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Some training of lawyers who later join companies does not play well inside

Law school and law firm culture inculcate three orientations that pull at cross-purposes to what consummate in-house attorneys need to do. These three values, as quoted, come from a General Counsel Roundtable publication.

“Excessive focus on quality.” This may serve law review authors and citation checkers as well as associates racking up billable hours, but in the hurly-burly of business, practical advice given quickly rings the bell. As they say, the perfect can be the enemy of the good.

“Bias against scalable solutions.” Bespoke craftsmanship, one-on-one counsel, and a credo of careful attention to each client’s needs hobbles an in-house lawyer’ embrace of technology that allows knowledge sharing and one-to-many delivery systems (See my post of May 18, 2008: self service with 7 references.). In-house lawyers need to promote leverageable, disseminated legal knowledge.

“Interest in in-person service delivery.” Old-school, set up a meeting in a week, shake hands and sit down to talk it out stumbles when clients in every time zone bombard the corporate lawyer electronically. Instead, intranet postings, emails, distribution lists, and teleconferences are the preferred and necessary practice in-house.

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