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Likelihood that general counsel push significant changes in their early years

“Longer tenure provides a better understanding of organizational policies and procedures and a reluctance to change past manners of operating.” (emphasis added). This quote from the Admin. Sciences Quarterly, June 1997 at 219, led me to wonder whether management initiatives drop in frequency as of general counsel settle into the organizational saddle. It’s hard to question the familiar world around you; a goldfish never frets about the bowl. What frustrates me is that we simply do not know.

The lacunae of research on managerial change in law departments galls me. We have no informed ideas about the diffusion of innovation, the sources of innovation, the pace of innovation, the timing of changes, or the results (See my post of April 9, 2009: empirical research with 8 references.).

For example, we might all jump to the conclusion that a general counsel who comes in from outside would be more likely to inject new practices than a general counsel promoted from within, one who is indoctrinated in the status quo and mindful of the former peers who would object to change. The newcomer has so much on her plate, such as developing the trust of senior executives, that if its not shattered, leave it alone.

A different jump, however, lands on the conclusion that someone who has long suffered with the dysfunctions of a legal department would be most keen to make changes. We simply don’t know which jump is true.