InCounsel Weekly #41: How to Budget Legal Spend, Debunking The Myth of Patriarchy, Cartoon Contracts, DD Case Study and A Dumb Phone

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Bite-sized insights for in-house counsel and creative legal minds. If you like this content, hit the button below to get the email edition :)


What's your run-rate?

If you’re running the in-house legal function, each year you’ll need to complete one particularly thankless task: preparing an annual legal budget.

That means figuring out (for the US) in October what you’ll be spending in August of the next year.

Here’s Marketo’s General Counsel, Sterling Miller, walking us through his big white board of numbers, planning his 2018 legal spend.

For budgeting veterans or first-time budgeteers, there’s some very useful stuff in here.


It's no myth

He offered this sage advice:

I suggest to my female colleagues that more work, less complaining will achieve far more than blaming the mythical patriarchy.

And with that, like many, Carly Stebbing – Managing Director of Resolution123 – was “gob smacked.”

Here’s her response to “The myth of patriarchy”, a published letter to the Law Society which called the Law Council’s Gender Equitable Briefing Policy “sexist” and “offensive”.


Cartoon contracts

Smart people in Finland and Cape Town are building contracts using drawings, and even cartoons.

It’s part of an emerging discipline called contract design.

And it’s not just for creative lawyers – this month in Toronto, Gary Crag from Nexen Energy, won an International Association of Commercial Contract Management award for simplified and visual contract design.

… we developed a document set that could be easily understood and digested by small to medium sized firms that might be less sophisticated than the big multi-nationals we normally dealt with.


A case study

When Baxter’s legal department needed to review 100,000 contracts for it’s de-merger in 2015, they teamed up with Bakers for the wheat and Elevate for the chaff, saving a cool $500K.

The key components involved:

  • Designing a workflow and process to split the contracts;
  • Using AI to surface the important ones; and
  • Getting the right people to review them.

Set in the context of a broader post about new players driving value for legal departments, penned by Legal Mosiac’s Mark Cohen and Liam Brown of Elevate.


Put it away

Do you keep your phone on your desk while working?

Well, here’s the thing:

Your cognitive capacity is significantly reduced when your smartphone is within reach — even if it’s off. That’s the takeaway finding from a new study from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin.

It’s because:

Your conscious mind isn’t thinking about your smartphone, but that process — the process of requiring yourself to not think about something — uses up some of your limited cognitive resources. It’s a brain drain.

The End

David and Lexoo manage to find the best of the web for this newsletter – from the highly relevant to the eclectic, but always worth a read.
— Jeremy Stevenson, General Counsel at CHAMP Private Equity.

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