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Rees Morrison’s Morsels #125 – posts longa, morsels breva

Sergey Brin’s technique to test a candidate for an in-house law position. Ordinary people interview in the traditional mode (See my post of Sept. 3, 2008: techniques for those who interview.). Not Brin, one of Google’s billionaire co-founders. According to the Economist, Nov. 14, 2009 at 103, he “asks a candidate for a senior legal position to draw up a contract for the sale of Mr Brin’s soul to the devil.” Hellish indemnification and warranty provisions!

Path dependency in legal departments, especially for management innovation. The process of accumulating innovative knowledge is usually highly path (history) dependent and firm specific. “Path dependency” reeks of academic jargon but it means the commonsense idea that the way in which a legal department arrived at a particular practice depends greatly on its people, the work they did, its relations with its clients, and much more. For another department to crib from it is to risk failure, because the “path” of the cribber is very different (See my post of Feb.14, 2009: best practices with 24 references and one metapost.).

Synecdoche – lumping a large firm based on the work of a few of its lawyers. “Dechert does a good job for us,” “We like Cravath,” “Shea & Gould had irregular quality.” Every day, in-house lawyers generalize about hundreds of lawyers in one fell swoop, with broad conclusions based on no overall evidence or basis. Sporadic and individualistic evaluations done inside don’t justify such broad descriptions.

ISO 9001 certification. Novus Law announced that it has “received an ISO 9001:2008 global quality management certification from Underwriters Laboratories (“UL”), which is also a first in the legal profession.” The interview of Raymond Bayley, CEO of Novus Law, can be found in Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 17, Nov. 2009 at 47 (See my post of April 28, 2009: ISO and other certifications in the legal industry.).