Like many folks, I’m intrigued by ChatGPT– the new and powerful AI #chatbot that was released to the public last week.

I took ChatGPT “out for a spin” and I was very impressed with its capabilities.

ChatGPT highlights the possibilities for AI to be used as a tool by lawyers to better serve clients and to free up time for lawyers to perform more high-impact work for clients.

Lawyers can develop and deploy chatbots to help quickly address common, routine and repetitive questions from their clients.

For example, in the screenshot below, I asked ChatGPT the following question that I have routinely received from my clients throughout my #inhouselegal career: “What are some best practices when sharing confidential information?”

Here was the response from ChatGPT: “When sharing confidential information, it’s important to make sure that the recipient is someone who has a need to know the information and is authorized to access it. Additionally, you should take steps to protect the confidentiality of the information, such as sending it securely (e.g., encrypted email) and not sharing it with anyone else without the proper authorization. It’s also a good idea to clearly communicate the confidential nature of the information to the recipient, and to remind them of their obligations to keep the information secure.”

Wow. ChatGPT sounds like a pretty good lawyer 😉.

As #inhousecounsel, we need to embrace #operationalexcellence and look for more opportunities to make better use of our limited resources to drive higher value for our clients.

If your legal team is considering deploying chatbots to interact with your clients, here’s three suggestions:

🤖 Start Small: Develop chatbots that are conversant in a few areas that are routinely asked by your clients.

🤖 Low Risk Areas: Focus your chatbot development in surface areas that are largely non-controversial and pose low legal risk.

🤖 Thoughtful Client Messaging: Many of our clients want “bespoke” legal support from us. However, just like our clients, we have limited resources and we need to do more with less. Drive clarity that if their teams use your chatbots to address common and routine legal questions, this will free up more time for the legal team to focus on mission-critical work that will help them like closing revenue-generating contracts with customers/partners, avoiding potential compliance issues, etc…

Look for opportunities for AI to help deliver more high impact legal services to your clients. What are your thoughts about the intersection of AI and the practice of law?

A big congrats to Fred McGriff AKA the “Crime Dog” 🐶 who was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame this past weekend!

Mr. McGriff was a model of consistency as a terrific power hitting first baseman over a very long career for baseball teams like the Toronto Blue Jays, the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves.

While Mr. McGriff hit almost 500 homeruns, had nearly 2,500 hits, drove in 1,500+ runs and helped lead the Braves to their world championship in 1995, he was often overlooked and unappreciated both during and after his stellar career. In fact, his career almost never started as he was actually cut from his high school baseball team in Tampa, Florida during his sophomore year.

There’s a lot that we can learn from Mr. McGriff’s Hall of Fame career and he was part of a highly significant baseball trade as a young player which is instructive for us.

In 1982, my beloved New York Yankees made one of its worst trades in its storied history when they traded Mr. McGriff to the Blue Jays and received two players who provided zero value to the Yankees.

So, here’s two lessons that we can learn for the workplace from the Yankees trading a future Hall of Famer in the form of Mr. McGriff for practically nothing:

⚾️ Don’t Give Up on Early in Career Talent: I’ve seen instances where managers in essence “gave up” on talented employees who did not perform at a high level very early in their careers. Let’s make sure that we help nurture our talented teammates and we provide them with the needed time, space and coaching to thrive in the workplace.

⚾️ Be Strategic in Your Deals: This point is very important as we face an increasingly uncertain economic climate. Be sure to take a long-term view in the deals and contracts that you establish with your customers and partners. Think about the impact of your deals and contracts over a long horizon and not just to simply close a key deal for a specific business quarter end. Also, make sure that you can operationally fulfill and deliver upon those deals and contracts over the long term.

Congrats again to the Crime Dog!

A few days ago, I officially marked my 20th anniversary working for the greatest legal team on the planet: the Microsoft Corporate, External & Legal Affairs team.

While it’s hard to believe that I joined Microsoft 20 years ago on December 2, 2002, it continues to be an absolute honor and privilege to work at Microsoft. I want to thank all of my terrific Microsoft teammates over the years who have made me a better lawyer, a better leader and a better person.

Since I have also been a lawyer “in the field” serving our world class sales teams during my Microsoft career, I also want to thank our outstanding customers and partners for the opportunity to earn their trust.

At this point in my career, I pride myself in being a coach and mentor to help develop the next generation of great Microsoft lawyers and legal professionals.

To commemorate my 20 years at Microsoft, here’s 20 things that I have learned which may be helpful to you in the workplace:

☑️ Wellness, Wellness, Wellness: Taking care of your mental and physical well-beings are your most important investments.

☑️ Change is the Only Constant: Embrace change and never fear it.

☑️ Always Be Learning: Don’t be a “know it all.” Be a “learn it all.”

☑️ Simplify: Don’t overengineer matters. Instead, decomplexify them.

☑️ Offer Solutions: When identifying potential issues, also provide meaningful problem-solving solutions.

☑️ Integrity is Everything: Be highly ethical and never compromise your integrity.

☑️ Be Kind: Always be nice, respectful and professional with everyone.

☑️ Exude Confidence: Be self-assured and believe in yourself.

☑️ Play Bigger Than Your Role: Perform your job at a high level by going above and beyond.

☑️ Ruthless Prioritization: Make it a habit to relentlessly prioritize your work.

☑️ Earn Trust With Others: Trust cannot be claimed. Trust must constantly be earned.

☑️ Seek Feedback & Be Coachable: Ask for and embrace feedback from others

☑️ Make Your Teammates Better: Always provide high value to your teammates and constantly share your knowledge with them.

☑️ Drive Clarity: As Brene Brown like to say, “being clear is kind.” Overcommunicate when needed.

☑️ Be Humble & Energetic: Remain hungry, thankful and enthusiastic.

☑️ Keep Things in Perspective: Unlike doctors, firefighters and other first responders, most of our work does not involve saving lives. Stay balanced and keep your job in perspective.

☑️ Toot Your Horn: Advocate for yourself by actively messaging the positive impact of your work to your management team.

☑️ Relationships Matter: The workplace is not a meritocracy. Build deep relationships with senior leaders.

☑️ Inclusivity: The highest performing teams are those who are highly inclusive.

☑️ Remain Optimistic: While your career journey will have its up’s and downs, always stay positive.

Major League Baseball (MLB) is my favorite sport and tomorrow is MLB’s Opening Day 2021. In honor of Opening Day, there are lessons that all in-house counsel can learn from the great sport of baseball about the importance of versatility.

One of my favorite baseball players is Javier (“Javy”) Baez and he plays for the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Nicknamed “El Mago” in Spanish or “the Magician,” Mr. Baez is a very exciting ballplayer for the Cubs as he has a rare combination of strong defense, power and speed. However, in my view, one of Mr. Baez’s greatest skills is his ability to play multiple positions on the baseball field. While he is primarily a shortstop – he has also played third base, second base and on occasion first base. He is also athletic enough to play any position in the outfield – and I have little doubt that he could play catcher in the event the Cubs catchers were injured.

As teams were determining their final player rosters for Opening Day this season, all of them wished that they had a Mr. Baez who can play a variety of positions very well in order to maximize their resources and make the team much stronger. All in-house legal teams need lawyers like Mr. Baez who have “range” and can “flex” when needed so that we can best serve our clients.

Here are some thoughts on how in-house counsel can be like Mr. Baez and make themselves more versatile – and more valuable – to their respective legal teams:

Be a Technology Wizard: The pandemic has underscored the importance of technology in the way all lawyers work. Increasingly, technology is the foundation for the operations of all legal departments and their respective practice groups. In-house counsel can make themselves more versatile and valuable by being “power users” of technology – and leveraging the associated data analytics from such technology to help make smart decisions – in order to promote greater productivity, efficiency and collaboration in how she/he works.

Privacy, Privacy, Privacy:  While technology plays a bigger role in our lives, the massive amounts of data generated by that technology needs to be properly protected. As we continue to see a proliferation of new data privacy laws and growing cybersecurity concerns, the legal skills associated with understanding data privacy/data protection are core skills for any legal department’s practice group. Data privacy is a learned skill that all corporate counsel need to be deeply conversant as it is easily transportable and highly relevant to virtually any role within a legal team.

Stretch Yourself: Actively seek out opportunities from your management team to learn new skills or to “shadow” others in their roles. Embrace the growth mindset mentality by “stretching” yourself in doing new things for your legal team. For instance, if you are a deal lawyer, ask for an opportunity to work on matters involving your dispute resolution team, your compliance team, your regulatory affairs team, etc… Also, be the first to raise your hand to help on special projects and new initiatives that are important to your legal teams.

Legal Role Rotations: A great best practice for any legal team is to periodically move their lawyers around to work in various different practice groups so they can gain new skills and become even more valuable. As legal teams embrace a “hybrid” or “remote” work environment moving forward, there will be greater opportunities for in-house legal departments to more seamlessly rotate their lawyers in this fashion. One of the lawyers on my team recently supported our partner group team earlier this fiscal year, she is now back with my team and her six month rotation supporting a different set of clients – and being exposed to a different set of business/legal issues – has made her even more valuable to our team.

Make Others Better: In-house counsel should view themselves as “coaches” to their teammates. Look for opportunities to always making your teammates better by proactively sharing your knowledge, mentoring others, offering them feedback, collaborating effectively and being a true team player in helping them problem solve issues for their clients. Taking the time to invest in your teammates and making them great provides important positive impact for your entire legal team – and makes you even more valuable.

Online Training Opportunities: Continue to build your skills on a remote basis by taking advantage of virtual trainings that your employer or others may offer. For instance, LinkedIn offers terrific resources for you to gain more valuable skills so that you can better serve your clients.

Become Certified:  Consider obtaining industry/legal practice-type certifications that require you to become more skilled in a particular area and which are relevant to the work that your legal department performs. For example, the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) is a leading privacy group that offers several certifications in the area of data privacy. Also, don’t be shy and seeking reimbursement from your legal team for the associated costs in such certification(s) by building a thoughtful business case as to why such certification(s) are relevant to your job/legal team.

After this season Mr. Baez will become a “free agent” – meaning that teams other than the Chicago Cubs can offer him a contract for his services as a ballplayer. At the time that I wrote this blog, the New York Mets baseball team offered a $325 Million 10-Year contract to another comparable baseball player named Francisco Lindor – who plays the same primary position of shortstop as Mr. Baez – but Mr. Lindor is technically not as versatile as Mr. Baez. It’s just a matter of time before Mr. Baez’s versatility and value will financially pay off for him and make him very wealthy. As in-house counsel, it’s smart for us to try to be like Javy Baez on the legal playing field.


When I was a kid growing up in the 1980s, Air Supply was a popular music duo with songs like “Lost in Love,” “All Out of Love,” and “Even the Nights are Better.” Nowadays, another phrase with the word “supply” in it – supply chain – is becoming popular across Corporate America and for in-house counsel.

Last month, President Biden signed an Executive Order on America’s supply chains.  This Executive Order is a must-read for all in-house counsel, it underscores how companies are very reliant on third parties to enable solutions for their customers and that in-house lawyers play an important role to help ensure that their companies’ supply chain are resilient and secure.

Let’s first provide some clarity as to what is meant by a supply chain. A recent post in Supply Chain Digital offered this excellent definition of a supply chain: “A supply chain is defined as the entire process of making and selling commercial goods, including every stage from the supply of materials and the manufacture of the goods through to their distribution and sale.”

The focus of this Executive Order involves a review of key supply chains with the longer term goals of the United States becoming less dependent on foreign goods and to help bolster American manufacturing. The Executive Order involves a 100-day review of products in these four areas: semiconductors, high-capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals and critical minerals/related materials. In addition, there will be yearlong reviews of six industry sectors.

Without a doubt, supply-chain law is a growing legal practice area that all corporate counsel will need to become increasingly conversant in so they can provide high impact legal services to their clients.

Here’s a list of considerations for in-house legal teams to keep top of mind as their deliver supply chain-related legal support to their clients:

Procurement is Paramount: Nearly every organization has a procurement or purchasing group function that has primary responsibility for establishing relationships with suppliers and other entities that are part of a supply chain. In my experience, sometimes the legal support associated with this group has not been as highly valued when compared with other in-house legal practice areas. As we see more focus on the potential opportunities and challenges associated with supply chains, it’s important for all legal teams to invest the appropriate amount of legal resources, time and attention to properly support supply chain-related legal work.

Reviewing & Onboarding Supply Chain Partners: A variety of legal entities can be part of a supply chain network and they all need to partner well together to help ensure success. Legal teams can help their supply chain groups by assisting in the appropriate vetting of supply chain partners prior to consummating a relationship with them. Since many lawyers have deep skills in the area of due diligence, they are in a unique position to help their clients identify any potential “red flags” with potential supply chain partners. Consider developing a scalable and detailed review process akin to a “checklist” when evaluating potential members of your supply chain. Also be sure to develop an appropriate onboarding process for new supply chain partners so they can learn more about your business and are set up for success.

Trustworthiness of Supply Chain Partners: A wise person once said that “trust cannot be claimed – it must be earned.” Given the proliferation of data privacy laws, the increased boldness of cybercriminals and the fact that technology and data are playing a bigger role in our lives, companies need to clearly understand the steps that supply chain partners – and members of their own supply chain – take to properly secure data.  Be sure to include your data privacy, cybersecurity and compliance experts in the process for determining whether or not you can truly trust members of your supply chain to protect the highly important data that may be shared with them and that they will share with others in your supply chain network. It is absolutely critical for members of your supply chain to earn your company’s trust on a constant basis as it relates to data security.

Thoughtful Agreements: Be sure to establish the appropriate written agreements with your supply chain partners that are comprehensive enough to address the totality of your business relationship and are also very clear and straightforward. Organizations should develop standard template agreements to use with their supply chain partners – as well as “fallback”/alternative provisions to use as needed. Think about incorporating your companies’ code of ethics/integrity principles as part of those agreements. As the business changes, also refresh those standard agreements as needed.

Deepening Relationships with your Supply Chain: It’s important to partner closely with the members of your company’s supply chain – especially as they may also be your customers and competitors. Designate senior business leaders at your company who can serve in “Executive Sponsor” roles to the individual members of your supply chain. Perhaps there are also opportunities to convene quarterly business reviews or “check-ins” with members of your supply chain so that you can deepen relationships and mitigate the likelihood of any potential business or legal issues from occurring.

Breaking Down Silos & Center of Excellence: Often times, many dispersed company employees and teams are involved in building supply chains for their respective organizations. As a result, organizations may become siloed in their approaches for managing their respective supply chains and may not properly collaborate. Look for opportunities to centralize how you work with your supply chains, actively share supply chain best practices/lessons learned and identify lawyers and business leaders who can serve as your company’s supply chain “Center of Excellence.”

Responsible Sourcing: Companies should have high standards as to what they should be expecting from their supply chain – especially as it relates to human rights, labor, safety, health and ethical considerations. In the words of Brene Brown, “clear is kind,” so be sure to drive absolute clarity with supply chain members about those expectations. Also, from a corporate social responsibility perspective, companies should be transparent to the public about their focus on responsible sourcing.

Sustainability: Companies across many industries are increasingly focused on sustainability and reducing their carbon emissions as a strategic business imperative. We may also see further regulation in the sustainability space. As you build and evolve your supply chain, consider partnering with companies who are proactively committed to environmental and sustainability considerations and learn from them.

Diversity & Inclusion: As many of us know, diverse and inclusive teams consistently perform non-diverse and less-inclusive teams. Driving greater diversity and inclusion within your supply chains will result in better business outcomes. In addition, as you develop your supply chain network make sure that you have a deep enough and broad enough network so that you are not reliant on just one – or a few – companies. Make sure that your network is well-represented from a geographic diversity perspective and ideally are not based in just one region or country.

Leverage Trusted Technology: As the supply chain area grows, increasingly there are leading technology solutions that can help enable your supply chain to become more productive and resilient. Think about opportunities for deploying highly trusted technology solutions that are rich with product features to help manage your supply chain operations. For instance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides cloud-based solutions that are focused on enhancing a company’s supply chain resiliency and agility.

Every company needs to be increasingly focused on their respective supply chains. As in-house counsel, we are in a unique position to help our business clients effectively navigate the growing complexities of the supply chain space.

Continue Reading Supply Chain Supplies Opportunities for In-House Counsel

There’s so much that we can all learn from the iconic Hank Aaron – who sadly passed away last month at the age of 86. When I discovered my favorite sport of baseball as a young boy, Hank Aaron was one of the first baseball stars that I looked up to, I proudly collected his baseball cards (and the picture above is my 1956 baseball card of Mr. Aaron) and in my opinion he is the greatest baseball player ever.

As this month is Black History Month, it is an appropriate time to reflect upon the legacy of Hank Aaron. Since his nickname was “The Hammer,” here’s six  H-A-M-M-E-R leadership lessons that all legal and business professionals can learn from Mr. Aaron.

H = Humility: As a high school kid I remember meeting Mr. Aaron at a baseball card show at the Westchester County Center in the 1980s shortly after his Baseball Hall of Fame induction so that I could obtain his autograph. Although I only had a very brief interaction with him, he was very gracious and welcoming. Every since his passing so many people have also expressed similar stories about Mr. Aaron as he was universally humble and nice to everyone he met whether it be a “VIP,” the baseball clubhouse attendant or an ordinary fan like me.

In Corporate America it’s important for everyone to treat others with respect and decency – regardless of your title or position. This is especially important for leaders as we all need to set the proverbial “tone at the top” about embracing inclusivity in our respective workplace cultures. In my experience, the very best leaders are the ones who are highly approachable, humble, down to earth and are genuinely interested in the views of their teammates, customers and partners. If a legend like Mr. Aaron can treat a then high school sophomore like me with respect, then there’s no excuses for you not doing the same with others in the workplace – and in our personal lives.

A = Authenticity: As a baseball player Mr. Aaron was not considered as “flashy” as some of the other baseball stars of his era like Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Roberto Clemente. Nor was he as “flamboyant” as another baseball legend named Babe Ruth – the highly popular player he surpassed in 1974 as the all-time Major League Baseball home run king. Since Mr. Aaron played his entire career in the “smaller-market” cities of Milwaukee and Atlanta and he only won one World Series early in his career in 1957 (where he was the Most Valuable Player that year and led the Milwaukee Braves to a world championship with a high batting average of .393 and 11 hits, including a triple, three home runs and seven runs batter in), he did not receive the same notoriety and appreciation in the media as some of his peers. However, Mr. Aaron always remained his true and authentic self – both on and off the baseball field. As a result, he gained universal admiration from his fellow players.

It’s important for leaders in the workplace to be real and authentic so they can command the necessary respect from their teammates. The best leaders are hard-working, transparent, lead by example and avoid being fake. Transformational leaders are highly credible because they are true and legitimate just like Mr. Aaron.

M = Mentorship: Mr. Aaron had a long reputation for taking his baseball teammates under his wing, mentoring them and making them better players – and most importantly better people. One example is the current and highly successful Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker who played with Mr. Aaron as a member of the Atlanta Braves for six seasons from 1968-1974. After Mr. Aaron’s passing, Mr. Baker released the following statement about his relationship with Mr. Aaron: “Hank Aaron was the most important influence on my life, next to my Dad. He was the best person that I ever knew and the truest and most honest person that I ever knew. He taught me how to be a man and how to be a proud African-American. He taught me how important it was to give back to the community and he inspired me to become an entrepreneur. Hank impacted my life, my family and my world, both on and off the field. He was a great man.”

Always be a “Hank Aaron” with your teammates – especially during these challenging times where most of us are working remotely and need help more than ever before. Look for opportunities to coach, train, advise and mentor your work colleagues and to serve as a “big brother” or “big sister” to them. As Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “”Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?””

M = Model: At a private party in 2014 in Washington, DC to celebrate Mr. Aaron’s 80th birthday at a hotel overlooking the White House, then Attorney General Eric Holder gestured toward a window and offered this giant compliment to Mr. Aaron: “The young man who lives right over there (referencing President Barack Obama), his path was made easier by this man.” Mr. Aaron was the quintessential role model and inspired others to reach their goals.

As leaders in the workplace we have the responsibilities of serving as great role models. Our teams, our customers and our partners are all watching us and our actions will speak louder than our words. Mr. Aaron exemplified the ultimate in class, dignity, integrity and grace. Be sure to model the same values in your workplace.

E = Excellence: My Aaron’s accomplishments on the baseball field are truly incredibly as he relentlessly performed at an extremely high level for such a long period of time. His baseball statistics are eye-popping and here’s a sampling of them: he owns Major League Baseball (MLB) records for 2,297 career runs batted in, 6,856 career total bases, 1,477 career extra base hits and 25 all-star appearances. From 1955-1970 Mr. Aaron played in 145 games or more in every single season (the number of games per season was 154 until 1962 when it then changed to 162 games). Finally, in my opinion he is the “true” MLB home runs leader with 755 as the player who surpassed him in this category in 2007 – Barry Bonds – has long been tainted as using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs)

Always aspire to be consistently excellent like Mr. Aaron – both as a leader and in your craft. Of course, maintaining such a high level of excellence year in and year out in the workplace like Mr. Aaron did on the baseball field is an extremely difficult thing to do. It requires you to have a growth mindset, to be a lifelong learner and to embrace change as needed. Mr. Aaron once said, “Failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it.”

R = Resilience: Unfortunately, Mr. Aaron faced a tremendous amount of racism throughout his life.  He initially experienced discrimination as a young boy growing up in Mobile, Alabama. As a minor league player for the Jacksonville Braves in the South Atlantic League, he was often separated from his team while traveling due to racial segregation and Jim Crow Laws. Towards the end of career as he was nearing Babe Ruth’s career home runs record, he received lots of hate mail and was subject to death threats. Despite all of the ugly and pervasive racism that he faced, Mr. Aaron still persevered and thrived both on and off the baseball field.

Mr. Aaron’s resiliency during the most difficult of times is truly remarkable. We can all learn from his tremendous strength as we face challenges both in the workplace and in our personal lives. Mr. Aaron’s grit and courage are an inspiration to all of us and here is one of my favorite quotes from Mr. Aaron: “My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.”

Hank Aaron was much more than a legendary baseball player. He was also an American hero. Let’s all continue to learn from his incredible legacy.


Last week I learned that one of my senior business clients – who is a Microsoft Corporate Vice President – took on a new leadership position within Microsoft. While I was initially disappointed since she’s an outstanding leader and I worked hard to build a trusted advisor relationship with her, I also know that this is simply part of the ever-changing business environments that we work in. As in-house lawyers we need to constantly adapt to best serve our clients.

Building a new relationship with a senior business client presents a real opportunity that in-house counsel need to take advantage of – especially if it’s someone that you have never partnered with in the past. Also, we only have one opportunity to make a positive first impression.

Here’s some tips on how to commence a trusted advisor relationship with a new business client:

Say Congrats: Be sure to extend congratulations to both your outgoing client and incoming client. Tell your outgoing client that you wish her/him the best of luck in the new role and that you hope to partner with them again in the future – which is a distinct possibility so you want to continue to maintain a positive relationship with her/him.

For your incoming client reach out to that person via email/call, introduce yourself, extend congratulations and let them know that you are excited to partner with them. If you send an email perhaps also consider adding a link to your LinkedIn profile so that she/he can learn more about you in case you have not worked with that person in the past. Also be sure to connect with your new client via LinkedIn if you aren’t already connected.

Do Some Reconnaissance: Try to learn some information about your new client. If your in-house legal teammates and other clients have worked with your new client in the past be sure to reach out to them for their thoughts about her/him and ask them for their opinion on how best to serve your new client in your role as corporate counsel. Also, spend the time to get to know that person by checking out her/his LinkedIn/Twitter profiles, background, posts, etc…..Perhaps you can identify the areas that you have in common with your new client which can serve as a foundation for building a new business relationship.

Schedule an Introductory Meeting: Be proactive to schedule an initial meeting with your new client for no longer than 15-30 minutes. During that meeting try to cover these areas:

  • Offer a brief perspective about your background, role and your legal team. Consider also developing a one page “get to know me” slide like the one which I have created about myself immediately below and which I share with my new business clients so they can learn something very quickly about my background.

  • Describe the various ways in which you and your team can provide high value and impact to your new client and his/her team moving forward that is aligned to their key business objectives.
  • Ask your new client about her/his previous experiences in working with legal teams and whether she/he can provide you with any feedback on how you and the legal team can best serve her/him moving forward.
  • Let your client know the best way to reach you moving forward and always be sure to share your cell phone number so she/he can quickly contact you as needed.
  • Try to find out about your new client’s preferred mode of communicating so that you can tailor your mode of communication to fit the needs of your new client. Also, ask if your new business client would be willing to convene monthly 1:1s so the two of you can stay well connected.
  • If your new client is new to your company also offer to help her/him as part of their official onboarding process.

Befriend Your New Client’s Admin/Chief of Staff: Always be sure to be super nice and friendly to the Admin/Chief of Staff of your new client. These folks are often the “gateway” to your new client and your new client will rely upon them immensely. Don’t be shy in asking the Admin/Chief of Staff to be included in your new client’s leadership team meetings, key email distribution lists/aliases, Microsoft Teams channels, etc….so that you can gain a better understanding of what is top of mind for your new client and are well positioned to deliver high value and impact.

Listen & Learn: In my experience with clients it’s always important to take the necessary time to actively listen and learn from them. Each senior executive will have her/his own leadership style and it’s very important early on in your relationship to thoughtfully absorb your new client’s way of thinking and to try to understand what is most important to her/him. Listen more and speak less – especially with new clients.

Get “Quick Wins” to Earn Trust: Whenever you have a new client it is so incredibly important to provide him/her with “white glove” legal support so that you can get off to a fast start in the relationship, begin to earn your client’s trust, demonstrate high value and make a highly positive first impression. When your new client reaches out to you be sure to respond immediately and provide your new client with clear, easily digestible and practical legal advice and counsel. Finally, always embrace a customer obsession mindset with your new client.

As we all know change is not easy – especially when you need to build a relationship with new clients. However, having the privilege to serve new clients and earning their trust provides in-house lawyers with a great opportunity for you and your legal department to demonstrate positive impact and move your organization forward. Be sure to capitalize on these opportunities!

As we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and reflect upon his legacy, it’s an important reminder that the legal industry has more work to do to advance diversity and inclusion.

We all know about the continued lack of minorities, women, people of color, disabled people and other underrepresented groups in the law – whether it be as employees or in senior positions of authority and influence.

As we think about opportunities to advance greater diversity and inclusion in the legal industry, here’s three points for us to keep in mind:

The Important Business Case for D&I: There have been plenty of science and studies by leading management consulting firms that have demonstrated time and time again that diverse teams outperform teams that are less diverse. I’ve seen this firsthand over the years by being part of and leading an incredible team of high-performing diverse lawyers and legal professionals at Microsoft who continue to deliver high-impact legal support to our sales, marketing and services teams across the United States in our constantly changing technology marketplace. More importantly they have also demonstrated remarkable grit and resiliency during the incredibly difficult times that we have experienced as a society over the past year.

Let’s all remember that while embracing diversity and inclusion for any organization is the morally right thing to do, it’s actually the very smart thing to do. As teams who work in the legal space think about how they can better serve their customers, ignite innovation and be more competitive in their marketplaces, one of the most important investments they can make is in recruiting, developing and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Please Don’t Ignore Hispanics: Hispanics make up 18% of the population in the United States and they are the largest minority group in our great country. Of course, as we all know, Hispanics don’t make up 18% of “Big Law” law firm partners and General Counsels. In fact, despite the existence of terrific Hispanic talent in the legal area, an argument can be made that Hispanics don’t seem to be actively considered for key positions – especially for senior level roles.

As a proud Hispanic whose Grandparents were born on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and migrated to the United States mainland, I encourage law firms and legal departments to accelerate the visibility of Hispanics, provide them with opportunities to lead and to please avoid ignoring them – especially since customers are increasingly of Hispanic origin and it’s estimated that Hispanics will make up a quarter of the US population by 2045.

In addition, if we are to see improved and sustained inclusion of Hispanics in the legal world, it will be incumbent upon Hispanics to do more. We need to be bolder, be more visible, be better organized, help each other, build relationships with key career sponsors, learn from others, speak up, and amplify the positive impact we drive as legal leaders to our respective management teams.

Let’s Accelerate & Embrace Change: Ever since I started my legal career over 20 years ago as a young lawyer in the IBM legal department, progress on diversity and inclusion in the legal industry over that period of time has remained slow. What that tells me is that if we want to truly advance greater inclusion in the legal vertical we need to change what we have been doing, learn from others, be more empathetic, try new ideas and not fear making any mistakes. Continue Reading D&I Observations on Dr. MLK Jr’s Birthday