A law department’s people don’t deserve to be called its “most valuable resource”

My dislike for referring to people as “resources,” as in “We could handle this transaction in-house if we had more resources,” found an eloquent advocate in the Financial Times (Summer 2005).

Resources are things we draw upon and exploit. They are raw material we use as efficiently as possible, extracting value and preventing wastage. But people are not raw material. They cannot be described as an organisations’s most valuable resource, because they are the organisation. (emphasis in original)

Lawyers, paralegals, and support staff become the heart and soul of a law department. They are metaphorical ore, not ore to be extracted, refined, and dealt with like so many inert ingots.

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