One great thing about the law.com Legal Blog Network family: you may quarrel, but it’s because you care and you still have each other’s back.
One of my cyber-colleagues is Rees Morrison, who directs the law department consulting practice at Hildebrandt. He also authors the excellent Law Department Management weblog–but then you probably already knew that.
Mindful that these posts may be the work of a clever troll, I am unable to resist biting the bait and responding to Brother Morrison:
1. Be wary of GCs who try their hand at consulting.
My view: If I were considering engaging a consultant as a GC (and Rees was busy), the fact that someone had actually played the game would be an important factor. Phil Jackson and Larry Brown are the best coaches in basketball in part because they were players, know the game from the inside out, and therefore have enhanced team credibility.
2. GCs should disclose the compensation (salary + bonus) at each level in their department.
I have an idea: try this at Hildebrandt first and let us know how it goes. My $.02 on the money issue starts with an agreement with Rees on benchmarking and balancing salary and incentive components. That said, too much of a focus on pay can be distracting, and feeds the native concerns of some people who never seem satisfied–even when they are at the top of the range. On a day-to-day level, how you treat people and communicate can be as important to elusive concepts of morale and trust, neither of which is easily benchmarked.
3. Many GCs are “disengaged”.
When you can’t beat ’em, quote ’em when they’re on a roll: “I havenâ€™t heard of or consulted to professionally depressed (disengaged) general counsel, but the law departments of this company must have their share, if the Gallup findings are generally valid and hold specifically for the subset of CLOs”. Whoa! I can’t respond to that logic except by noting that I know a goodly number of GCs. And the last thing I’d call any of them is disengaged. If anything, they are too engaged at times, and have difficulty stepping back from situations and reflecting before taking action.
All that said, Rees is extremely productive, always interesting and reliably informative. He’s almost extra-terrestrial in his corporate legal intelligence.