One Half of the Equation

“I would like to thank my lawyers, Pete Parcher and Steve Hayes who protected me and my music for 22 years. It’s appreciated”

How many lawyers have had a name check during a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction? Not that many in all probability. I am sure that there are quite a few who have daydreamed about that sort of thing happening to them. However Bruce Springsteen’s lawyers received that accolade when he was inducted in 1996 to the Hall of Fame.

Most in-house lawyers would immediately recognise protecting the intellectual property in “The Boss’s” music as being of great commercial value. We understand that role. Defending the interests of our client’s business is what we do. The role of in-house lawyers as risk managers is one that is increasingly seen as a key function in business. However it is only one half of the “Value” equation.

The other half is one that is overlooked much of the time; the role of the Entrepreneur. Any good in-house lawyer should be able to recognise opportunities that the law creates for their business to make money or cut costs. Here is the opportunity to be proactive and be a business leader. And yet, when we see those opportunities, we seem reluctant to share them.

This reluctance reinforces the view of many business people that their in-house lawyers are reactive at best and a “deal prevention” team at worst. Most in-house teams now prove themselves as enablers; saying to their business  “This is how you can do that”. But that is still too passive. Imagine a world in which you say to your business people “Here is an idea that you might like to try”.

It’s time for us as in-house lawyers to put on our thinking caps to deliver the other half of the equation. Let’s think proactively and identify business opportunities. Its why most people go in-house; to be part of the business. It is Value Creation. It may even get you a name check when your business collects a prestigious industry award. Now that is Rock ’n’ Roll and I like it!

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