Perhaps the only peer of “strategy” in terms of an outpouring of books, articles, and conferences is “leadership.” Everyone professes to want it but there’s no consensus as to what it is or how to foster it.
In truth, the opportunities for dramatic leadership in law departments are rare and vest almost entirely in the top lawyer (See my posts of May 4, 2005 bemoaning the lack of intramural creativity, July 21, 2005 on the low value departments place on law firm creativity, and Oct. 30, 2005 about another survey corroborating this point; April 5, 2005 on law department size and correlation to creativity; and June 15, 2006 on executive creativity.). In most law departments of less than 10 lawyers, only the general counsel can set a new course or transform the status quo (See my post of May 16, 2006 on left-brain vs. right brain and leadership notions; and May 31, 2006 on emergent initiatives.).
To make a decision is rarely to be a leader (See my post of Aug. 24, 2006 on decision-making; and Aug. 28, 2006 on the six hats of decision-making.). Leadership, to deserve the name, needs to be broader, tougher, and more strategic.