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Ten most thoughtful posts of August 2009 on Law Department Management Blog

Some readers of this blog might miss posts that I believe are especially stimulating, so I have been compiling each month the ten that hit this criterion (See my post of July 11, 2009: May; July 31, 2009: June; and Sept. 5, 2009: July.). After much deliberation, I selected these ten from the August batch and added a brief summary. Click if you want to read the full post.

  1. Push your law firms to budget matters by means of a narrowing fee funnel (Aug. 4, 2009)
  2. As a transaction or case proceeds, insist on tighter budget projections.

  3. Research: embedded ties between law firms and departments lower rates yet can increase firm profits (Aug. 5, 2009)
  4. Empirical research shows close ties with a client correlate with lower hourly fees.

  5. 32 steps each legal department can take to protect the environment (and reduce costs) (Aug. 7, 2009)
  6. Everyone in every legal department can apply several of these techniques.

  7. Dispersed benefits for a lawyer from external cost control, but concentrated costs (Aug. 10, 2009)
  8. Cost control benefits everyone, but if the deal goes sour, one person pays the price. The result: hard to implement cost-saving initiatives.

  9. The rational-choice model of economists as a framework for understanding legal departments (Aug. 12, 2009)
  10. Self-interest, rationality, and incentives are the core ideas of the rational-choice model, which applies to much of what happens in law departments.

  11. No tiers on my pillow: flaws of tiered discounts from hourly rates based on volume (Aug. 13, 2009)
  12. Three difficulties with tiered, volume discounts from law firms.

  13. 7. Law departments as “complex systems” (Aug. 24, 2009)
  14. No legal department obeys “laws of management.” Our understanding of legal departments will only come with a holistic sensibility. Unintended consequences happen all the time and the stasis of equilibrium – if it ever reaches that – is frequently punctuated. People change and modify their behavior

  15. Thirty (30) suggestions for better e-mail effectiveness (Aug. 26, 2009)
  16. Having evolved to homo emailiens, so these suggestions should be required reading

  17. The open-book approach to reaching a flat-fee agreement with a firm (Aug. 31, 2009)
  18. Tell your key firms everything you can about your matters and spending on which they might bid fixed fees.

  19. To compare different metrics, use the technique of stating them as standard deviations (Aug. 4, 2009)

Convert your benchmark metrics into standard deviations so that you can match yourself against peers on various metrics that have different scales.