Publisher's Note April 2016

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 16:48

It is hard to believe that a year has passed since we introduced our new design of Metropolitan Corporate Counsel. We have received many compliments from readers and contributors – and for that we are incredibly grateful.

Our goal here at MCC is to deliver our readers the highest quality content to help you best manage your in-house legal department and outside counsel, and to help you advance your career. We are fortunate to be working with many talented lawyers and legal professionals to bring you informative content. Your feedback and suggestions are always valuable.

In recent months, I’ve had the privilege of speaking with a number of readers and attended a handful of events. A few themes have come up consistently as areas of concern or pain points: compliance, information governance and law department operational efficiency.

Often people focus on technology as the solution to compliance concerns, but for most in-house law departments concerns tend to center on human error or inefficiencies. Most everyone is using technology to identify issues or incidents, but they continue to look at staffing and logistics for opportunities to minimize risk and heighten efficiency.

Information governance is similar in that there is no shortage of tech options, and most every company has a policy in place. The risks and concerns seem to be tied to policy and execution. Are our data protection policies and breach response plans sufficient to address real-time risks? Are our systems sophisticated enough to protect our data and identify a breach quickly? Is our team trained to respond to a data breach in accordance with our policies and response plan? 

Law department operational efficiency is a moving target. There is a crossroad where law departments are working to control costs but at the same time mitigate risks. It appears that in-house departments are bringing much of the work inside rather than spending on outside counsel for what is considered commoditized work, like developing contracts, research, etc. However, at some point the inside legal professionals simply do not have the expertise and resources required, and the work needs to be moved to outside counsel or other professionals. The trick seems to be figuring that out before a damaging mistake is made. On the other side of the table, outside counsel want to be partners and are knowledgeable about their clients’ business, beyond crisis management, but they feel shut out of the day-to-day operations and that level of familiarity. This makes it increasingly difficult to advise companies in a crisis situation.  

What’s the answer? No one knows for sure, but as we continue to speak with readers, our contributors and other partners to corporate counsel, we will share more innovations and best practices that we are seeing adopted in the community.