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Rees Morrison’s Morsels #146: posts longa, morsels breva

A statistical adjustment to improve data. A footnote to a graph in a recent report adds a statistical explanation: “To account for the unbalanced nature of the response rate over time, a regression with a time trend and company fixed-effects was run.” The report is the Litigation Cost Survey of Major Companies, presented at the Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth, (Northwestern Univ. School of Law, May 10-11, 2010) at pg 7. I don’t fully know what it means, but it sounds worthwhile for benchmarking. It sounds like the regression adjusted the data to correct for incomplete data.

Looking back 270 years to lawyers in England. Joel Mokyr, The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain 1700-1850 (Yale Univ. 2009) at 250: in the early 1730s the total number of lawyers in England and Wales was between 5000 506,000. Approximately 100 years later, in 1841, there were 11,763 “attorneys, solicitors and law students” and another 2103 classified as “barristers and conveyancers.” No mention of Associate General Counsel – Litigation!

D&O premiums as a legal department expense item? Should total legal spending include insurance premiums paid for directors and officers liability? Though I know little about this topic, it seems that most of the protection afforded by the insurance revolves around legal liabilities. If coverage of this type reduces legal fees paid, the premiums ought to count as legal spend.

Coffee clobbers or coaxes collaboration. The daily Harvard Stat of March 1, 2011 gave me pause. “When it comes to collaboration on stressful tasks, caffeine impairs men’s performance but boosts women’s, according to research led by Lindsay St. Claire of the University of Bristol in the UK. The researchers say their laboratory study raises the question of whether men “fight or flee” while women “tend and befriend” under stress, and whether caffeine somehow intensifies those behaviors. They also ask whether coffee at business meetings might have the effect of sabotaging collaboration. 80% of the world’s population consumes caffeine daily.” Source: Interactive Effects of Caffeine Consumption and Stressful Circumstances on Components of Stress. Coffee, ubiquitous at law department meetings, may be a wild card.