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A metaphor for in-house lawyers – oil not fuel

I’m not trying to be silly or too clever. The heading of this post, borrowed from a phrase that has been applied to finance, conveys the proper notion that: in-house lawyers are more likely to be lubricants than propellants. They enable business to succeed, but they don’t drive the strategic direction. Lawyers pour in their specialized advice, which a business person mixes with other ingredients. In-house lawyers react to the problems that arise more than they hold them off at the pass. They play the second violin, but the orchestra would be less pleasing without their contribution. They smooth the way but don’t determine the path.