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The inherent back-and-forth grumbling between HQ lawyers and business unit lawyers

A chronic complaint of business unit lawyers is that the mandarins off at headquarters pursue their own agendas on their own time and pace. They are out of touch with the rough-and-tumble of making a dollar. HQ doesn’t feel the same urgency and pressures as the lawyers at the coal face, in the hinterlands where real work gets done to make money. It’s all well and good to issue policies and gather data, imposing requirements without letting us add staff or get funds, your ivory tower, your “lawyers’-lawyers” attitude can be really galling.

From the other end of the looking glass, lawyers in the central headquarters group feel they are surrounded by mavericks, myopics, and “me-onlys” (going native). Most of the time they are red-lining indemnifications, dealing with crises of miniscule importance, flogging product and services, and cuddling up to clients. More business mongrel than legal beagle, the lawyers “out in the field” are farm hands, hardly capable of finely reasoned legal magic. Face it, they barely have to deal with smart partners at big, expensive firms! They don’t bump into the hot-shots of executive management and have to finesse razor-sharp consultants and strategic planners! Life is balmy out in the provinces, unlike the hot-house pressure of MBAs and PhDs at headquarters.

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