I help company owners and executives manage their legal and regulatory functions to control costs and to prevent legal trouble before it arises.
Attorneys are good at technical legal expertise. But they’re bad at cost control and liability prevention.
The problem is not in lawyer quality or supply. There is no shortage of capable business lawyers in every conceivable specialty.
The problem is in the way that attorneys’ price their work, organize their workflows, and assign people to tasks – decisions that business owners and executives make for every other company function. But for legal and regulatory compliance, the business models for law firms and in-house counsel put those pricing, workflow organization, and people assignment decisions beyond business owners’ and executives’ control.
As a result, prevailing law firm and in-house counsel offerings contain prejudgments about pricing, workflow, and people assignment that no general manager would tolerate anywhere else in the business. As a practicing lawyer I didn’t question this.
Then I accepted a corporate client’s invitation to run one of its divisions.
Once I moved to the client side of the lawyer / client table, I concluded that 20 to 40% of legal and regulatory compliance spending is waste. And I learned that winning a case isn’t as good as preventing liability before it arises.
In a general management role I understood that my company needed the technical expertise that attorneys deliver. But we did not need their blind spots — blind spots I’d experienced firsthand — about pricing their work, organizing their workflows, and assigning people to tasks in the delivery of that expertise.
Law firm and in-house counsel have demonstrated that attorneys rarely overcome those blind spots in the company of other attorneys. Cost control and management disciplines in legal and regulatory compliance — as in any other part of the company — requires meaningful accountability to the owners and executives who are responsible for the P&L.
What owners and executives need an honest broker on their side of the lawyer / client table to secure the technical legal expertise that they actually need from their lawyers – and to achieve the cost control and liability prevention that their lawyers don’t give them.
With deep experience on both sides of the lawyer / client table, I serve as that honest broker.