InCounsel Weekly #48: Top Ten Reads for GCs in 2017

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Your final edition for the year… here’s a list of your top ten reads (ranked by click-through) across 47 issues for 2017 😄


#1. Law Firms to Meet Diversity Mandate or Forfeit 10% of Fees

“I haven’t seen anything like this,” says Gary Sasso, vice-chairman of talent development for the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.

This was his reaction to HP General Counsel, Kim Rivera’s plan to withhold up to 10% of invoiced fees for firms that fail to meet HP’s diversity standards.

Some general counsel have talked about favoring law firms that are more successful in diversity and inclusion and, in extreme cases, deciding to work less with law firms that were less aggressive [on diversity].

This takes it to a new level, and with the Law Council of Australia’s new national program to tackle ‘boys’ club’ bias in legal profession, we might finally start to move the needle on law firm diversity at the leadership level.


#2. How to Work From Home and Get Stuff Done

Here’s a great tip sheet for all the work-from-home warriors out there (or those aspiring to be), from the founder of freelanship, Lauren err… Holiday.

Before you get the wrong impression:

… don’t let this phenomenal benefit fool you, remote work is a lot of work. Not to mention, it’s a very different way of work. While awesome, working from home presents challenges around communication, productivity, and company culture.

#3. In-house + Hyper-growth

For anyone in-house at a hyper-growth company or for those looking to join a startup as lawyer #1, here’s a wrap of the main issues you’ll face (and how to deal with them) from four lawyers steering the course at Stripe, Lending Club, Thumbtack and Silicon Valley Bank.

On figuring out top priorities, managing counsel at Thumbtack, Steve Siger adds:

I find that figuring out what to do and the order to do it in is, often times, harder than doing the actual work. It takes quite a bit of time to determine what ‘urgent’ actually means at a given company.

#4. How to feel like a superstar

Most slide decks are boring.

This one isn’t.

Here’s VillageMD’s General Counsel, Wendy Rubas giving her authentic, story-board account how she built out a metric-driven legal department from scratch.

Delivered at this year’s Forum on Legal Evolution, you can check out her slides here.


#5. A Legal Department Style Guide

This is the first time I’ve seen this – a free style guide for your in-house legal department.

And there’s probably no better arbiter of style than the folks at Adobe.

According to their legal team:

We use it as the foundation of the way we create and revise our agreements, processes, policies and trainings to ensure that they are models of clarity and simplicity, and that we communicate with a common voice.

#6. Inbox Zero

I’m a big fan of inbox zero. And like many lawyers, I’m OCD when it come to filing emails.

But there’s always a cheeky handful of messages that stubbornly squat in my inbox, refusing to be tucked away into a file or archive – things like important tasks, follow-ups, invoices to pay, flight itineraries etc.

Until now.

Here’s a super neat tool to clear out your inbox, set reminders and follow-ups, starting from $0, nothing to install 😍


#7. Prize Promotions

For anyone running trade promotions, prize draws or games of chance, go and bookmark this site.

Simply select your topic e.g. “prize draws”; select your countries and get detailed, up to date guidance backed by the might of DLA Piper.

Cost: $0.00

Hat tip to the AU counsel of a global startup for surfacing this one.


#8. In-house and Agile

If you’re an in-house lawyer or GC thinking about how to improve your team’s legal operations – here’s one for you.

Frances Dunn is Senior Legal Counsel at Netwealth Investments, and she’s been using the ‘agile methodology’ to manage her legal team’s workload for the past 14 months.

And from what we’ve seen, she’s absolutely nailing it.

Our Agile wall captures the universe of tasks we need or want or hope to deliver to the business, from ‘urgent’ right through to ‘wishlist’. Rather than create a user story for each task, I adopt the user story that has been articulated by the business, as I find this helps me ensure the end legal product or advice is fit for purpose.

#9. Using JIRA to Manage Your In-house Legal Matters

When I found out that Megaport’s in-house legal team were using JIRA to manage their matters, it immediately piqued my interest.

That’s because JIRA is a project management tool that is super popular with software developers using Agile methodology.

Lucky for us, Anna Hale and Sarah McCulloch were delighted share their experience using the software with us.

In their words:

From an in-house legal team perspective, the reporting functionality in JIRA is a godsend because, you know, quite often, as an in-house team, you struggle to find ways to prove your benefits to the wider business.

#10. The leaking diversity funnel

As part of their Women in the Workplace research, McKinsey & Co. conducted a deep dive on women in law firms in North America.

The inaugural study drew on survey responses by more than 2,500 lawyers and information from 23 of the nation’s top law firms.

The results are far from impressive.

Download the full report here.


The End

I love reading these gems each week with a fresh coffee.
— Melissa Scott, Legal Counsel at Megaport.

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