Laura Frederick's Favorite Time Management Rule for In-House Counsel

contract negotiations Feb 14, 2023

This is my favorite rule of in-house counsel:  A-level effort for A-level work, C-level effort for C-level work. You are a tool of risk management for your company and you have to manage your time and your attention with that in mind. 

So if it's a super-important deal, it's the hundred million dollar deal, you focus on that. The little crappy $25,000 event room at a hotel contract, you don't focus on.  

This also goes hand in hand with working with your stakeholders because your stakeholders don't have this perspective on what's A-level work and what's C-level work. And you don't necessarily even wanna tell them, "Your stuff's not very important. I'm gonna go work on important stuff." But at least when we are figuring out our own time management, we should be thinking about this.

I see people, "Oh, I redrafted this contract I received from the counterparty. I spent a couple hours fixing everything about it to make it better and to change the words and the sections." And, I'm like, oh my God, you could have done so much else! If it's the strategic A-level work, great.

We gotta remember these contracts are not ends to themselves. And especially if it's a low risk, low dispute possibility, we're not supposed to make them beautiful.