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“Don’t expose a business client to sausage making” – perhaps a wurst practice but how then do you convey value?

In the course of explaining to the law department a set of fundamental beliefs, a well respected general counsel included the injunction in the header. Some of the attendees at the conference were not familiar with the phrase “making sausage.” To the general counsel it meant that lawyers should present well reasoned, fully-baked recommendations and conclusions. In-house lawyers should not subject clients to the grinding, mixing, and flavoring that led the lawyer to the conclusion that went into the sausage. The effort need not concern the client.

That view holds, to be sure, when the in-house lawyer wants to portray a confident, well-thought-out conclusion plus recommendation. What gives me some pause, however, is that it possibly leaves clients with the impression that what the lawyers do comes easily, logically, without contrary positions and difficult judgment calls. If everything seems a cinch, how can clients appreciate the training, hard work, experience, and thoughtfulness of their counselors – the value they deliver?

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