To what degree do general counsel hoard their management innovations and not share them with others, especially competitors?
Very little, I believe. Others disagree with me.
In her discussion of offshore legal outsourcing, Cassandra Burke Robertson, A Collaborative Model of Offshore Legal Outsourcing, Case Western School of Law Working Paper 2010-35 (Nov. 2010) at 14, discusses the lack of publicity by law departments surrounding offshoring. http://ssrn.com/abstract=1705505 Robertson writes that “Corporations choosing to send work offshore will rarely publicly announce that they are doing so.” One of the two reasons given is that “there is a risk that competitors will follow suit, thus diminishing any competitive advantage gained from outsourcing.”
It has not been my impression that general counsel conceal their management efforts and experiences from each other because of a concern for proprietary value or a competitive edge. When general counsel talk among themselves in trade groups or at other gatherings, they seem willing to share openly and completely. They may decline to speak on public panels, but that reluctance probably has more to do with tight schedules and low perceived value to them than with recalcitrance about disclosure.
Even so, despite the best efforts of journalists, consultants, and service providers, incubators of good ideas may sometimes seal them from the world. Possibly, but not likely.