Arrange for periodic question and answer sessions for members of the law department with the chief legal officer

I recently took part in an all-lawyer conference for a very large legal department. The general counsel laid out clearly a set of beliefs of what characterizes a classy law department. At the end, for more than 30 minutes, the general counsel fielded questions from the 200-plus lawyers. Nearly all of their questions raised fundamental points and the general counsel carefully, creatively, and candidly spoke extemporaneously to each question.

I commend completely such a forum. In this situation, particularly, where the general counsel had not been in the position for a full year, it gave the assembled lawyers an opportunity to form their own conclusions about their leaders. Even for a longer-serving general counsel, the open give-and-take makes much sense. Fundamental messages can be underscored, worries among the staff confronted, and insight into operations and changes highlighed.

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