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The flip side of innovation is risk aversion

No one can carry out a new idea who is too afraid of failure. Risk shadows novelty, so as much as we prate about the benefits of creativity (See my post of Nov. 24, 2007: creativity in-house and click here for a PDF of my article Download rees_morrison_creativity_12207.pdf.) we must be mindful that we are dealing with many lawyers who are by personality, training, or context allergic to risk (See my post of June 30, 2007 with its four references to risk aversion in lawyers.).

Cautious lawyers, who dread the sting of “error,” won’t come up with something new – let alone try something new – unless they feel protected from the stigma of stumbling. At the same time, general counsel look favorably on improved ways of doing something. They favor innovation and its hand maiden creativity. At the same time, general counsel and those who report to them fear making mistakes and see ugly dragons of legal risk in every corner (See my post of June 30, 2007 about risk attitudes among lawyers and four references cited.). We will try forever to square this.

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