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Rees Morrison’s Morsels #84 – additions to earlier posts

Discipline in law departments is milder than on British ships of the 18th century. Of the 1,556 sailors on 15 British naval vessels that sailed into the Pacific from 1765 to 1793, 21.5 percent were flogged. Michael Shermer, Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown (Time Books 2005) at 113, offers this little-known fact about keeping workers in line. General counsel can discipline lawyers, even to the point of terminating them (See my post of Feb. 8, 2006: real-estate lawyers laid off; Aug. 24, 2005: exit interviews; Feb. 4, 2006: non-competes; June 20, 2007: risk of job loss by GC when new CEO arrives; and Sept. 17, 2005: severance package.), but corporal punishment is not in vogue.

Theories referred to on this blog. Regretting the lack of theories in law department management (See my post of Dec. 6, 2008: Darwin’s Dictum*6.), I realized a surfeit of other theories are bandied about on this blog (See my post of Jan. 1, 2008: Agency; March 26, 2006: Choice; April 2, 2005: Choice; April 5, 2007: Cognitive Dissonance; July 10, 2007: Cognitive; Dec. 19, 2005: Complexity; Feb. 18, 2006 #3: origins of Complexity Theory; May 21, 2008: Experience Curve; March 20, 2008: Human Capital; May 23, 2008 #4: Information; Sept. 5, 2007: Normal Accident; Aug. 28, 2005: Systems; and Jan. 8, 2008: Transaction Cost Economics.). Perhaps some of this theory rubs off.

Far-flung law US law department. From Diversity & the Bar, Vol. 10, Nov./Dec. 2008 at 34, we learn that Cargill, Inc. has 160,000 employees and operates in more than 65 countries. “Its global team consists of 192 lawyers, and another 173 personnel work in 25 countries” (See my post of Sept. 16, 2008: foreign locations of in-house counsel with 11 references.).

Appliances, which combine software on special hardware, make sense for law departments. Clearwell’s information platform, as I understand it, helps users review documents that have been requested in discovery, especially email. The company offers what is called an “appliance,” which combines dedicated hardware (like a standard L server) with complementary software. Appliances are easier to install since you can plop in the hardware and software without more effort. Also, appliance applications claim to be easier to support. I wonder when matter management systems will be bundled as appliances (See my post of April 26, 2006: ASP or self-hosted software: and July 5, 2006: online compliance training systems through the internet.).