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Showing posts from January, 2011

If your GC reports to the CFO, your company doesn't understand what Legal does

After my provocative blog about British lawyers, some of you were probably thinking of Clement Atlee's immortal comment that "a period of silence on your part would be welcome". However, after reading an interesting post from @BrettTechLawyer, in his guest appearance on @LegalBizzle's blog (here), I'm being lured out of my silence a little earlier than intended.

It certainly isn't my intention to question the value and the role of in-house counsel. On the contrary, I believe that in-house counsel are a crucial part of better decision making in companies. My contention is that many companies under use or misuse lawyers, both in-house and out-house. Rather than cast this as an in-house -v- out-house debate, it's more interesting to explore why that is and what we can do to change it.

For all lawyers, the most important fact, which they often poorly grasp, is that finance is the language of senior management. So, if you're an in-houser and you aren't…

Leadership, lawyers & the British

Some of the world's most famous and effective leaders have been lawyers: Abraham Lincoln; Gandhi; Margaret Thatcher; Bill Clinton; Tony Blair; Thomas Moore; Thomas Cromwell. Take your pick. Even if they aren't all equally admired by history, all of them were lawyers. Barack Obama is just one in a long line.  

So, a question. Why is it that, when it comes to the world of business, lawyers spend a lot of time agonizing about their role and trying to articulate clearly how they add value, instead of getting on and leading their organizations? Lincoln wasn't dithering about his role when he delivered his address at Gettysburg, promising that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth".

These days, you could spend a whole year drifting from conference to conference listening to lawyers discussing the role of lawyers in the commercial setting. Meanwhile, in-housers smugly complain about out-housers refusing to address &quo…

Podcast on life as an In-House lawer

Series of podcasts by College of Law, mine on life as an in house lawyer. Interesting perspectives from others, far more illustrious than me. http://bit.ly/eJLSSK