One variation on this idea surfaced already with UPS, where many of its lawyers are former field personnel (See my post of Jan. 25, 2007 on “about half the department.”). Another way to align lawyers with their clients, or at least have them familiar with the others’ moccasins, is to have lawyers work side by side with them. The general counsel of EMC Corp., Paul Dacier, interviewed for InsideCounsel, Feb. 2007 at 68, praises that real-world familiarity: “There is no better way to understand the business and appreciate the issues our sales people have to deal with than being out in the field and rocking and rolling with them.”
Better still, since tone is set at the top, Dacier continues “Not only do I make sales calls, but most of my lawyers do too.”
Later, in the same issue of InsideCounsel, Susan Lichtenstein, the general counsel of Baxter International, adds another technique for getting to know the business: “I can’t think of a better way to get educated about what the business goals are near-term and long-term than listening to the quarterly earnings analyst call.” I’d buy stock in that idea!