Deep down, law firm leaders may not want law departments to improve

I am not trying to provoke. My logic is that partners may sense that the less effective a legal department, the more it needs outside legal assistance. Obviously, lack of internal capability in specialized areas of law results in more reliance on outside counsel. But even lack of internal operational effectiveness triggers a similar result, since lower internal productivity means less time for oversight of outside counsel, less opportunity to learn developments in the law, less capability to cope with surges of work, less of a stock of tools to serve clients.

Ineffectual, poorly-managed departments can cause what Ross Perot dubbed (for NAFTA) “the great sucking sound” of inhaling hours of outside counsel assistance. Beneficiaries of that need, why would a relationship partner want the client’s managerial fitness to improve?

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