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The productivity of in-house counsel

At a fundamental level, the output of a legal department, both quality and quantity, depends on how diligently its members work. Ability counts, hugely, but sheer doggedness and concentration goes a very long way. So, when I read in the NY Times, Feb. 26, 2012 at BU8, about “research showing that the average employee admits to wasting two hours a day on nonwork tasks,” I wasted no time to busy myself on this post.

We may never have solid numbers on the number of hours logged by in-house counsel, let alone how many of those hours are “wasted.” For many reasons, none of that will gel. I don’t trust self-reported hours from in-house counsel, to say nothing of numbers pulled out of the air by survey takers.

The article claims that one out of five people are chronic procrastinators. Try proving that number! It does point out that more productive people tend to focus on progress over perfection. For in-house lawyers, too, it is sound advice: Keeping moving the ball along and correct your course as you go.