Rees Morrison’s Morsels #106 – additions to earlier posts and short takes

Imagine! An image on this stodgy blog. Inspired by What About Clients, I inserted an image into a recent blog post. Invoking the Three Tenors of opera fame, I found a picture of them online, figured out how to save it and uploaded it to TypePad, although I did not size it or scroll text around it. For a visual guy, which I am, it’s been a long 4.5 years to get to one tiny bit of eye candy (See my post of June 9, 2009: three publicized general counsel.).

Another online community for lawyers, is a private legal community committed to providing an online meeting place for attorneys to ask questions, learn more about the law, and make new acquaintances. The most recent post on its blog is dated August 14, 2008, however, so the online chatter has died down (See my post of Sept. 22, 2008: social networks such as LinkedIn, with 7 references.).

Group for general counsel and chief legal officers on LinkedIn.
Mark Harrington, the general counsel of Guidance Softwaremark., formed the special interest group on July 23, 2008. In less than a year, the group had attracted 386 members on June 4th. Harrington wrote me that the group “gets probably 10 requests each week for new members to join. We get probably twice that many requests from vendors, law firms etc…. to join. I took a survey a few months ago about membership criteria for the group and the consensus was that members had to be 1) current or recently former GCs or chief legal officers of U.S. and international companies or, 2) those folks whose function was equivalent for their particular operating entity.” He added: “As for vendors and law firms, I often invite them to contribute to discussions or post their wares on our jobs or resource board – but not join as members.”

Barriers to entry, a useful term from economics. Incumbent law firms have erected what economists call barriers to entry. Their known skills, styles of working and billing structures powerfully bind entrenched firms. Finding a replacement firm, getting to know its kinks and capacities, smoothing out the ways of working between client and firm – these impediments raise barriers to entry (See my post of Dec. 17, 2007: challengers to incumbent firms; and Feb. 6, 2007: hard for a newcomer firm to show chemistry.).

Portfolio theory, from investors, might inform decisions on law firms retained. Perhaps some of the notions and corollaries of portfolio theory apply to the law firms invested in by a law department. There is some level of risk with all law firms and some level of volatility — turnover and uneven quality. There might be a way to model mathematically the portfolio that has the lowest cost and risk (See my post of March 23, 2008: risk management with 18 references.).

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