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Rarely do so many executives agree about anything. But, the pandemic did it.

Fully 80% of top legal decision makers are exceptionally proud of their in-house legal team’s performance so far. This sense of pride provides a critical source of emotional reward, motivation, and helps each in-house counsel know they are making a difference. It plays a key role in keeping the legal department’s wheels turning — and impacts your ability to develop business.

Here is what in-house counsel are doing:

  • Conducting short but frequent zoom meetings — frequency beats length in establishing a meaningful connection
  • Informally dividing up areas to watch, by topic and person, to focus effort and help anticipate what is coming
  • Individually assigning team members with certain webinars to watch, or newsletters to read, to provide a brief to the rest of the group
  • Planning time-limited updates by each team member on work-to-date, planned work, and thoughts on new areas of focus
  • Developing compliance strategies for the booming new data privacy and cybersecurity needs
  • Sharing thoughts on new compliance issues via zoom
  • Comparing observations on ever-evolving reopening strategies — pinpointing the conflicts and anomalies
  • Assessing the impacts of delayed litigation
  • Reevaluating budgets for this year and next
  • Getting deals done for those who want to push ahead
  • Deciding the topics for management briefings
  • Identifying, sorting out, and prioritizing workforce issues
  • Improving Diversity and Inclusion efforts
  • Locating anti-racism resources for their companies
  • Reporting observations and conclusions back to the team

Please note, this does not give full credit to more casual team building activities including virtual coffee breaks, online birthday celebrations, online scrabble, introducing children to the team, and online lunches. 2 legal decision makers reference having online karaoke sessions, but we did not see the evidence.

Attorneys can use any or all of the following to connect in a meaningful way, improve the relationship, and position yourself for new business:

  • Ask clients what they are most proud of about their team during the pandemic
  • Offer to be part of meetings — especially on substantive issues
  • Form task forces for clients to discuss ideas and plans
  • Join existing client task forces to provide advice and counsel
  • Find the client-specific needles-in-the-haystack of data in the flurry of COVID-19 Resource Centers and share them with clients — and on these client meetings
  • Teach clients how to keep records of what they are doing and saying, so they can deal with the surge of upcoming pandemic-related issues
  • Suggest topics for inclusion in upcoming meetings
  • Discuss the observations and conclusions clients reach in their meetings
  • Invite clients to zoom meetings with a few relevant attorneys based on the discussions your client is having
  • If they are not proud of their team, make suggestions on how they can make things better

Engage in these activities above on a regular and systematic basis. You are better served adopting one strategy and sticking with it, rather than engaging in several only once.

These corporate counsel are making a difference and getting credit for their efforts. It’s not too late to start, we have not yet scratched the surface of the legal impacts. Jump in and help your clients, now.

Congratulations to all the in-house legal teams who are making their bosses proud and their departments look good.

Be well. Be cautious. Be healthy.


The MAD Clientist

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