The ideal of “philosophical management” for general counsel

Hugh Trevor-Roper’s book, History and the Enlightenment (Yale Univ. 2010) collects essays by the distinguished British historian. Trevor-Roper saw in the Enlightenment historians a seminal perspective, which is broadly called “philosophical history.” It rejects the mere accumulation of detail and fact; it rejects primary reliance on splendid examples of heroes and battles; it seeks explanations of events from the past that connect closely to the society at the time.

If those who think about management in law departments were to adopt a counterpart, perhaps called somewhat grandly “philosophical management,” they would not just describe what this or that law department does, nor would they focus on magazine-cover general counsel astride their department as a trend setter. They would try to derive fundamental operational principles that apply across law departments and that have demonstrable consequences.

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