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Mission statement impossible? Three tests if you must draft one

A column in the Financial Times (July 22, 2005 at 8) made the contrarian’s point that businesses – and it applies to law departments – don’t need mission statements if they have a real raison d’être. (See my dark post on April 8, 2005, but some daylight in two posts on Aug.3, 2005.) While a law department may not need a mission (or vision) statement, it still might draft one and accomplish something if the statement is (1) short, (2) clear and (3) realizable.

How about “We’ll strive to apply the law skillfully to our clients’ needs.”? The columnist also claims that the best corporate mission statements are modest, like Walt Disney’s “to make people happy.” My proffered mission statement is brief, understandable, achievable, and modest.

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