A 2004 study by Synectics, a consultancy, found that senior and middle managers spent more than three quarters of their time in meetings. Would this metric hold true for law department attorneys? Worse, on average only 12 percent of managers thought their meetings were productive. Taken together, law departments may lose much productivity through poorly-managed meetings.
Ironically, lawyers taking part in client meetings contribute hugely to client satisfaction and preventive lawyering.
In-housers may not call meetings much, but they can help shape the agenda, recommend locations and attendees, and push for clear outcomes, the disregard of which decisions torpedoing many meetings. I liked the idea from Synectics that everyone should say at the end of a meeting what they think they have heard, and correcting the inevitable misconceptions or partial understandings. I also liked the idea of asking people in a meeting to say what they liked about the things they heard; criticism usually comes unasked.