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Humans, and in-house counsel, are hard-wired genetically to detect unfairness

Often, in law departments, seemingly petty differences cause rancorous discord. “He has an office two floor tiles longer than mine,” “She got promoted to Chief Assistant Senior Counsel, while I am only Assistant Senior Counsel,” “I got a bonus of 17.2 percent while the other lawyer got a 17.4 percent bonus.”

It’s not fair! Justice among lawyers has not prevailed!

Complaints such as these have a genetic basis. As reported in the Economist, Dec. 24, 2005 at Survey 9-10, research shows that when we perceive a slight to ourselves, we quickly, intuitively, and loudly react with to injustice. It has been evolutionarily valuable for humans, living in small tribes and interacting frequently, to detect even minute discriminations in status and treatment. In-house counsel will continue to gripe over who sits closest to the general counsel at staff meetings.

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