The main functions of a transactional attorney working on a deal are fairly obvious: to draft (or review) agreements that accurately reflect the deal struck between the parties, to advise the client about whether the actions contemplated by the agreement pose any legal or business risks, etc. Another less obvious but still important role that the attorney can play is to communicate the client’s positions to the other side’s attorney, rather than having the client be forced to communicate those positions directly to the other side’s principal. It can be awkward for the principals to speak directly on certain matters, and the attorneys play a useful filtering role. [Read more…]
The Wall Street Journal recently focused on the decreasing reliance on bank debt by large law firms to finance their operations, with capital contributions by partners being used in its place. The rationale cited by those quoted in the piece relates to the perceived risk of debt, i.e., the desire for the partners to “sleep at night.” I would submit, however, that risk is created by the business decisions made by the firms, and not the means by which they finance their operations. [Read more…]
One of the most-discussed trends in the workplace in recent years is the growing number of people who make a career out of accepting a series of freelance assignments, rather than simply taking on a full-time job as an employee. A prominent example is the Uber car driver, who takes on jobs at times as determined by the driver, rather than agreeing to work particular shifts in advance. There are significant concerns with the development of the “gig” economy, since freelancers don’t have many of the legal protections available to employees, and these concerns will need to be addressed. However, the flexibility that these arrangements give to those to participate is undeniably appealing.
Last Sunday’s New York Times had an interesting profile of a Washington, D.C. area six-woman virtual law firm, the Geller Law Group. I recommend you read it in its entirety. I have some thoughts. [Read more…]
Over my almost 18 years of practicing transactional law, I’ve often been mildly (or sometimes not so mildly) exasperated by common inconsiderate behaviors by opposing counsel on my deals. Of course, our primary job as attorneys is to represent our clients, but unnecessarily agitating other attorneys does not, in the long run, serve our clients’ interests. The following are some frequently-occurring examples of bad corporate attorney etiquette to avoid:
Sending Uneditable Drafts. Often I will receive initial drafts of an agreement in PDF or read-only form. In other words, I can’t easily get into the document to provide edits. Of course, I can provide the comments in other ways, but the point is that you’ve made it harder for me to do my job. The signal you’re sending by doing this is the opposite of transparency, and if anything, it predisposes me to think you’re trying to hide something. The time to create PDF versions is when both sides are in agreement and ready to execute the agreement.