This blawg has steadily marched toward 3,000 posts on its third anniversary, as it has 2,800 now and ten weeks to go. That commendable productivity is at least a start toward my ambitious goal: to compile, organize, and analyze how to run corporate legal functions. Even so, the pride I feel is tempered by five limitations of this blawg.
1. My posts are short. My self-imposed limit of a few paragraphs per post lets me churn out herds of them, but none of them dig very deeply. Some posts touch on deep concerns – the role of inside lawyers, the economics of legal services, the prickliness between departments and firms, intractable issue – but touch is about all they do given their brevity. The more I cross reference to other posts, the more I surmount the concision of any one post.
2. No theoretical framework(s) shapes this endeavor. To the contrary, I write about what I read and what I encounter during my consulting projects, finding that over time, as I re-read my oeuvre, that additional ideas emerge. My approach is inductive because I try to ground what I write in the experiences of real law departments. Models and broad theories lie off in the future.
3. Nothing said here can be said with empirical certainty. Every aspect of law department management is shrouded with context; no practice or recommendation has any absolute certainty to sustain it, or even shreds of universality.
4. Another aspect that humbles me is that my material mostly comes from the last five years, which is about as far back as my citations go, and my consulting knowledge adds but a decade more to that. Historicism constrains me because I draw almost entirely on large U.S. law departments in the 21st century.
5. Blind spots – topics about which I know little and write less – abound. My co-authors try to remedy this drawback, such as on topics like diversity, compliance and ethics, litigation support, service providers other than law firms, and records management, but the list shows how many holes there are.
Having confessed these shortcomings, I am still proud of this blawg. It is fun to write, challenging to think about, and a hobby that complements my consulting, even if the posts do not go on at length, do not (yet) cohere systematically, do not lay down best practices, do not reach beyond a narrow period of time, and does not even tackle – without the assistance of other experts – a number of topics that are worthy subjects in the school of law department management.