Where Were You?
If you ever have a legal problem, call Catherine. She's a lawyer's lawyer. Smart, experienced, and calm under fire. She's been in the trenches, and also looked down at the trenches from on high. She sees the big picture as well as the minute details of every legal issue.
But there's a problem. You and I probably couldn't afford Catherine. She's a senior partner with a large, international law firm. She's worth every penny she charges, but her billing rate is out of this world. You have to have very deep pockets to get her services. That pretty much narrows the field down to a handful of large corporations who are facing bet-the-business decisions.
Oh, there's one other thing. Before becoming a senior partner at her law firm, Catherine was the general counsel for one of the largest companies in the world. It's a powerful and important position. For most, it would be the crowning achievement of an extraordinary career. Because of this, Catherine has what they call “street cred”—that is, the credibility that only comes from having had to live by your wits in the rough-and-tumble real world of business.
I'm having breakfast with Catherine, and I decide to get some free counsel. Not about legal matters—about relationships.
“Catherine,” I begin, “I'm curious. As a senior partner, you are trying to build relationships with in-house counsel at large companies and sell your legal services to them. But just a few years ago you were the general counsel. You hired lawyers ...