InCounsel Weekly #40: GCs Taking Stock, Jump Into #LegalTech, How to Diversify, Mo Money and A Mental Health Pledge

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Taking stock

If most of your GC salary is paid in stock, you’re most likely working for either a company with over $1 billion in revenue, or a tech company.

The finding in Equilar’s in-house counsel pay report, according to Above the Law editor Elie Mystal, puts GCs at wealthy companies in a bit of a bind:

If your compensation is so directly tied to the stock price, you’ve got a perverse incentive to not disclose information if at all possible. Lawyers, especially in-house lawyers, are in the business of telling truth to power, and having your compensation directly tied to the stock price doesn’t help that cause. You want your GCs to be in the position to say “look, you’re going to pay me whether you take my advice or not.

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Making the jump

Here’s ex Magic Circle lawyer, Mary Bonsor on making the jump from legal practice to #LegalTech founder.

Her story:

When I was practicing, my law firm was right next to a law school. I saw all these students wandering past my window and thought, why can’t I request one of those students to help me? I was very lucky that I told the ex managing partner at Clifford Chance about my idea and he wanted to invest. That was what gave me the courage to jump.

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How to diversify

Over 100 companies have signed ABA Resolution 113, urging the industry “to expand and create opportunities at all levels of responsibility for diverse attorneys”.

Microsoft, Google and HP have put diversity programs in place with their externals, so how can you do it too?

Some next steps:

  1. Take a stand and set a goal.
  2. Request data from your firms to set a baseline for where you are now.
  3. Measure compliance with fulfilling the data requests.
  4. Add billing rules, such as reductions in payment amount or rejection of invoices from firms not providing the data.
  5. Share the results and your goals internally and with your firms.

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Mo money

Should we really be concerned about innovation and change when we are making more bloody money than ever?
— Magic Circle partner at a recent Law Society event in London.

To which entrepreneur and law professor Mark Cohen retorted:

“… yes, because a profound change in the buy-sell dynamic propelled by technology, the global financial crisis, globalisation, and social media has disrupted multiple industries and that process is underway in legal delivery. Those forces are far too powerful for law to combat."

He then listed the factors dictating the pace:

  1. the separation from the pack by a few of The AmLaw 200; 
  2. a recent report by ALM Intelligence revealing that law firms now account for only 25% market share; 
  3. changed customer expectations–‘faster, better, cheaper’ and 'more with less’; 
  4. new competitors–notably the BigFour, in-house departments, and legal service providers; 
  5. the sustainability of the partnership model for economic, cultural, structural, and succession reasons; and 
  6. the emergence of legal operations–CLOC and its ACC counterpart—and the distinction between legal practice and delivery.  

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A pledge for mental health

Meet Chris O'Sullivan.

He’s one of the best software developers I’ve worked with. But it’s his leadership on issues such as mental health that sets him apart.

This is his pledge on behalf of Lexoo to mark World Mental Health Day – we’re incredibly proud.

In his words:

When you’re a startup you have to take on so many different tasks. There are so many different burdens coming at you. And so we ask a lot from the team, which means that if we’re not looking after our mental health, we’re not looking after the company.
 

The End

 
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— Many Chapman, Legal & Business Affairs Executive at Beyond International.
 

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