Ten Things You Need To Know As In-House Counsel

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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…
I do a lot of coaching of in-house lawyers and one question I am often asked is “should I look for a new job?”  From experience, I understand that deciding to look for a new position is one of the hardest decisions an in-house lawyer has to make.  There are many articles discussing moving from law firms to in-house and vice versa, but few – if any – on the decision that most frequently faces…
It’s a nice, cool late October morning, the time of year when the shadows grow darker and longer and “spooky” stuff lurks around every corner.  You’re at your desk sipping some coffee and checking emails when a new one comes in from Sarah, the CIO, marked “Urgent.”  She says that she received a letter from some outfit called the Business Software Alliance asking the company to conduct an audit of its use of “Company X”…
If you’ve been an in-house lawyer long enough you know that one thing as inevitable as taxes, death, and another Fast and the Furious movie is meetings.  Lots and lots of meetings.  Meetings you set, meetings you’re invited to, meetings with the boss, meetings as the boss, status meetings, “kick-off” meetings, post-mortem meetings, meetings with law firms, meetings about all the damn meetings you’re having, meetings… well, you get the point.  Some days you look…
I recently heard from someone I worked with when I was General Counsel of Travelocity.  She was on the business side and worked on a lot of contracts.  She reached out because she remembered an article I had written and posted on the legal department intranet site about “how to read contracts.”  It was something I wrote for the business so they would be better prepared to work with my team on contracts.  Apparently, she…
Well, it’s that time of year again.  Every August for the last several years I have devoted a “Ten Things” blog post to talking about super useful technology for in-house lawyers.  Fortunately, there is always more cool tech to talk about and this year is no different.  That said, if you want to go back and revisit some of the past cool tech blogs click here (2016, 2017, 2018).  The ground…
I have been struggling to write this post about KPIs.  It’s taken way longer than it should have – with several starts and stops.  First, should it be KPI or KPIs?  Just like the debate over RBI and RBIs in baseball, passions run hot on this point.  I think KPIs sounds better so I’m going with that.  Second – and slightly more important than the KPI/KPIs controversy – KPIs don’t work particularly well for in-house…
It used to be that companies selected outside counsel based on things like relationships, reputation, and tickets to sporting events/fancy dinners.  Those days are fading fast, especially beginning around 2008 and the resulting aftermath of the “Great Recession.”  That’s not to say that the above are no longer important (who doesn’t like front row NBA tickets?), but more and more the selection of outside counsel is based on the same principles and processes the company…
[I realized too late after my last post that I have surpassed 100 blogs.  Wow.  No celebration but, to be honest, I never imagined I’d write that many when I started “Ten Things” back in November 2014.  But, here we are, all dressed up and lots of places still to go.  So, thanks for reading and keep those emails and suggestions coming!]   As an in-house lawyer, I was always interested in any legitimate way I…