Articles Posted in Big Law Firms vs. Smaller Boutiques


The Point

I once asked Ben W. Heineman, Jr., legendary GE General Counsel under Jack Welch during the years I served as an executive at GE: “What’s the one key to managing resources in a company’s law function?”

Heineman’s unhesitating reply: “Segment! Segment! Segment!”

As he explains in his book, The Inside Counsel Revolution:

” … Law departments must prioritize and segment the work (his emphasis) from routine with low risk, to recurrent with moderate risk, to repeating cases with high risk, to one-off consequential cases, to one-off potentially catastrophic or transformative matters.” Continue reading


The Point

An earlier generation was raised on the saying: “Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM”.

It still holds sway among too many general counsels I’ve known in their strong prejudice favoring AmLaw 100 or AmLaw 200 law firms as a hedge against second-guessing if something goes wrong on their watch.

Ben Heineman, Jr., legendary general counsel of GE from 1987 to 2005, disagrees. While careful to avoid a simplistic, sweeping endorsement of boutique law firms and condemnation of BigLaw, Heineman cautions against the opposite error — a widespread prejudice among general counsels. Continue reading

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