28 February 2008

He's a Rules Guy

One of my favorite legal bloggers, Sun General Counsel Mike Dillon, suggests a number of ways that practicing in-house is different than in a firm. All are worth considering and, for those of us in-house already, internalizing; amongst the many highlights are these points:
  • "You are a business person. Your business is providing legal services to your company. Constantly focus on how to deliver high quality legal services in the most efficient manner possible."
  • "To be effective in-house, you need to collaborate and work as part of a team. Individuals don't scale because we are each limited by the hours in a day...."
  • "You will know that you have achieved success when your client says: 'You don't act like an attorney'."
  • "Understand how you are adding value to your department - your department to your company - your company to the world. This requires an in-depth knowledge of your company's business, competitors and markets."
At least in my own professional thinking, Dillon's rules are as useful at encapsulating the important concepts of in-house practice as the eight attributes of the go-to lawyer which I wrote about in 2006. Dillon mentioned that he's "interested in hearing whether these resonate with other in-house attorneys"; the answer is that they did with at least one.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mike a couple of years ago at a legal bloggers meet-up in Silicon Valley. For those of you who've not yet made the acquaintance of Sun's "Legal Thing", Rob LaGatta of the Real Lawyers Have Blogs site recently interviewed him about his blogging.

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