Rees Morrison’s Morsels #9 – additions to earlier posts or brief comments

Goldman Sachs GC receives $38.3 million buy out from unprofitable fund. The Wall St. J, March 28-29, 2009 at B3, reports that Goldman Sachs paid one of its co-general counsel, Gregory Palm, $38.3 million to buy him out of employee funds that had been invested in loss-making private equity and hedge funds. Counterbalancing that payment, the article notes, the firm didn’t pay any top executives a bonus.

Internal counsel as bad cops and outside counsel as worse cops. An article in The Bus. Lawyer, Vol, 64, Feb. 2009 at 312, suggests that sometimes inside counsel have to play the “bad cop” role so that executives can enjoy the “good cop” role. Following that, the author extends this reasoning: “Playing the bad cop should be easier for outside counsel, and may be one reason for the continuing use of outside counsel to handle contentious issues.” Hadn’t thought of that.

Rapid growth in the number of in-house counsel 1961-1991. The Bus. Lawyer, Vol, 64, Feb. 2009 at 315, n. 215 cites Mary C. Daly, The Cultural, Ethical, and Legal Challenges in Lawyering for a Global Corporation: The Role of General Counsel (46 Emory L.J. 1057, 1059 (1997)). It summarizes the Daly article as “reporting that between 1961 and 1982 the number of in-house lawyers quadrupled, and that from 1980 to 1991 the number rose 33 percent” (See my post of March 9, 2009: a clue about the number of lawyers practicing in-house.).

Special Pleading. A logical fallacy as well as a psychological weakness in which a person applies standards, principles, rules, etc. to others while taking herself (or those she has a special interest in) to be exempt, without providing adequate justification for the exemption. Illogical the philosophers call it; I call it hypocrisy (See my post of March 31, 2009: managerial failings.).

Two more cognitive biases distortions. MIT Sloan Mgt. Rev., Vol. 50, Winter 2009 at 46, lists “stimulation” (“only knows a solution when seeing it”) in the generation of solutions and “linearity bias” (seeks simple cause and effect relationship) in the evaluation of potential solutions (See my post of March 15, 2009: cognitive traps with 21 references.).

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