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In the trenches

You would be forgiven for thinking that I had deserted this blog. One of the adages which bothers me is ‘Those who can, do; those who can’t teach’. I felt it was time that I showed, at least myself, that I could ‘do’ and not just at the management level. So for the last 18 months I have been a part-time foot soldier in a large legal department, which has been really revealing on several counts. Firstly it has been fascinating to be a member of a large team and to experience what stimulates and demoralises at first hand. Secondly it has validated a number of approaches I advocate, whilst showing how hard it can be to stick to some of them when under pressure. I am really grateful to the department concerned that it gave me the opportunity. I would like to think that they will derive some benefit from some of the suggestions which I have made.

I have to acknowledge that there was a degree of artificiality to my life in the trenches in that I maintained my other activities within agreed parameters. This provided a powerful antidote to some of the less savoury days. Such an antidote would not be available to most in-house lawyers.

As if this double life was not enough to keep me busy, I rashly agreed to write a report – Managing In-house Legal Services – for Thorogood Publishing, which is being published this month.