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Some connections between knowledge and power regarding law departments

Power and knowledge accumulate together and feed each other. The more a lawyer knows about the law and the company the lawyer represents, the more influence that lawyer wields. The deeper the experience of a law firm partner, the more power that partner has to charge healthy fees. Information, as Michel Foucault famously formulated it, leads to knowledge, which fuels power in a variety of forms. This deep inter-connection coalesced for me from Joel Mokyr, The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain 1700-1850 (Yale Univ. 2009) at 35.

The nexus of power – the ability to decide and make something happen – and knowledge shows up everywhere for law departments. Favored law firms have earned that respect, generally speaking, because they know how to solve legal problems and accomplish legal work. Their effectiveness imbues them with power. High potential lawyers enjoy preferential treatment because their abilities outshine their peers’. Their extraordinary competence gives them a form of power. Executives in a company manifest power in many ways, such that lawyers who serve them treat them differently than they treat less powerful clients. That is the way life works: rank has its privileges.

A law department’s clout corresponds to how effectively it solves problems and accomplishes legal services. Power = knowledge.

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