Ten Things You Need To Know As In-House Counsel

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In my last post, I dealt with the importance and effectiveness of 1:1 meetings from the viewpoint of the employee.[1]  As promised, I will now discuss 1:1 meetings from the viewpoint of the manager. The first thing you should do is go back and re-read the last post because pretty much everything on that list applies to the manager side of the equation as well, either in terms of understanding where your employee is…
A few months back I took some swings at meetings in general, i.e. Escaping Meeting Hell.  But, as I noted, not all meetings are “bad” and many are necessary, especially for in-house counsel.  Of the meetings in-house counsel must attend, none should rank higher than your 1:1 meetings with your boss.  You may think it is just more administrative bullshit you have to make time for during your already crowded week – and you…
I remember back in law school making fun of our fellow students who had business degrees.  We called it the “study of the obvious” and mocked them relentlessly.  Of course, I had to run away and hide when they pushed back and asked what my major was – it’s hard to stand tall and claim “political science” as a worthier endeavor.  Still, as always, it’s better to be the mocker than the mock-ee!  Once I…
I have been looking back at the last four or five blog posts (e.g., strategic lawyer, showing value, dealing with a pandemic) and see that they are all pretty long.  Really, really long.  It’s as if someone dug up Grantland Rice, dumped him on the ground, and gave him a laptop.[1]  I think we all deserve a break.  So, this week I am going to cut things back a bit…
[Since the last “Ten Things” post there are now over 4,000 followers of this blog.  Thank you!!] Welcome to day 987 of “Shelter-in-Place.”  Brought to you by our good friends at COVID-19 – courtesy of unprepared governments everywhere!  Okay, that’s a little snarky and it’s really only day 17 or so for me (but it sure feels like 987 days).  Like most of you reading this, I have been working from home, practicing social distancing,…
Greetings from 35,000 feet!  Well, at least that is where I was when I started this post.  It was not my intention to write about the Coronavirus but – after a vodka soda and a little reflection – my intended topic just didn’t seem as important given the “new normal” of March 2020.  I usually try to stay away from topical issues because they grow stale quickly.  The only exception I have made to this…
If there is one question in-house lawyers ask me the most, it’s this: how do I show the value of the legal department?  Boy, do I feel your pain.  Having sat in the general counsel chair several times, if there is anything more elusive than the answer to this particular question, I’d like to know what it is.  Sasquatch? The meaning of life? Why people eat New York-style pizza?  These dazzling riddles are all child’s…
When I was a kid there was a Saturday morning cartoon show called Sealab 2020.  I remember thinking that was a long, long way off and wondering how old I would be when 2020 rolled around – – and whether by then there would really be a giant lab on the bottom of the sea with 250 oceanauts fighting sea monsters and battling pollution.  But, here we are; it’s 2020!  I am officially old(ish) and,…
Well, it’s time for the last “Ten Things” blog of 2019.  It’s been a pretty good year for the blog: it passed five years of “bloggership” and is approaching 4,000 subscribers, it was named one of the Top Thirty Legal Blogs by SimplyLegal, the post on “How to Read a Contract” was the most popular article of 2019 on InCounsel Weekly, and the ABA published the second “Ten Things” book.  It will be hard…
As we come to the end of 2019, I wanted to write about an issue I hear a lot about.  In fact, in many of my conversations with in-house counsel, this is the number one topic, i.e., “how do I become a strategic in-house lawyer?”  While sometimes this is a self-generated concern, it arises mostly because someone (the CEO, the General Counsel, or whomever) told the lawyer during an annual review or another setting that…