If you do not follow the Medium Blog, "Rethink the Practice," do yourself a favor and start today. This post on the potential role of luck in the outcome of high-value legal matters is a thought-provoking read. To summarize, the article explores the concept of "the paradox of skill," which suggests that as skill increases, luck plays a more essential role. For example, in baseball, as more batters and pitchers hone their skills, luck increasingly becomes a determinent in a hitter's batting average. Read the full post:
One of our priorities is tracking the big issues affecting in-house counsel, and since 2015 seems to be the year of the “Top __ List,” we thought it would be fun to jump on that bandwagon too. It’s helpful to understand your legal department’s goals, challenges and priorities in the context of the greater legal profession and the business world as a whole. And isn’t it also kind of fun at this stage of the year to look back at the various twists and turns we all lived through or at least thought we might have to get through?
Sullivan was a sponsor of the ACC Annual Meeting in October in Boston, and we launched InhouseGo2 during the same week. We were looking for a substantive and meaningful way to connect with ACC members at our booth in the Exhibit Hall at the Annual Meeting. Everyone at the ACC loves a good prize drawing, so we decided to give away an Apple Watch. We asked ACC members to submit a blog topic for InhouseGo2 and in return, they could enter our Apple Watch drawing. It was a tremendous success for us: We gained more than 100 topic ideas and we connected with ACC members about their challenges, questions and opportunities. One unexpected takeaway was that we got an overall sense of the issues that are keeping in-house counsel up at night. We thought it might be interesting for all of you to get a summary of what your colleagues submitted. Our respondents were from a wide variety of industries and company sizes. In addition, their seniority levels ran the gamut from more junior lawyers in large departments, to solo lawyers within small companies, to mid-level lawyers, to CLOs of large departments. Here is a snapshot of our findings:
HOW WORK SURVEYS CAN HELP:
As in-house law departments become larger and more robust, keeping track of which member of your staff is working on a deal or matter can become complicated. In addition, project management is essential for both in-house and outside counsel to work efficiently and cost-effectively. A simple and effective way to manage this is to create a weekly work survey for your in-house lawyers to complete. Whether your department is small enough where your lawyers are a “jack of all trades”, or you have a larger legal department where your lawyers are subject matter experts, a simple work assignment process can benefit you and assist with career development. As the person charged with attorney professional development at my firm, I can attest that this simple tool has helped our associates become more proficient in their craft. It allows me to see where their strengths and weaknesses are in their skill development on a weekly basis. When they need to better hone a specific skill, I can help them my giving them an assignment that will do that. This tool has also helped our partners better produce efficient and excellent work, as they know that the associates working on their matters have the required skills to be valuable not only to the partner, but also to our clients.
The InhouseGo2 Blog offers in-house lawyers more than just the latest thinking on legal issues. It is a resource for top-of-mind issues affecting all C-level executives, including leadership and management, board transparency, cost and efficiency controls, and overall business trends. We understand that you have a seat at the management table and legal analysis is just one of the many aspects of your job.