Zealous non-Advocacy

We’ve covered this before. This time, instead of “make them fight for every inch,” it was a variant of “my anatomy is bigger than your anatomy.” Here’s an excerpt from a conference call negotiation over an acquisition agreement. Not verbatim, but pretty close. Read more »

How Not To Get Legal Business

One of our most popular posts is about How to Get Legal Business. Here’s a way how not to get new clients. Read more »

No Good Deed . . .

Here’s an example of a great company (Hyatt Hotels) getting completely hosed for going overboard to help a disabled employee. The employee expresses his gratitude by suing his employer. Thousands of wasted defense dollars later, thank goodness the 7th circuit saw this for what it was: complete nonsense.
Read the opinion here.


Useless Advice

If your firm goes to the trouble of researching, drafting and publishing an article on a legal development, and you fail to include any practical advice other than, “Be sure to consult legal counsel before [insert reason we bothered reading your article in the first place],” you’ve lost an opportunity to impress us.

Client, Be Quiet!

We’re in litigation with a large company. Both sides are represented by careful, competent outside counsel. Both sides have an ongoing business relationship outside of the disputed matter. The other side has just made a mistake. Read more »

Profits per Partner

A high profits per partner rank sends an important message to clients: “we’ve got margin to burn.”  Read more »

Pushing risk across the table

We came across this excellent post by Patrick J. Lamb at In Search of Perfect Client Service awhile ago, and recently passed it on to colleagues whose outside counsel are doing the “alternative fee shuffle”.  We’re all kidding ourselves when we define “alternative fees” as “anything that’s not straight hourly rates.”  As Patrick says: Read more »

Point two five

For the longest time only quantum physicists observing special relativity, and judges (see, e.g., Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §473) could enlarge time.  Not to be left out of the fun, lawyers invented the “minimum billing increment”, i.e. the smallest unit of billable time to be charged for a work task. Read more »

Zealous Advocacy That Isn’t

So we’ve been in the middle of some (finally) productive m&a activity in the last few months.  Like daisies after a rainstorm, the dormant deal lawyers haven’t been far behind. And so are some of their maddening concepts of client service. Read more »

Your R&D is not my capital investment … it’s yours.

So last weekend, on a quiet nondescript morning, coffee freshly poured I thought, “No finer time than right now to review some law firm invoices.”  Ok, I didn’t really think that, but since this past week was going to be highly unproductive (it didn’t disappoint) it was time to get the mundane out of the way.

I pulled the first one off the stack.  The General Matters invoice.  There was only one entry:

“Review recent court decisions concerning intellectual property rights.  0.6 hrs.”

The expense statement was even better.

“LEXIS/NEXIS case searches for recent court decisions concerning intellectual property rights . . . . . $467.00″

Now all this would be perfectly acceptable if we had actually engaged the firm to do some research.  But we hadn’t.  Hmmm… this was probably just another time entry foul-up (expense charge too — same day, probably automated).  No big deal.  We’ll just call and have it fixed. Read more »


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