A Ph.D in legal fees. The normally reticent Donald Trump admitted recently that “I have a Ph.D. in legal fees. I know when fees are fair and when they’re not,” Law Firm Inc., Vol. 6. May-June 2008 at 10. If he knows that and can teach it, he will make far more money than he does in real estate (See my post of April 8, 2008: pervasive mistrust of law firms’ billing practices.).
Theory of Mind. As described in John Medina’s Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School (Pear Press, 2008) at 44, we try to see our entire world in terms of motivations. Later Medina writes: it is defined as the ability to understand the interior motivations of someone else and the ability to construct a predictable ‘theory of how their mind works’ based on that knowledge.” He believes that “people with advanced theory of mind skills possessed the single most important ingredient for becoming effective communicators of information.” He notes that there are four main tests that measure empathy (See my posts of April 15, 20067: listening skills enhanced by empathy; and July 31, 2005: emotional intelligence .).
Knowledge sharing in bathrooms. A technology company that I have worked with has in each toilet stall plastic containers that hold one page, part of a series of guides about how to produce better software code. Some enterprising lawyers borrowed that idea and have created summaries of important legal principles for those plastic holders in the law department. They dubbed these one-page nuggets “Law in the Loo.” I mention this quirky activity because it evidences yet another way to promote knowledge management and consistency within a law department.
Half-life of legal knowledge. I speculated on the obsolescence rate of legal knowledge (See my post of Jan. 24, 2006: corporate counsel knowledge and its half-life.), but now I have some confirmation. In a summary of an Evershed’s study, published in Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 16, May 2008 at 62, a partner says that Eversheds “firmly believes that we need to adapt to market changes — if our lawyers are doing the same things in three years, then they won’t remain competitive.”