle ore important strategic issues. The Legal Services Agency will mostly be concerned with strategic planning, leaving those duties that cannot be automated to the outsourced professionals (Patterson, L. “Outsourcing of Legal Services: A Brief Survey of the Practice and the Minimal Impact of Protectionist Legislation.” Richmond Journal of Global Law & Business 7.2 (2008): 177-204).
Legal advisors provide their clients with the sort of legal objectivity needed to make sound decisions and strategies. The agency advises agencies and participants through general information. However, departmental assistants, as part of their remit to the Legal Services Agency, may interact more directly with participants to provide more direct legal support and advice (Heller, Jan Christian, Joseph E. Murphy and Mark E. Meaney. Guide to Professional Development in Compliance. Gaithersburg: Aspen Publications, 2001. Print).
In modern organizations, legal departments work with other departments to ensure that the organization complies with legal provisions applicable to its operations. In other instances, legal personnel are embedded within the departments, though they operate in concert with the main legal department. In the community, the Legal Services Agency will conduct overall monitoring of compliance, while departmental agencies work directly with participants and agencies (Jacob, K., Schindler, D., and Strathausen, R. Liquid Legal: Transforming Legal into a Business Savvy, Information Enabled, and Performance Driven Industry. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2017).
Legal strategies are mainly geared towards ensuring that the community’s operations are compatible and in compliance with the prevailing legal framework. This is informed by the need to ensure that such laws do not serve as an impediment to the community’s interests and that the community can instead use them to its advantage (Bird, Robert C. and David Orozco. “Finding the Right Corporate Legal Strategy.” Sloan Management Review (2-14): online publication. Electronic).
Community-centered security aims to put people at the center of security objectives. As such, the people have a say in what the strategies and engagements with security forces. In the community, the interaction between the security providers and the community will be managed by the Legal Services Agency (NAP. Proactive Policing: Effects on Crime and Communities. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2018. Electronic).
Various legal statutes and dispensations exist, which will affect the community. For instance, HIPAA guidelines, which govern how health information is transferred and used, will have major implications for the community. The agency will extensively work with relevant authorities to align community practice with the said guidelines (Governatori, Guido. A Methodological Framework for Aligning Business Processes and Regulatory Compliance. Academic. St Lucia: the University of Queensland, n.d. Electronic).
Auditors are expected to detect financial malpractice and issues with controls, where any exist. Failure to do this may attract legal penalties, while weakening their position as financial watchdogs. The Legal Services Agency will provide the Audit Agency with the legal expertise required to avoid these pitfalls as they conduct internal and external audits in the community (Burton, F., T. Wilks and F. Zimbleman. “How Auditor Legal Liability Influences the Detection and Frequency of Fraudulent Financial Reporting.” Current Issues in Accounting 7.2 (2013): 9-15).