Double Standard

MbS is ostracized for Khashoggi while everyone stands around looking at their toes in the wake of Putin’s extrajudicial execution of Prighozin.

You read it here first.

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My Mother the Juror

My mother served on a petit jury when she was 75 and had the time of her life. It was an excuse to dress up for court; the jurors exchanged pictures of their children or grandchildren and brought in food to share on Fridays. They stayed in touch for years afterwards.

One day, she sent a letter to the judge asking for a day off so she could see her oncologist. She included a package of candy in the envelope with the note, “I hear you like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.” The judge put the request on the record, granted her request and said, “unless anyone has an objection, I’m keeping the candy.”

In opening statements, the prosecutor painted a lurid picture of stolen money, boob jobs and strippers. Unfortunately, the first witness was a records custodian from BellSouth. My mother said that all men on the jury jockeyed for position since they thought the witness was one of the strippers. Poor girl.

At the conclusion of the trial, the judge read out the standard admonition to the parties telling them not to approach or bother jurors. He told the jurors they were under no obligation to speak to the parties about the case. There was a codefendant in the case; he was found not guilty. My mother went out into the hallway, cornered him, and shaking her finger at the “not guilty” man told him, “Buddy, you got a break. Don’t do it again.”

The trial took place in the West Palm Beach Division of the U.S. District Court, the same division—and perhaps the same courthouse at 301 Clematis Street—where Donald Trump is to be tried this fall.

Expect anything.

App Test

Let’s see if it works.

Initial Thoughts about Trump Indictment

It’s hard not to be dramatic in response to this. First, the indictment proves my point that classified information is radioactive. Lawyers should not accept a clearance in a criminal trial.

A Roosevelt moment. Republicans pushed the 22nd Amendment to avoid another Roosevelt. The Amendment ended up prohibiting another Reagan term. The risk to a sitting president is trumped-up criminal liability might be created after he leaves office. The safest move is to stay in office. Declare martial law? Inconceivable. But on Wednesday, indicting a former president was pretty much inconceivable.

Equal protection: Pence, Biden, Clinton and Obama all had classified info and were not indicted.

Politics: 70% of Americans believe this indictment is political as do I.

Does anyone honestly believe that Trump was acting as an espionage agent of a foreign government? I do not.

The case will be decided based on jury instructions, and I don’t think there are pattern instructions for this crime.

Whatever your views on Trump, this indictment is a huge mistake. The case will tear the country apart.

I don’t know why Trump kept the documents. Research for his memoirs? Probably it has something to do with his belief that he was rightfully elected. Does that turn the trial into a trial on the 2020 election?

With You and I

Mind your Pronouns

Hoss Missed Few Meals

I heard a native speaker say, “They can come with you and I.”

This is incorrect. Here, the word “I,” a subject pronoun, is used instead of the correct “me.”

Would you say, “They can come with I?”

Of course not. You’d say, “They can come with me.

I ascribe this error to an episode of the television show Bonanza where a one-room frontier schoolhouse teacher forced her barely literate charges to always use the pronoun “I.”

Me can’t think of any other explanation.

Patti Smith

Patti is a poet; friend of Robert Mapplethorpe (she wrote about him in Just Kids.) She was part of the 70’s New York Lower East Side Renaissance, born too late for the Beats she nevertheless followed the spirit of Rimbaud and made friends with William Burroughs, he of Junky, Naked Lunch, and his wife’s murderer. She was an accomplished poet, seeing her work published in the zines of the day.

Patti’s breakthrough was to set her poetry to music; the poem Oath with a back-up band led to her first album, Horses. A collaboration with Bruce Springsteen and a #1 hit record followed.

Then she retreated to the Midwest and married life, only to emerge twenty years later as if nothing had happened. Before you adjudge Patti of “aberrant behavior,” keep in mind that the rules she follows are those of the French poetes maudites: Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud; those who sought insight through a derangement of the senses. Only by that standard can she be judged. Political activist she was not; something tells me that she would not suffer Republican book clubs in the Detroit suburbs at all. Patti a sell-out?

Pas possible.

Before the Pandemic

I had just returned to Saudi Arabia. This is the view from my office on the Dammam Highway.

Roast Beef v. Thailand

“Why do you like Thailand so much?” they asked.

Lunch in Chicago: six chicken wings, french fries and a roast beef sandwich.

$47.80.

’Nuff said.

Roast Beef v. Thailand

“Why do you like Thailand so much?” they asked.

Six chicken wings, french fries and a roast beef sandwich.

$47.80.

’Nuff said.

Six Hour Delay: BA Held My Passport Hostage in Dubai

My friend left his passport in the aircraft seatback at 0800 March 30 2023. Flt. 105 LHR-DXB. An unfortunate act, to be sure, for which he takes full responsibility. But BA made things worse: he realized that he didn’t have his passport while on the Arrivals train at DXB. Once on the train, it is impossible to return to the gate without setting off alarms. There were no BA personnel available upon exiting the Arrivals train. At DXB immigration, likewise there was no BA staff available. We advised DNATA staff who called BA.

(Even though we could not leave immigration for lack of a passport, I later learned that there are no BA employees tasked with dealing with customer service baggage issues in the baggage claim area of DXB. You outsource this function and these third-party employees are not authorized to leave the area to go to BA gates.)

BA initiated a search for the passport, which was found at 0900. BA did not, however, arrange to bring the passport to the Immigration hall. Keep in mind that returning to the gate was not possible.

1000 and no response from BA, besides, “We’re busy.”

1100 and no response from BA, besides, “We’ll get to it.”

In the meantime, we were treated to exclusive seats on the bench reserved for criminals and other potential deportees, subjecting us to humiliation.

1200 and no response from BA, besides “We’re busy.”

1300 and no response from BA, besides, “We’re busy now.”

1400 Passport finally delivered.

I’d like to know why you think this is acceptable behavior.

I’d like to know why BA staff felt that it was appropriate to make us wait for six hours. I’d like to know why BA has no staff available airside or landside at DXB. BA closed its office at DXB during the pandemic. DNATA staff advised that in case of an emergency, they have no way of reaching BA.

I’d like to know how you can possibly believe this behaviour is consistent with your airline’s purported high standards.

I am truly shocked by this, and I doubt it is the first time something like this has happened.

Case No. 24675455

The Mandalay Bay Massacre and Saudi Arabia

Some have suggested that the death of 58 concert-goers in the Mandalay Bay massacre in Las Vegas in October, 2017 was an attempted assassination targeting Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman. The holes in the official story of the massacre are many and the Saudi angle has not been fully explored.

The secret history begins with a coup: on July 17, 2017, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the Deputy Crown Prince, replaced the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, the head of Saudi intelligence, in what is widely regarded as a coup. Alarmed at Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s rapid rise and leapfrogging over older family members in line to the throne, the conspirators decided to remove him from the line of succession. They were aided by friendly elements of the US intelligence services, who may or may not have known their ultimate intentions.

The top floors of the Mandalay Bay aren’t part of the hotel at all; they belong to the Four Seasons hotel, a hotel owned by Prince Walid bin Talal, a prominent Saudi investor and one of the Kingdom’s richest men. Prince Walid had a fleet of airplanes that included a 747 and for a while, even a double decker Airbus A-380, the world’s largest passenger plane. From an Islamic point of view, the Four Seasons is almost chaste: the Four Seasons hotel is unique among hotels on the Las Vegas Strip in that no gambling is offered. Thus, a Saudi staying at the hotel is insulated from charges of un-Islamic behavior. It is a perfect place to lodge for the future Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the official title of the king of Saudi Arabia.

Stephen Paddock, the man blamed for the attack, was to supply CIA-provided weapons, purchased legally from gun stores, to the assassination team. The guns are stashed in his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay. The hotel has always given conflicting information about how Paddock bypassed all the security the hotel had in place. No casino on the Vegas Strip has lax security. But with US intelligence as part of Paddock’s team, badges could be shown to bypass that security and carry bags without inspection to anywhere in the hotel.

The conspirators would pick up the guns on the 32nd floor and then head up the stairs to the Four Seasons where they would attack MbS. After he and his bodyguards were killed, they would return to the 32nd floor and escape in the confusion, perhaps with the credentials they had used to plant the guns prior to the commencement of the operation.

Two events happen to thwart the plot. MbS was not sitting with his entourage smoking sheesha in his suite at the 4 Seasons, instead he had put on Western clothes and melted into the Vegas crowds without his phalanx of bodyguards, walking to the Tropicana Casino, where he was enjoying himself playing cards, oblivious to the events that would soon unfold.

MbS bodyguards have in the meantime been alerted to the plot. They go to the Tropicana and pick up the prince, taking him to the McCarran Airport. There is a firefight at the airport. It is not clear whether this is shooting from the Mandalay Bay by frustrated coup plotters or a contingent that had somehow gotten wind of MbS’ flight to the airport from the Tropicana.

The FBI is busy arresting the coup plotters’ forces, which have now spread to other venues. There are sporadic shoot-outs. Two assassins are with Paddock in his room. They kill Paddock and do all the shooting of the concert-goers themselves in the hopes of creating a diversion that will permit them to escape.

They realize that the coup has failed and both commit suicide.

The CIA tells the FBI that the evidence of the coup attempt must be covered up. The FBI takes control of the crime scene and removes the bodies. Paddock is blamed for the massacre. The fact that the US government provided Paddock with the guns used for the massacre is buried along with the victims. The official story is that Paddock is a madman. The investigation turns up no motive for the attack.

How Paddock earned the vast sums needed to achieve “Whale” status is never quite clear. The story is that he regularly bet heavily, won at video poker, and that is why he was afforded privileges by the hotel. But no one wins regularly in Vegas, especially at any type of electronic slot machine. No one.

MbS returned to Saudi Arabia. A few weeks later, on November 4, Prince Walid was arrested, incarcerated at the Ritz-Carlton and the vast bulk of his fortune was eventually forfeited to the Saudi state. Prince Mansour, son of the former crown prince, fleeing arrest, was killed in a helicopter crash the next day.

Saad Al-Jabri was a top deputy to the former Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Nayef. He left Saudi Arabia in May, 2017. After the June 20 coup that ousted bin Nayef, Al-Jabri asked for and was granted political asylum in Canada.

On April 21, 2018, reports of another violent coup attempt were denied by Riyadh. According to the reports, MbS had been shot and wounded. Al-Jabri now claims that MbS sent an assassination squad to kill him five months later, in October, 2018.

There is little doubt that there has been one coup and countercoup attempt after another over the past three years. The Saudi government on March 6, 2020 arrested Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and accused him of planning a coup. If Al-Jabri can confirm that the Mandalay Bay massacre was linked to an attempted coup, he is indeed living on borrowed time. That is a story that must not get out.

The recent history of Saudi Arabia shows that the government and the coup plotters routinely ignore international borders when planning or carrying out operations. Coup attempts explain so much; the Ritz-Carlton arrests, the assassination of Khashoggi—what if he knew of the coup?—and MbS’ hard stance towards domestic critics. In an article published in The New Yorker on November 6th, 2017, Khashoggi was called an advisor to Saudi diplomats, strongly suggesting that he was a dissident. Did Khashoggi learn of the coup against MbS? If Khashoggi did and failed to warn him, this could be the real reason for his elimination. If MbS came to believe that Khashoggi was not just a journalist but one of the coup planners, killing Khashoggi is completely understandable.

Much of what has happened is in the public record; what is not proven is whether or not the Mandalay Bay massacre was part of a botched attempt to assassinate Mohammed bin Salman. Parts of this story can easily be corroborated; for other parts there is no evidence, or that evidence has been suppressed. Keep in mind that the official story requires belief that the de-facto ruler of Saudi Arabia just coincidentally happened to be a few floors above a madman who single-handedly plotted and executed the largest mass murder in American history.

Or maybe it all just happened the way they said it did.

Underground Bahrain

Is there a Bahrain underground? This book answers that question and tells the story of its denizens.

Underground Bahrain

This book claims that there is an underground in Bahrain and tells the story of its denizens.

Interesting Book

This book claims that there is an underground in Bahrain and tells the story of its denizens.

Instead He Wrote Howl

Follow the Science

The LGBTQ Community Causes Earthquakes, Concludes Rabbi

Bremerton FAQ

The U.S. Supreme Court has approved private, voluntary prayer at high school football games. The opinion raises many questions concerning the Establishment clause and the separation of Church and State. I have put together a helpful FAQ to aid bewildered school administrators.

Q. Has the Supreme Court put prayer back in the schools?

A. Not really. At this stage, there must be a football-related reason to justify invoking a deity’s aid.

Q. If one coach prays in an effort to obtain the favor of a particular deity, what should the other team do to avoid a competitive disadvantage?

A. A school-approved “chaplains’ panel” should level the playing field. Holy men of all faiths may apply.

Q. May a santero football coach sacrifice a goat on the 50-yard line during football games?

A. Of course! As long as a time-out is called and the sacrifice is performed quickly, such as at the end of a quarter or during half-time.

Q. Is voodoo a permitted football religious practice?

A. It certainly is! The practice is often seen at schools found in Haitian neighborhoods in Miami.

It is well known that invoking Papa Legba can often steer an errant kick into a three-pointer.

Q. Are underaged players permitted to smoke cigars and spew rum during conference games?

Of course! Note that since the rum is not consumed but instead sprayed in the direction of the orisha that underage drinking rules are not implicated. However, these sacraments should be used only under the guidance of the school Babalawo.

Q. Is it OK to speak in tongues in a huddle?

A. The term “huddle” is now deprecated. The new term is “game time prayer circle.”

And yes, what would otherwise be private prayer that becomes loud and public because of divine intervention may not be restricted.

Q. It’s 4th and inches. Is it constitutionally permitted to call a time-out for private prayer?

A. Whether it’s 4th and inches or 1st and 10, tell Coach that there’s no time like the present for private worship.

Q. My school has lost its last three games. Can we use black magic to beat our next opponent?

Of course. Drawing a pentacle on the field is one way to insure missed tackles and regular turnovers.

Q. Is permitted school football prayer restricted to “mainstream” religions?

Glad you asked. No, it’s not. As long as you have an identifiable deity, there is no restriction on private worship.

Q. Are Scientology tents permitted at high school football games?

A. Of course!

Scientology counselors packing e-Meters will offer free counseling, pre-clear services and sign-up sheets.

Q. We have an atheist in our game time prayer circle. What can we do?

A. Under Bremerton, football field prayer must be voluntary. However, Coach can bench whomever he wants for lack of good character.

The Supreme Court may rule on religious issues, but will not overrule the personnel decisions of a head coach, especially at game time.

Q. Should Zoroastrian players be permitted to light small fires on the field in honor of their god?

A. Yes. Zoroastrian fire marshals can insure that small fires lit by worshipful players pose no threat to the groundskeepers

Q. Coach requires two hours of classroom per week where he writes X’s and O’s on the board so the team can learn new plays.

My question is: can we have voluntary prayer in the classroom?

A. Yes. Because football is the reason for the class, prayer at these sessions is permitted.

Q. Can someone explain the Bremerton decision to me?

A. Because celebrity athletes are particularly well-suited to answer church/state questions based on their athletic prowess, we have decided to pose this question to Phil Mickelson at the earliest opportunity.

Q. We scored a field goal with 12 seconds left on the clock. What is an appropriate way to give thanks?

A. This depends on your religious tradition. Consult with your football team’s chaplain for best practices.

Q. Our school board refuses to fund the football team chaplain. The team has a special need, as they have had three losing seasons. What can we do?

A. Some school boards recommend setting up inter-faith religious commissions to vet candidates for the football chaplaincy.

Q. Coach and I share the same Christian faith. The team’s defensive coordinator is, however, of the Jewish faith. What should I do?

A. Help the defensive coordinator to form a minyan when requested. All faiths are respected on the field under Bremerton.

Q. We have an atheist in our game time prayer circle. What can we do?

A. Under Bremerton, football field prayer must be voluntary. However, Coach can bench whomever he wants for lack of good character.

Q. It’s 3rd and long and a rattlesnake brought for half-time snake-handling prayer has escaped onto the field. Can Coach use one of his time-outs?

A. Time spent collecting the reptile will not be charged to either team as the free exercise of religion at school-sponsored events must be respected.

Q. What is private prayer?

Private prayer is the subvocal, unobtrusive invocation of an identified deity, performed after alerting the media as to time and place of the subvocalization and voluntary prayer circle.

Q. After our last scoring drive, Coach went for two instead of the easy point. The conversion attempt failed. I feel like God has abandoned me.

A. Football field faith crises are normal after a missed conversion. Talk to your school’s religious counselor for guidance.

Q. If the 1st Amendment permits prayer in schools, doesn’t the 2nd Amendment permit guns in schools? When can our defensive tackles take their .357 magnums to practice?

A. First, let us compliment your defensive line on a wise choice of personal firearm. Automatic pistols may carry more rounds, but they are harder to clean and clear. A revolver is a safer gun because it is easier to insure that no round is chambered.

As to your question, Justice Roberts, who leaked the Dobbs opinion, intimated that we will see developments in this area soon.

Soul-Eating Monster

Q. “We are playing the conference champions next week and our team has had a dismal record. What can we do, that is, in a spiritual sense, to insure victory?”

A. Put photographs of a soul-eating Naga everywhere in the champions’ dressing room, and build a life-size model to be placed on a trailer so that it can dragged onto the field during time-outs for private game time prayer. With souls at risk, victory for your team should be assured.

Football Prayer Rug

American Muslims: now that the US Supreme Court in Bremerton has approved midfield prayer during football games, it’s time to get an appropriate prayer rug for the next game.

Respectfully submitted,

Michael O’Kane

The US Supreme Court

The Court lost all intellectual integrity with Dobbs. It is now a political body whose decisions are no more persuasive than common advertising.

Film Firearm Rules

Alex Baldwin has some ‘splainin to do.

Rules on Set

  1. No clowning around! Anyone pointing firearms at anyone (other than rehearsing) will be wrapped.
  2. Do not point at anyone directly within 10 feet. Putting a gun with blanks to your head will blow a piece of your skull into your brain if the trigger is pulled.
  3. When the Director, Stunt Coordinator, or weapons specialist, etc. yells “cut”: (1) take your finger out of the trigger guard, and (2) point gun at the ground.
  4. Do not put your hands in front of the barrel. Do not put your hand on slides, charging handles, bolts, etc. as they move with great force on some models when fired. They can break your fingers, hands, etc.
  5. Hot shells eject from semi-auto and full auto firearms. Be careful and mindful of who is to the right of you.
  6. If an actor crosses in front of you, within 10 feet, stop firing!
  7. Never point a gun at an actor’s face.
  8. Live weapons and ammo are not permitted on the set. If you own a gun or carry a gun, GET IT OFF THE SET NOW! This includes ammo. Empty your pockets and lock ammo and guns away, preferably in your car. This includes real police officers that are being used as actors or extras – there is no security. You may use your firearm as a prop if it is EMPTIED OFF SET and inspected by the Weapons Master specialist, this INCLUDES ALL magazines in pouches. You are either an actor or a police officer, pick one.
  9. Anyone that smells of liquor, beer, or marijuana WILL NOT receive a firearm, accept getting the written permission from the responsible person.
  10. Do not try to take guns apart, fold stocks, flip switches, push buttons, etc.! If you have a fake firearm, attempting this will break off parts.
  11. DO NOT DROP GUNS! The production is liable for any damage! If you cannot hold onto the gun, it will be taken from you. Plastic prop guns are fragile – treat them as such. Do not attempt to cock handles, push buttons etc. Light pulling of the trigger is OK. Rubber guns may be dropped if needed.
  12. Do not put objects in the barrels of guns as they can kill when blanks are fired.

From bangkokvideoproductions.com

Mail in the Middle East

Mail in the Middle East is routinely not delivered. Is this a cultural issue (mail in Riyadh was once dumped in the town square on the chance the crowd might know the addressee) an institutional issue (declining revenues from decreasing first class mailings) or something else?

Discuss.

Picture is of the main post office in Ho Chi Minh City, often erroneously attributed to Gustav Eiffel. In fact, the building was designed by French architect Alfred Foulhoux.

Ten Tips for Going In-House

Identify your Enemy

This is probably the most important. Even if you join the large in-house legal department of a mega-corporation like Exxon, there will be an enemy. While the enemy might be individual, it might also be a group. You are in competition with anyone who enters at the same time you do. Contracting departments often are at war with the legal department and if they are successful in getting you fired, it’s one for their team.

Failure to identify your enemy means your tenure will be short. Legal ethics will only help as a sword, not as a shield. Someone may invite you to get involved in a matter or try to assign a case to you that is a battlefield where many have fallen. If others have failed, it’s for a reason. “I can’t get involved in that matter because of conflicts.” Sun-Tzu is your friend.

Learn the Back Story

Many matters that cross your desk will appear to be routine. Review of a contract; a non-disclosure agreement, updating corporate forms in view of new legislation or a court decision. Beware of those matters that while appearing routine contain only partial facts and only part of the story.

In a dispute between members of a joint venture, as the calendar year rolled around approving the company’s financials and renewing registrations is considered routine.

Your counterparty asks if these routine matters can be resolved, notwithstanding the parties’ disputes. You agree because of statutory requirements only to find that a not-so-bright light on your team has refused to cooperate on routine matters in a misguided effort to obtain an advantage over the substantive dispute.

“Oh no,” the genius said, “we can’t agree to paying the annual registration fee.”

“If you don’t the company will be delisted,” you respond.

“Then that will be their fault,” he claims, “because blah blah blah.”

Consider every matter a minefield, no matter how minor. Even when you know the backstory.

Go Out of your way to do favors

An in-house legal department may be a new animal for many within the organization. Before your arrival if they only dealt with outside counsel who weren’t part of the organization and subject to the company’s chain of command. They dealt with lawyers like they might deal with any other supplier or customer. Initially, they will not know how to deal with you. Attorney-client confidentiality is one area of confusion, because your client is the organization. No non-lawyer will understand this.

Win allies by going the extra mile and helping your colleagues outside the legal department meet their deadlines, even if it means goodbye to that 9 to 5 that you dreamt of before going in-house.

Keep an ‘Attaboy’ File

Every time anyone in the organization praises you, make a note if the praise is oral and a copy if written. These encomia should go into an “attaboy file.” You will need this information when it comes time for salary review or when someone in the organization, unhappy with your legal advice and tired of filing reclama after reclama, tries to get you thrown out the door. See “Identify your Enemy” above.

Time Records, Time Records, Time Records

The bane of lawyers is the requirement to keep detailed time records so that bills can be prepared for clients. One of the advantages of in-house practice, supposedly, is that there is no need to keep such records. Don’t believe it. You still need to keep them for a host of reasons, but here are four:

—identifying people present at a meeting if this becomes an issue (it will)

—justifying your salary (and value to the organization)

—aide-memoire for those off the cuff oral legal opinions

—keeping a follow-up to your to-do list

—proving corporate legal expenditures in court for fee reimbursement

Plaintiff lawyers, or any lawyer taking a fee on a contingency fee basis often believe that there is no need to keep time records. This belief evaporates the moment they are ordered to prepare a bill of costs in a matter where the client is entitled to attorneys fees.

Reconstructing time spent is a task for novelists because it is properly called narrative fiction.

Contemporaneous records are admissible in court. Reconstructions might be admissible, but then again, there is a high risk that they will be cut by the presiding judge if disputed. And they will be disputed.

Educate your Superiors

Unless your superiors are old court hands, they will not understand that there are certain activities that are a necessary part of lawyering. One example is talking to opposing counsel.

Your superiors may foolishly believe that this is some kind of betrayal and that no quarter should ever be given. The opponent should be met on the battlefield only. This attitude is stupid.

Even the most contentious cases require cooperation from opposing counsel and without communication there is no cooperation.

A factory of a certain size may have an in-house medical facility; a clinic or even a physician on call. No corporate officer would question an in-house physician as to why he prescribed Tylenol instead of aspirin to an employee who reported a headache but the same officer will feel privileged to question why you served standard form interrogatories or Requests to Admit to an opposing lawyer.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing; explain generally that conduct in litigated civil disputes is governed by the Rules of Civil Procedure. Offer to send a copy to the offending corporate officer. He will say yes, not read what you send him and in the future hopefully will keep his nose out of court business.

The Chairman’s Best Law Firm

Even though you are working in-house for a company and not a law firm, in reality you are still working for a law firm. That firm reports to the chairman or CEO of the company. You want him to think of your department as “his” law firm; you want the law department to be his first and most trustworthy stop for legal advice.

This means you must operate the law department as if it were a law firm. This will be difficult, because unlike other corporate divisions the law department will be seen as a cost, and not a profit center.

Don’t let anyone think of the law department in that way. Keep close track of the savings you bring to the firm, whether compared to the costs of outside counsel or simply as to areas where your law department has saved the company money.

Don’t Take Sides

Different divisions within the company will fight for resources, profits and the attention of the chairman. Promotions will be granted on merit, but they will too often be awarded to the less-worthy who has made it seem like a different division was less successful.

Invariably, the different sectors will come to you and ask you to take a side, suggesting, without actually denouncing, that programs or processes engaged in by a different division are not in the best interest of the company. They will ask you to back them up.

Don’t be tempted. You never get the whole story in this fashion and there is always more to the story. Try to remain neutral for as long as possible, unless an until the chairman raises the matter with you. If he doesn’t, it’s best not to get involved.

Of course, if someone comes to you with a story of fraud or other wrongdoing, you must report this to the chairman. Never forget who is your client.

The Gift of Time

While in the rush to complete a transaction there will still be many days where your work long hours, for the most part the ten or twelve—or more—hour days common to associates at Big Law firms will be a thing of the past.

This is nothing less than a gift of time.

Don’t waste it.

Dealing with Outside Counsel

You are in a position to help bring in the best lawyers for the company. But be careful: doing so means stepping on toes.

Long-term relationships with ensconced firms are disturbed at your peril. Lawyers at these firms can and will go over your head to claim that bringing in a new firm is a sign of immaturity (even if you’re over 50), ignorance (even if you know the case backwards and forwards) or incautious (even if the proposed selection was made after a rigorous tender process).

You can’t ignore these whispers because you will not always be there to hear them. Bring others in the firm—not just the law department—in on the decision. They will be your internal advocates, for they know the details better than you do. Tell the firm you’d like to make the award to where the opposition lies: they may have some useful comments.

In the end, don’t make it your decision. It’s the chairman’s decision, and if he decides to overrule your team and go with his golfing buddy, so be it.

Don’t complain or sulk, even if you feel a great error is being made.

Stay in your Lane

Unless you have an MBA or ran a business prior to becoming a lawyer (managing a law firm doesn’t count) don’t try to offer strategic suggestions for the future of the business.

You are not a businessman.

Look what happened to Citibank’s Charles Price. If you want to move into management, get an MBA.

The Dark Forest Hypothesis

So What If He Never Said It?