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April 02, 2009

Keeping Clients: "Do we really need a memo on that?"

Maybe go to the mirror and practice saying that to your client. Another way to say it:

You know, Elizabeth, this project had been lawyered and memo-ed out the proverbial wazoo. Let's do the research right away. We can get Justin and Brittany to start on it today; they know the legal terrain here. But after we research it, let's just have the [brief/letter/contract] reflect what we conclude. That's where we're headed with this anyway. Let's skip the lengthy legal memorandum.

There are times you don't need to scorch the earth. To save time, money and relationships, just answer the question. Do the research, take a stand, and write it all up in the instrument you are actually going to use anyway.

Stop Feeding the Monster. Skip the 10-, 20- and 35-page memo.

Aside from necessary opinion letters, don't offer to write or write a cover-everyone's-ass and/or comprehensive "all-legal-theories-and-strategies" memorandum unless your in-house lawyer really wants it. And then try to talk her or him out of it.

Part of the job of outside counsel is to guide the in-house--and make him or her be good and look good by saving money and time. If you are in litigation, test out your brilliant ideas and research in a draft brief or another document the client can actually use later on. Skip the 10-, 20- and 35-page memo. Try to make memos you do do be shorter, and reflect the group's cumulative thinking on that issue or project.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzb├╝hel Desk) at April 2, 2009 11:59 PM


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