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The risk that employed lawyers lose their “sense of craft”

The Fin. Times, July 11, 2006 at 10 refers to Prof. Richard Sennett, a professor the London School of Economics. Sennet argues that many professional people in corporations are judged according to their position in an occupational hierarchy, not by the quality of their craft. You are assessed as a VP and Associate GC, with attendant expectations, rather than as a consummate negotiator and drafter of acquisition agreements.

Stennet further believes that professionals, such as lawyers, are motivated to do a good job for its own sake, rather than just to meet a production target. A patent lawyer strives to prepare excellent applications, not hit a goal of 4.5 apps/month. If you remove from them their craftsmanship, morale plummets. I agree with his analysis, and regret that to the degree Stennet is correct, it is harder to manage in-house lawyers.

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