Within corporations, misguided attitudes by lawyers that “lawyers are different”

Some general counsel and the lawyers on their team believe in “lawyer exceptionalism.” They haughtily maintain that they are exceptions to the rules that apply to others in the corporation. Wrong, for the most part. Here are some comments.

“Finance has the craziest ideas about accruals and budgets” (See my post of June 18, 2009: interplay of finance/accounting and legal with 19 references and 2 metaposts.).

“Procurement practices don’t count for us lawyers” (See my post of March 1, 2008: procurement with 17 references.). But many of the disciplines of sourcing groups make sense for in-house lawyers to apply.

“HR policies and forms misunderstand the talent of lawyers” (See my post of June 14, 2009: HR departments with 16 references and 3 metaposts.). Yet policies of a company regarding its people should apply with equal force to its employed lawyers.

“IT doesn’t understand legal.” (See my post of June 16, 2009: Information Technology staff group with 23 references and 1 metapost.). The two sides spar and spat, but they need each other.

“Facilities fails to appreciate that we need big offices and lots of conference rooms” (See my post of Jan. 29, 2009: cost per square foot of offices; and March 11, 2009: conservation for law departments with 7 references.).

“Six Sigma has huge defects when applied to what we do” (See my post of Feb. 13, 2008: Six Sigma with 18 references.).

And so on. No wonder legal departments have a bad rap in the corporate sandbox.

Law departments certainly do differ from other staff groups (See my post of April 25, 2009: ways legal is not like other staff functions.). That said, internal lawyers are still company employees and they should abide by the rules and not irritatingly and arrogantly hold themselves out as privileged.

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