In a recent article for this publication, in order to take the first step in defining value, I stated that being risk-averse in nature, in-house attorneys may default to a large firm to ensure they do not subject themselves to Monday morning quarterbacking by their clients and other lawyers. I also said that this mentality does not “[protect] and serve our clients.”
I received a few emails from fellow practitioners challenging me to define what it means to “protect and serve.” We learn to protect through our training and experience. To serve is far more complicated. It is facile to presume that any one person is an expert in this regard, which I did not do. It is truly “one size fits one.” However, I can’t think of any conversations I have had with in-house lawyers in which they said they were worse off for either truly embedding themselves within their business environments or reframing their client relationships as learning/teaching opportunities.