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Some management observations about New York City’s Office of Corporation Counsel

A recent profile of Michael A. Cardozo, Corporation Counsel for New York City, adds to what this blog has already reported about his Office (See my posts of July 18, 2006 regarding a book written about it; and Dec. 31, 2006 on some pre-1900 references to the Corporation Counsel.).

Cardozo leads a staff of 1,300 employees, 690 of them attorneys organized into 17 legal divisions. Sheer size means huge management opportunities and resources (See my posts of .Aug. 31, 2005 about time recording for the Office of Corporation Counsel’s 650 lawyers; and Aug. 31, 2005 on its practice of sending hypothetical bills to clients.).

A second point, from the Nat. L.J., Vol. 29, July 23, 2007 at 8, is that “New York City gets sued approximately 200 times every week, and about 65 cases go to trial each week.” That litigation flood means that many new attorneys get immediate litigation experience and even so the Office “borrows lawyers from large law firms.” Huge workloads summon up creativity, such as secondments (See my post of May 21, 2006 on the Office’s improvements regarding tort litigation.).

Third, “women make up 65% of [Cardozo’s] staff and whites perhaps less than 50%.” According to him, “the office has the largest number of gay and lesbian attorneys of any municipal law department in the country.” Size, location, and compensation influence diversity figures in a law department (See my posts of Sept. 10, 2005 on how the Office hires from top law schools; and Aug. 27, 2005 on a long-serving member.).