Thursday, June 05, 2008

There May Be Trouble in River City

Your GC has just called you into her office to tell you that there may be difficult times ahead for the law department. Superstar has just been appointed to run your division and he is the head on favorite to become President and CEO. Superstar was an engineer by training and his aggressive management style that resulted in the complete turn around of a plant that had been scheduled to be shut down had caught the attention of senior management and the Board.

They are grooming him for the top spot and had sent him off to get his MBA at some college that was in the fly-over-zone (that is the vast area between the coasts where perhaps only one or two academic institutions are taken seriously). Typically, this would not be considered a problem; however, this particular graduate school had apparently developed a new approach to teaching law in their curriculum—they not only taught doctrine, they apparently give their students an analytical paradigm that provided them with the ability to effectively manage legal issues and their lawyers. They could understand the economic implications of different choices in designing and implementing contracts and they expected their lawyers to integrate business alternatives in their contractual design (yes, they called it design not drafting).

The GC said she also understood that they also were challenging the validity of traditional case analysis as an effective way to predict legal outcomes, and appeared to understand the economic implications of legal procedure. The GC conceded that although she was a graduate of Super U Law School, she did not recall being exposed to much of this. She said that she had heard that Superstar was concerned about the extent of litigation in his division and one of his priorities was to contact you to address this problem. She wanted you to know and said she would do all she could to help you, but simply did not know what to expect.

You walked out of her office waiting for the call from Superstar.

-Larry Salibra
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