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Are Your Ears Burning? Listen to What GCs Say Behind Your Back

If you are outside counsel, don't be surprised to learn that general counsel talk behind your back.

It's practically a requirement because GCs have a duty to inform their clients about the good and the bad of outside representation. At best, outside counsel can hope it's all good.

But the reality is that inside counsel have a different perspective. The best thing to do is listen to them carefully, and maybe you'll get a clue about what they say about you behind closed doors.

Procter & Gamble Wants to Trademark WTF

So let's get this right. Procter & Gamble wants to trademark WTF?

Sorry, but we're pretty sure they didn't coin the acronym or the phrase it represents. LOL.

Oh yeah, they want to trademark that, too. Wait, are we missing something?

It was recently reported that the CEO for CBS, Leslie Moonves, has hired a high profile attorney to protect him from the investigation of his alleged sexual misconduct against six women who spoke to a reporter from the New Yorker.

If you haven't heard the news, CBS, which has largely avoided any #MeToo fallout, recently was rocked by allegations that the CEO attempted to force himself upon, and even going so far as to kiss, subordinates during meetings, and faced no consequences. And though some of these allegations took place many years ago, in the court of public opinion, and when it comes to business, it doesn't matter. On news of the report, CBS's stock price fell, and still hasn't recovered.

In House Job Wanted: Must Pay More Than $15 an Hour

Stephen R. Williams is not a math whiz, but he can do simple division.

As in-house counsel for hospitals, Williams recently calculated that he averaged 18-hour days for a week. He was practically doing resident doctors' hours.

After wiping limited sleep from his eyes, he realized that over a $100,000-salary year it would be about $15 an hour. That's right, in-house attorneys sometimes make less than burger flippers.

Company's Loss Turns Into Lawyer's Nightmare

There is a sleepless night in every lawyer's career.

For Donald J. McNeil, that night has probably lasted a long time. McNeil and company took the brunt of a heavy-handed slap in federal court.

If the lawyers weren't awake during the trial and appeal, they should be now. The appeals court blamed them for a $340,000 loss and sanctioned their client with opposing counsel's fees, too.

It's no secret that the legal profession, like every other industry, has not rid itself of the invidious scourge of sexism and discrimination. In fact, a recent study revealed that the not-so mythological "old boys club" plays a significant part in why female partners are selected less often than male partners by clients.

According to a recent study, the numbers are rather jarring. Male clients will choose a female partner to handle their matter only 17 percent of the time. Almost more shocking, when it's a female client, the number only increases to 25 percent. Interestingly, and making the dismal numbers even more disappointing, as Above the Law explained, the statistics on performance quality between male and female led teams of attorneys tend to be about equal. Additionally, single gender teams performed worse than teams that included both genders. 

Legal Work Is an Inside Job Now

If you felt the ground shifting, it was not an earthquake. That was the playing field changing law practice.

According to a new report, more than half of the legal work at companies is being done in house. That's bad news for outside counsel.

On the other hand, that is good news for general counsel, legal operators, and others who are rolling with the changes.

Project Management for In-House Counsel

General counsel are naturals at project management, even though they may not realize it.

It's like the kid who has a natural pitching arm, but only throws rocks. They need to get out of the corn field and onto the playing field.

At a time when more law firms have project managers, companies need in-house lawyers with comparable skills. It's about managing the teams.

We might all know that lawyering is secretly a service industry job. In the business world, lawyers are all too often reminded of this fact. And while our fragile egos tend to be okay with being service industry employees thanks to the high price tag associated with legal services, being commoditized might make some lawyers cringe.

Unfortunately for those business lawyers that cringe at the thought of being a commodity, the group of corporate overlords at PricewaterhouseCoopers are leading the charge to make temporary in house legal services easier to access for companies with budgets that range from large to larger.

Microsoft Plans to Phase Out Billable Hours

If you are lucky enough to have Microsoft as a client, don't complain that the company will not pay your hourly fees.

The company has announced that it will no longer pay hourly attorney's fees, opting for alternative billing arrangements with select law firms. It's a two-year project, but the future is almost here.

As in-house counsel know, the alternative fee agreement is the new normal. Outside counsel should consider themselves lucky to get the business.