Aon

According to vast anecdotal evidence, deep in the heart of many or most bored and frustrated Biglaw midlevels lies the dream of someday landing a plum in-house gig. The kind of job which offers reasonable and predictable hours and a decent (albeit smaller) paycheck. The kind of job where “billable hours” are someone else’s problem and there’s only one client to report to.

Going in-house is also an opportunity to become a stakeholder in a business, rather than just a “hired gun” advisor. Living that dream is our very own Inside Straight columnist Mark Herrmann, VP and Chief Litigation Counsel of Aon plc, the world’s largest insurance broker. Mark is also a former partner at Jones Day, and the author of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law (affiliate link). There are few with a broader perspective and deeper insight into the practice of law both in both firm and in-house contexts.

On June 12th, Above the Law will be hosting a cocktail reception at an undisclosed location in Chicago where Mark will be our guest of honor. Staci Zaretsky will be playing the role of James Lipton, and will conduct an interview with Mark to kick off the evening. Afterwards, drinking. We would like to crowdsource at least a portion of Staci’s interview with Mark, so after the jump, please leave a question for Mark in comments. We’ll select the best ones and Staci will pose them to Mark on June 12th….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ask Mark Herrmann Anything, LIVE in Chicago”

Here’s proof that I view my readers at ATL as family: In this post, I’m going to share with you the results of my recently concluded 360-degree performance review and tell you how I plan to improve my personal job performance. (That may not be quite as sexy as pictures of naked judges, but you must admit that I’m making terribly personal information awfully public.)

I’d never been through a 360-degree review before. As part of the process, I completed a self-evaluation, so we could see whether my self-perception matched how the world perceives me. In addition to my self-rating, I received anonymous feedback from (1) the person to whom I report (who was classified as a “peer,” so that his responses would remain anonymous), (2) five other “peers,” or people who hold jobs equivalent to mine in the company and who work with me occasionally, and (3) seven “direct reports,” or folks who report up to me through the ranks. The human resources guy who discussed the review with me did a very nice job; he knows a fair amount about performance evaluations. (Aon is not just the world’s leading provider of insurance and reinsurance brokerage, but also the leading provider of human capital consulting. This means that (1) at long last, Aon finally just got some free publicity out of my having written this column for almost a year, and (2) we have many colleagues at Aon who do human resources consulting for a living, so they’re slightly better at delivering the results of reviews than the kid down the block or the head of your practice group at your law firm.)

What did I learn from the results of my 360-degree review?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Learning From My 360-Degree Review”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

Quick! What short form will you use in your brief to identify your client, Porsche Cars of North America, Inc.?

If your guts are screaming “PCNA,” then your guts need reworking.

But I chose this example for my column today because I’ve seen this very thing happen. I’ve seen a lawyer (at a perfectly good firm) assign the short form “PCNA” to this entity.

What was he thinking?

If I’m at the steering wheel of the case, then we’re not representing PCNA.

Who do we represent?

We represent Porsche, for heaven’s sake. Porsche.

It’s a word. I understand it. It creates an image in my mind. It communicates with me quickly and compellingly. That’s (generally) good….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: On Alphabet Soup (Hereinafter ‘OAS’)”

Some time ago, we solicited applications for a new position here at Above the Law: a columnist to cover the world of in-house counsel. We received many outstanding applications, and we thank everyone who applied for their interest.

Today we are pleased to announce the launch of the new column, entitled Inside Straight (for the poker aficionados among you). As its name suggests, the column will cover the world of corporate counsel with all of the candor and insight that you’ve come to expect from ATL.

Our columnist — a former law firm partner, current in-house lawyer, and author of a well-received book on legal practice — should be familiar to longtime followers of the world of legal blogging….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Above the Law Launches a New Column for In-House Counsel”