Month: February 2018

Ten Things: An Index to all the Posts (November 2014 – March 2018)

I have been on the road good bit lately.  I spoke on Artificial Intelligence and ethics at the South Carolina Law Review 2018 Symposium a couple of weeks ago.  Last week, I presented at the Winston & Strawn 2018 VISION Conference in Dallas on how to be more productive.  Down the road, I will be speaking at the ACC Legal Operations Conference in Chicago in June on practical uses of Artificial Intelligence for in-house legal departments and I will be back at the annual Texas Bar Association Advanced In-House Counsel Course in Dallas in August.  The interesting thing to me is that all these opportunities came about because of this blog.  Which means I continue to be very humbled by the fact that so many people find it worth their time to read it.  We’re up to almost 2,600 direct subscribers and aiming for 3,000.  I remember when I thought 100 would be amazing.   Now I’m just thunderstruck (okay, I could have used a different word but when would I ever get to use “thunderstruck” in a sentence again?)

If you’re new to the blog, one thing I do every so often is put together an index of all of the blog posts, going all the way back to the beginning, November 2014.  I do this because I know it’s very difficult to go back and search through the monthly archives to see what’s there (and because I am too lazy to create an index on the website).   As I put this index edition together, I see that I am almost to 80 posts (and it is fun for me to go back and read the older ones).  By the time I do another index I may be over 100.  I keep thinking that at some point either I or the people that read it will get bored with “Ten Things.”  But, we’re not there yet (at least not on my end).  The good news is that I am still learning and going back in-house has shown me that there are so many things I am curious about regarding the law.  There are many new and exciting developments for in-house counsel and I am excited to be part of it.  Put another way: I still have a lot to write about (and maybe “time management” will be on the list)!  Thanks for taking the journey with me:



Ten Things: How to Lead

I have always been impressed by those who seem to come to “leadership” effortlessly.  For some, it’s charisma and likeability.  For others, it’s the aura of gravitas that emanates from them.  Many become leaders because they survive the crucible of a crisis and their leadership skills simply emerge.  Whatever it is, I think most in-house lawyers wonder how people become good leaders because, ideally, in-house lawyers want to be good leaders themselves (of people, projects, etc.).  Sometimes, I look at myself and ponder how did I get to be the leader of three different legal departments? I can tell you for sure that it wasn’t something I was born with.  Luck played a part.  But I think most of my leadership abilities derive from having tremendous mentors over many years who were not only excellent role models but were generous with their time and feedback on things I did well and things I could work on (usually more of the latter).  But, not everyone is so lucky.  Sometimes, you have to teach yourself what it takes.  For example, I learned a lot from watching people who I thought were not good leaders, and promising myself to never be like them.  As I have come off the bench to take on my third general counsel position, I know that leadership matters. It is expected from the Board, your boss, and your team.  Without it, you’re probably doomed in long run to hold onto the role.  Over the past few months, I have been looking back on the things that worked or didn’t work during my first two tours and am trying to be a better leader every day.  As I have thought it over, I have prioritized the qualities that I think make for the best leaders for legal departments (or anywhere for that matter).  This edition of “Ten Things” shares what I think are the key traits for legal department leadership: