Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Straight Outta Law School

Hewlett Packard is now experimenting with hiring in-house counsel directly out of law school. It's an unorthodox move, but makes sense for a company of HP's size. They've got the volume of grunt legal work that a first year is suited to do, and enough senior counsel to provide training. Most importantly, they are assured of getting new hires who are untainted by time spent toiling in the risk-adverse halls of big law firms.

Sounds like good news for these lucky hires and their internal clients at HP.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Perils of Hyperbole

First of all, has it really been three months since I've posted here? Between being crazy-busy and writing elsewhere I've neglected Corporate Tool. But fear not - this post from What About Clients? today reminded me of how hyperbole, attractive though it might be, is to be avoided like the plague in both litigation and business.

Dan Hull is absolutely right about the corrosive effect hyperbole has on one's credibility as a litigator; how a single overstatement can undermine an entire legal brief. It's simple, really: Lie about one thing, and people won't believe you about anything.

The corollary in business is this: If you're going to overstate your position, make threats or engage in brinkmanship, you'd better be prepared to back it up. Unless you're really ready to walk from the negotiating table, bring a lawsuit or take some other decisive action, such bombast is likely to seriously backfire. Empty threats are almost never successful.