General counsel, struggling to find ways to improve, ask their team to “think out of the box.” They do not mean, I have come to believe, that they are looking for a novel solution. It is a rare law department that wants to wear an untested idea and it is very difficult, in any event, to create a management initiative from whole cloth, one that has not been tried in some form elsewhere.
What general counsel want is for those struggling to improve operations not to be boxed in by their own presumptions, timidities, and perceived limitations. They want the team to question the number of offices that they have or their belief in a certain secretarial ratio. Most law departments could change significantly for the better without radical “extra-box” transformation.