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LegalOps PizzaGenics: What Could Go wrong?

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Last week, when introducing a new series of posts we intend to produce, we received feedback from some very scholarly people that "nobody has ever heard of the word iatrogenics!" and that we were using terms that would alienate and confuse people.

Fair enough. It's harder to write something simple, as in, "if I'd had more time I'd have written a shorter note" which is often misattributed to Mark Twain, but more likely - although not definitively - comes from Blaise Pascal. 

I was raised by a lawyer/judge to be a lover of the english language, so I use terms that interest and engage me. I assumed others in the industry may also be language aficionados.

That is probably a mistake for this vehicle and certainly doesn't follow the advice of one of my idols, Richard Feynman. Two of his suggestions in conveying complex information as simply as possible are; to use simple language, and use analogies and examples. Another is to constantly iterate and refine. So, I'm going to attempt all three here.

In business, and life in general, there are decisions we make that on their face look very straightforward and beneficial, but ultimately cause unintended negative results. Sometimes, that initial (bad) decision can create a number of negative consequences. If the sum total of the negative consequences exceed the total positive benefits, then you've made a bad decision.

Imagine you're incredibly hungry and decide that a slice of pizza should work to calm your hunger. However, upon arriving at the pizza parlour, you're convinced by the cashier that buying a whole pizza is a much better deal. You think, "Why not? I'll have leftovers!"

Fast forward an hour, and you find yourself in a food coma, having eaten the entire pizza in one sitting because it was just too good to stop. Not only did you spend more money than intended, but you also feel uncomfortably full and might even skip your next meal or two.

That is iatrogenics. When a decision (buying a whole pizza instead of a single slice to save money and have leftovers), leads to an unintended negative consequence (overeating, spending more, and experiencing discomfort). Essentially, the solution to your hunger problem caused a new problem, much like how some medical treatments can inadvertently create new health issues.

So, how does this relate to LegalOps/Tech you ask? It relates to all business decisions within an organization. And the creation of a LegalOps/Tech role beginning in the early 2000s, but gaining real steam since 2017, has created a cascade of unintended consequences. 

Have the positive consequences outweighed the negative? That's what we're going to explore. If you understand what the negative unintended consequences of typical decisions are surrounding the LegalOps role and Corporate Legal Department, you can more easily avoid bad decisions and circumstances. And that means fewer people get hurt by those negative consequences.

Which is precisely why we're writing this series.


The Best LegalTech Stack is No LegalTech Stack- part II

Now with the preamble out of the way from Part I, let's drill down into the LegalTech Stack issue.

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The Best LegalTech Stack is No LegalTech Stack - part I

I'm fortunate that next week I'll be attending the Alternative Events In-House Technology Summit in the UK. I'm looking forward to seeing some old...

Read More

LegalOps PizzaGenics: What Could Go wrong?

Last week, when introducing a new series of posts we intend to produce, we received feedback from some very scholarly people that "nobody has ever...

Read More