Month: August 2016

Ten Things: How to Delegate – The Essentials

It’s 5:30 a.m. morning and no one is up.  You figure if you get up early you can get ahead of the emails and do some productive work.  It’s lunch time.  You figure if you eat at your desk you can get ahead of the emails and do some productive work.  It’s 6:30 p.m. and you just got home from the office.  You figure if you fire up your laptop for an hour you can get ahead of the emails and do some productive work.  It’s 10:30 p.m., the kids are asleep, your spouse is watching “Game of Thrones” and you figure it’s the perfect time to get ahead of the emails and do some productive work before you go to sleep.  It’s the weekend, you… Okay, I’ll stop.  I know you get it.  Just about any in-house lawyer worth their salt has been/is locked in this cycle.  The problem is you never get ahead of the emails and you never have enough time to do productive work.  If you could delegate some of your work, you might be able to break free of this vicious pattern.  That sounds nice but a big part of the problem is that most lawyers suck at delegating.  Why is that?  It’s primarily because no one ever taught us how to delegate.  They just told us to delegate, which is about as helpful as telling us to “invent rocket fuel.”

I was an “okay” delegator as an in-house lawyer.  I got better over time because I slowly figured out the “how” of delegation.  Even now, as I look back, I realize I committed most of the classic errors and there was a lot more I could have done to better delegate work (and doing so would have made my team/department stronger and me less stressed).  Simply put, becoming good at delegation will allow you to be more productive and get your work done within a reasonable set of hours every day.  Since I know you also want to watch “Game of Thrones” now and then, this edition of “Ten Things” will discuss “how” to delegate:

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Ten Things: Litigation Financing – A Primer for In-House Counsel

It is a common refrain in legal departments all around the globe: how do we get enough money to do the things we need to do to protect the company?  There are always more matters clamoring for money than there is money available.  This is especially true with litigation.  If your company is being sued, you have little choice other than to spend the money needed to defend your interests (unless you feel a quick settlement is a better call).  If the company has meritorious claims, then it often faces the difficult choice of whether to spend the money needed to proceed.  If not, valuable claims may be lost.  If yes, then money that could be spent on other parts of the business is re-routed to legal fees – and, unfortunately, under accounting rules money “invested” in a litigation claim is not treated the same as money invested in the business generally.  To deal with this, in-house legal departments try a variety of measures to reduce legal expenses, from reduced hourly rates or fixed fees to contingency fees and blended rates or less expensive counsel.  See my blog post on effectively managing legal spend.

Over the past four or five years another potential solution has emerged.  Depending on which side of the table you are sitting, the solution is either a blessing or the manifestation of supreme evil.  The solution is called “litigation financing” and it is something every in-house counsel should be aware of and thinking about.  This edition of “Ten Things” will give you an outline of the basics around litigation financing:  (more…)