Laser Fair

October 8, 2009

A laser focus on value and ‘balance’ in all transactions were major messages. (Since I pride myself on being able to trivialise anything for the sake of a pun, I insist that balance can, not unreasonably, be translated as ‘being fair’.)

I tend to agree that the message is very similar to the message of previous years – Chris Reed suggested that we have the same discussion every five years. I have the same thought every five years: when did lawyers become qualified to tell businessmen what deals to make? My thunder on that was stolen though because Alexander Carter-Silk made the points I might have made (in what he termed an anarchic comment – in fact I think his approach is the very antithesis of anarchy). It is one thing for lawyers to close the chasm between their instructions and what the client actually wants, it is another to tell the client what it really needs. And how does the exercise of finding out to your satisfaction what the client wants fit with ‘time kills deals’.

Notwithstanding my reservations about what Malcolm Bennett described as the blurring of barriers, these were very stimulating and thought-provoking presentations. Like others, I especially liked Mohammed Farooq’s admission that his work bore no relation to his job description. It’s a testament either to the fluidity of the challenge facing lawyers in IT, whether in-house or not – or maybe it’s a testament to the ineffiency of the Barclays HR people.