Published on:

Rees Morrison’s Morsels #123 – posts longa, morsels breva

Payments to outside counsel expressed as constant currency. “Constant currency” means to state amounts in a currency expressed in relation to its purchasing power in a specified currency. For example, a legal department might calculate its constant dollar spend by applying an annual exchange rate to local currency results for the year. This creates US dollar-denominated expenses which exclude any variances attributable to foreign exchange rate movements.

For example, consider a French company that uses outside counsel extensively in the US. If fees paid increase 10 percent in dollar terms, but the dollar fell 5 percent against the Euro during the year, only a 5 percent increase in external fees will be reported, as a constant currency is applied in the calculation (See my post of Oct 4, 2009: inflation with 8 references; and June 5, 2009: currency conversion with 6 references.).

Complexity refers to decision-making and autonomy. Substantive job complexity depends on the extent to which a job entails autonomy and allows for decision latitude. Complex legal issues are multifaceted and call upon lawyers to combine knowledge from various sources. Instead of thinking so much about the legal problem itself as itself or not, therefore, we should think about the decision making and information combination required to resolve it (See my post of March 13, 2007: complexity with 4 references; and Dec. 27, 2008: complexity of legal practice with 20 references.).

Q-sort technique to discover likes and dislikes. This technique measures attitudes and preferences. As defined in a Corporate Executive Board report on talent (at xiii), “It uses a forced-choice method, where one must rank a series of items in a pool. Typically, a person is presented with a set of statements or options and is asked to rank-order them, either in groups or on an individual basis, an operation referred to as “Q sorting.” An analyst can study the rankings that result, say from a client satisfaction survey or an employee morale survey that includes Q-sort questions (See my post of Dec. 5, 2008: client satisfaction surveys with 30 references.).

Unpredictable, yet litigation might be most eligible for project management. Ironically, litigation is the one practice where the most difficulties are talked about in terms of fixed fees. Yet, because litigation is so well known, and the steps in many lawsuit are so well understood, project management tools ought to make the most difference (See my post of Sept. 21, 2009: bankruptcy fees, well-understood steps, yet value hard to pin down.).