General Electric Co.

Long ago, my law firm won an appeal, and we were thinking of publicizing the victory for the benefit of both the client and our firm.

“It’ll be good to get some attention,” I said to the senior partner.

“It’s easy to get attention,” said he. “Just run naked down Market Street at high noon. We don’t want attention. We want good attention.”

The same could be said of corporate law departments: It’s easy to get attention. It’s harder to get attention for simply doing a good job.

Suppose you wanted your corporation’s law department to be the darling of the press and be nominated for “law department of the year” honors. What would you do?

It’s easy: Make the type of big, public announcements that draw attention: “Our law department is announcing three major initiatives. First, we’re announcing a pro bono initiative. All of our in-house lawyers will devote at least 500 hours per year to pro bono matters. Second, we’re implementing a diversity initiative. [Insert details here.] Third, we’re completely eliminating reliance on the billable hour. Henceforth, all of our law firms will work on flat-fee or other alternative billing arrangements.” (There are surely other items that one could add to this list, too, that are escaping my feeble imagination.)

Gin ‘em up. Send out a press release. Presto! Your law department would be the toast of the town. People would be beating down your doors seeking interviews. But what would you have accomplished?

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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has been busy lately. First, the Southern California-based non-profit responsible for the Internet’s address system created a porn-only, top-level domain. And on January 12, ICANN will start allowing people to register top-level domains of whatever they want.

.Com, .net, and .org — your days of tyranny are over!

Leave it to government officials and businesses concerned about protecting their intellectual property online to spoil the party. Companies are worried that allowing just anything to sit at the right side of a URL address will lead to useless costs and headaches in order to protect against cybersquatters.

We’ve got the nitty.gritty after the jump….

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