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BLOG: Legal Evolution

This blog was founded two years ago by Bill Henderson, Professor of Law and Stephen F. Burns Chair on the Legal Profession at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. The blog’s mission, Henderson says, is to dish up “high-quality information to solve very difficult industry-specific problems.” To give just one example, in a series of posts (see posts 068 and 069), Legal Evolution got under the hood of Microsoft’s Trusted Advisor Forum, a high-profile effort led by Assistant General Counsel Jason Barnwell that brings together members of the company’s legal team with its outside law firms and other service providers to dig into the nitty-gritty of building a better legal services mousetrap. Henderson led the June forum, which focused on Business Design Thinking. In a recent post on Microsoft’s longtime relationship with Integreon, we get what the blog called an “extraordinary charge” from Barnwell to his outside providers;

“Our senior leadership wants digital transformation. Most of our legal professionals do not know how to execute on that ask because we have not trained them how. They think it involves acquiring a new technical skill, and for some, it may. But the primary gap is people’s inability to describe the current state of what we do and design an optimized version. We believe that process and design skills are necessary to advance digital transformation because these will give us high ROI investment targets defined by the expert legal professionals who do the work and know what has value”


WEBSITE: Above the Law

Many lawyers – too many – think of Above the Law (ATL) as the bearer of bad legal news and snarky remarks. ATL, however, is much more than a click-bait factory. Indeed, for in-house counsel it regularly features news, analysis and commentary by a strong lineup of staff writers and outside contributors. The latter includes Olga Mack, a renaissance woman who is a former GC, ops professional, adjunct professor at Berkeley Law, and entrepreneur. Following is a short excerpt from an interesting ATL piece published last month, “The Legal Chief of Staff:

A Critical Role For General Counsel’s Success”:

“[W]hat is a legal chief of staff? And is this function here to stay? The short answer is ‘likely yes.’ The legal chief of staff is often the member of the general counsel’s senior leadership team charged with strategic thinking and planning. . . . Ultimately, the seniority, status, and responsibilities of the legal chief of staff tend to vary by general counsel and legal department. It is not unusual for the legal chief of staff to compensate for general counsel’s lack of expertise in certain areas, such as in departmental financial planning, the use of technology, or other strategic skills. At its core, the role of the legal chief of staff is to do what is necessary to make the stars align for the legal department and general counsel.”