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In-house counsel as “knowledge workers” – how to get better performance

A review of Thomas H. Davenport’s, Thinking for a Living: How to Get Better Performance and Results from Knowledge Workers (Harvard Bus. School Press, 2005) offered some tidbits, and a main course idea (Economist, Oct. 15, 2005 at 91).

No one has devised means of measuring the output of lawyers (knowledge workers par excellence), although many (including this blog’s author) are seeking ways to improve their output. Davenport mentions as one technique “yellow page” directories of experts at Hewlett-Packard. “Research has shown that the computer programmers with the biggest offices are the most productive.” Maybe the best coders get promoted and earn larger offices, not that offices boost output – see my posts of Feb. 20, 2005 and Nov. 8, 2005 about SEI and its open floor space.). Apparently too, “e-mail is a better medium for complex negotiations than instant messaging.”

The main course idea stands out: the book “is a bold attempt to address a pressing issue.” I wish the law department industry were more concerted in its efforts close in on corporate counsel productivity.

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