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Would an all-star legal department result in lower total legal spending as a percentage of revenue?

If effective management all comes down to people, why wouldn’t a legal department staffed only with Harvard Law Review editors not drive total legal spending as low as possible? They would think rings around other in-house groups in negotiations and strategy, they would extract the most from outside counsel – mostly using them for bulk tasks, and they would shrewdly and far-sightedly counsel clients.

True, high compensation would be the price, but off-the-charts pay would be trivial in comparison to the savings and risks sidestepped. True, the clash of egos might be titanic but the legal sparks would fly! True, the tenure of the standout lawyers might be short, but meanwhile the accolades, the acclaim! True, the management of that egotistical bunch might be nightmarish, but the brilliance in staff meetings …

Truth be told, it’s a rotten idea.

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