Posts Tagged ‘Lawyers’

Mitigating the risk of lawyers

May 16, 2012

It’s not a crime to be innocent, these things we have not done
But you’re not some little child, spring is past and gone
Well I know my craving heart and I’ve seen your vicious eyes
And I think we know the truth, both you and I
Don’t flutter your lashes like a little girl
And ask me why it’s such a cruel, cruel world, no
Don’t ask any more stupid questions
You already know the answers to,

New Model Army, Stupid Questions

Lawyers represent a huge risk to the business. Most of them believe their role is to insure they can never be blamed for any decision made, rather than the traditional role of a business – to make money.

And I’m not even talking about external lawyers who are looking for ways to sue you 🙂 these are your own employees who earn their living of your business.

A typical discussion with the legal department goes something like this:

  • Manager: Can I Do X?
  • Legal:No, it is risky.
  • Manager:But It is Really Important.
  • Legal: I’ll check.

Legal never get back so the managers pings legal two weeks later.

  • Manager : What’s the answer? Legal : You can’t.
  • Manager : Why? Because it is very risky for IP\TAX\HR\Contract reasons.
Happy Legal Expert Taking Risks

Happy Legal Expert Taking Risks

I have learned a few rules to mitigate the risk from the legal department.

  • Learn the principles. My two MBA courses on contracts and law in information systems have given me enough basics to ask hard questions.
  • Managers should understand employees’ social rights , benefits and different employment models etc. This is important part of the role, not “HR department role”.
  • Always start from the business goal. The lawyer cannot argue about that because he does not understand the business and because you are the owner.
  • If you are hiring the lawyers get the good ones who understand business and are service oriented.
  • If you are using internal legal and  get bad service – complain. Legal is a service provider , just like the IT department. If their responses are slow, inaccurate or unhelpful to te manager one should talk to their executive and ask for assistance.
  • Demand domain expertise. High-Tech Lawyers should understand the difference between SaaS ans On Premise, for example.
  • Use standard forms,standard contracts, standard NDA etc. It is not scalable to rethink these for each relationship.
  • Request service, not consulting. For example :”   want to have a OEM partnership with X in two weeks because it is going to add 20M$ for us next year. Please handle the legal parts ASAP”
  • Give the lawyers context and business reasons: what  are you trying to achieve, who is the other side, what’s the urgency, what’s the reward.
  • Don’t go legal unless you have to.Risk is everywhere – bugs, features, unhappy customers. As managers we manage risk without even thinking about it. Lawyers are trained to think only about the risks and have a very strong bias against action. In decisions where risk is understood and  is small , it is better to leave legal out of the picture.
  • Unless we are talking about tax or death issues , no one is going to come back to the manager 10 years from now and blame him anyway
  • Insurance is a great way to quantify risk and can be used in many cases. For example , instead of  long debates on what will happen if your web site is crashed by aliens,  it is simpler to buy insurance.
  • “Risk to legal department” != “Risk to the business”
  • Magic words: “I understand the risk and I accept it, If things go wrong this is my business decision”.Since most lawyers are just looking to cover their behinds, this is what they need to hear.

Americana 2010

March 7, 2010

Should we talk about the weather?

Should we talk about the government?

  1. New Jersey Family Forced To Cover Up “Indecent” Snow Babe. Funny.
Nude Venus in ICE

Nude Venus in ICE

2. SF police chief backs off Taser plan

3.  Snow from the plane. New York to California.

Snowy America

Snowy America

4. Recession sign – No Greylock party in the RSA conference this year.

5. Recession sign two- “Coyote Point” inn has stopped serving bagels for breakfast. Just toast for the poor guests.

6. I heard that some American companies removed all the text from their user manuals, since they were sued by people who can’t read.

When a nation embraces ignorance, maybe that’s not a good sign (I apologize for insulting the illiterates , but I assume they are not reading my blog).

7. How come 5GB cellular surfing package costs $23 per month in Israel  and  $60 in California? and coverage in Israel is much better.

8. No recession sign

Dog Spa

Dog Spa

9. Recession for the tall – Continental offers extra leg room – for $59.

Does it mean a short person like me gets a discount on current prices ?

10. Why do closed captions have a ten  seconds latency after the video and sound?

How do people who really need it get by ?

Closed Captions Latency

Closed Captions Latency

11.  America’s Top Psychic Directory. Jet-lag makes me watch infomercials.

You must be kidding

You must be kidding

12. No Lawyer is worth $600 per hour.