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A journalist’s view of law-department “trends,” “best practices” and “ho hums”

Thank goodness we have Corporate Legal Times, Corporate Counselor, Legal Week, GC New York, GC Mid-Atlantic, ACC Docket and all the other publications that pry into corporate legal operations.

Thank badness, however, that journalists sometimes jump to conclusions about “law departments,” as if it were possible to detect the spring of change from a swallow’s feather. Eager to draw conclusions for the 7,000 plus law departments (in the US alone), journalists eagerly coronate the latest new thing.

One example (secondment of an MBA from an investment bank to a law department?) is NEWS. Two examples (recycling UTBMS reports into scratch pads?): a clear TREND. Three law departments doing something (solar panels to power pencil sharpeners) obviously confirms a BEST PRACTICE. Cite four examples of a practice (Etch-a-Sketch for comp presentations) and the journalist dubs it a BAND WAGON. Five or more proponents (budgets written with disappearing ink): its time for STATISTICAL ANALYSIS. Six or more senior lawyers describe doing something (tilted runways for law firm beauty pageants) and we have the DECADE DEFINING practice, which is topped only by seven instances (cleats on brogans to gain traction and thus productivity in the office) and the practice is HACKNEYED.

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