Crusading against best practices, I have come to realize that for most general counsel, what they seek are “best practices” that are innovative. They want to know some new fangled technique for galvanizing paralegals, liposuctioning outside counsel fees, taming the bogey man of electronic discovery, or staffing the Bulgarian office without ex pat costs. They want the miracle drug that several non-generic law departments have attested.
No one pays heed to common, yet fundamental, practices. We take for granted that lawyers should have administrative assistants, that paralegals can handle much of the workflow (See my posts of March 18 on what paralegals can do, June 28 on using more paralegals, and Aug. 26, 2005 on measuring delegation to paralegals.), that generalists don’t know as much as specialists (See my post of July 30 on dual reporting of specialist lawyers and July 31, 2005 on co-locating them with business unit lawyers.). Practices hammered out over the years on the forge of experience lack cache, they don’t inspire the desire to change like a trendy, enticing – yet tested – best practice.
Steady execution of the basics and continuous improvement (kaizen) count for more than the occasional adoption of novelty.