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Rees Morrison’s Morsels #122 – additions to earlier posts and short takes

Hysteresis, lasting effects on law departments from the economic crash. The Economist, Vol. 393, Oct. 3, 2009 at 13, explains ”hysteresis,” a term taken from physics and adopted by economists to describe how unemployment may suffer lasting effects from drops in demand. Perhaps lawyers, in turn, should adopt the term to describe how the current pursuit by general counsel of cost reductions and new ways of doing business may permanently dampen demand for services as they have been traditionally rendered by large law firms.

Grace period for law firms to contest write-offs by the law department. Some general counsel may wish to include a provision like this in their outside counsel guidelines. “The firm must raise any question it may have about a write-down within 60 days of notification of the write-down or waive its rights to contest the write-down” (See my post of March 8, 2009: write offs and bill reductions with 8 references and one metapost.).

“Integrated management philosophies” – big thoughts for big thinkers. I read that “Like many administrative innovations, TQM represents an integrated management philosophy rather than a clearly defined technology or set of techniques.” Aha, that heavy-duty term, “integrated management philosophy” probably also applies to Six Sigma, benchmarking, change management, and strategic planning. As described in Admin. Sciences Quarterly, June 1997 at 370, each of those clusters of techniques expresses a set of beliefs and values – a philosophy or world view – about how to get the most from people and resources.

Considerations regarding empowering outside counsel to settle cases. A complicated topic is the authorities outside counsel have to negotiate and settle a lawsuit. I have no standing to comment, but it does seem that preferred counsel should have some measure of authority to speak with the other side and reach an agreement, a distinct advantage during negotiations and in the courtroom (See my post of Dec. 17, 2008: settlements with 26 references cited.).