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Law Firms, Watch Collectors & How To Know When ‘Time Is Money’

In the case of high-end watch collectors, time is literally money.

At a recent Christie’s auction, a Patek Philippe watch sold for more $50,000—quite an improvement over its 1950s retail price of $275, reports CBS News.

“I’ve seen artwork being traded for watches. I have seen somebody trade a very rare Patek Philippe for a down payment on an apartment,” said Benjamin Clymer, Founder and Editorial Director,

In today’s digital age, you still can’t stop the clock. Apple shelled out $21 million in a “lump sum” to license a clock-face design from the Swiss Federal Railway service, reported French news agency AFP, citing a Swiss paper.

Swiss Federal Railway service (SBB) objected to the clock-face design in iOS 6 because it too closely resembled a trademarked design created in 1944 by SBB employee Hans Hilfiker. Today the design is used in train stations throughout Switzerland and licensed the pricey Swiss watch manufacturer, Mondaine.

Hilfiker’s design is timeless, and thus has been honored by both the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the London Design Museum. The Swiss consider it a national symbol of punctuality, but it’s also an example to lawyers of the power technology holds when protected by intellectual property.

It’s not just watches; there are myriad other reasons why technology converts time into money for your firm. Here are some lessonds, according to an Accellis Technology article, for law firms:

“When you’re efficient, you take on less risk – Simply put, the less time you spend on a contingency case, the less risk associated with taking it on. If you lose, you’re not sacrificing as much time or revenue. If you win, you’ll make the same amount of money, but since you spent less time on the case, your margins are higher. And, if you win or lose but don’t get paid, you’re out less money.

When you’re efficient, you can take on more cases – If you can generate a Will twice as fast as your competitor, you can do twice the amount of work, right? When your process for settling civil disputes speeds up, you can twice as many disputes.

When you’re efficient, you can spend more time on client-facing activities – Spend your new-found time meeting people, creating stronger relationships with your clients, and building value in your firm. Try to drive in new opportunities from your current client base (maybe they didn’t know you take on divorces). Did you know that once you have a client, each subsequent sale has a close ratio of over 70%? It’s easy money!”

To read the entire article, go here.

Sold on technology, but need to know where to start? Think about integrating the following products into your business systems:

The iPad.

Apps for the mobile phone and iPad have contributed some of the most significant improvements in efficiency and productivity within law firms in some time. Get with your IT Department to brainstorm how best to implement these gadgets into everyday legal activity.

For some of the best legal iPad apps, go here.

Near-field Communications (NFC) Technology.

From Google Wallet to Starbucks Mobile Payment App, NFC technology has myriad uses in law.

Read more about their applications here.

Social Media and Blogging.

Social media sites like LinkedIn or legal recruitment web-agencies, including, are cheap and easy ways to locate qualified candidates. It saves recruiters time and money by already compiling information about prospective employees.

Even if your firm is not looking to hire, it’s certainly still looking to recruit clients. At which point, social media—blog posts, tweets, or Facebook feeds—become crucial in advertising what services your firm offers, who its lawyers are, and why a client should hire you, as opposed to another firm.

In the time it took you to read this line, I sent a tweet and 500 people read it. Talk about a new value for time in money.

E-discovery software

By this time, most law firms already (from necessity) have some sort of electronic discovery software. However, when was it last updated?

The capabilities of software and technology changes rapidly everyday. If you haven’t updated your online systems for some time, it’s likely that there’s a more efficient way to organize and file e-discovery.

In sum, what have you learned about time, money, and technology? They’re inextricably linked.

So, consider putting together a “technology team” at your law firm—to keep apprised of developments in the field of legal gadgetry—one that will ensure your associates are not falling behind or sinking your bottom line. And if you’re feeling generous, make timeless timepieces part of your end-of-year bonuses: They appreciate (and your associates will appreciate them).

Regain control of your time and technology.

Take C4CM’s audio course, “Microsoft Outlook: Unlock E-Mail, Calendar and Time-Saving Secrets” on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, from 2:00 PM To 3:15 PM Eastern.

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Tom Brady & The Patriots Face More Controversy & Record Retention Lessons For HR

Even if you’re not from the Northeast—even if you’re not a football fan—by now you’ve heard of the New England Patriots. Whether it’s Tom Brady’s supermodel wife or its Deflategate controversy, the team certainly knows how to make the news. And last night’s game was no exception.

First, an inadvertent official whistle during a live play stopped what may been a 50-yard touchdown by the Patriots’ receiver Danny Amendola. In a close game against the Buffalo Bills, such an error could have been costly to the Patriots’ undefeated team.

Then, with seconds left on the clock, a questionable call ended the game abruptly—smashing any chance the Buffallo Bills had at a hail marry pass (or other play) to tie in the fourth quarter.

Final score? 20-13. The New England Patriots continue their winning record of 10-0 in the AFC Eastern Division.

As if Monday night’s football wasn’t enough, the Patriots headlined this morning for another reason.

The NFL’s appeal of a district court decision vacating the suspension of quarterback Tom Brady will be heard on March 3, it announced today. The 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday scheduled oral arguments for well after Feb. 7, also know as Super Bowl 50.

The hearing date is over a year after the 2014 AFC Championship Game where the Patriots played the Indianapolis Colts with deflated footballs, reports USA Today. An independent investigation found two Patriots employees responsible for these rule-breaking activities and concluded that Brady was at least “generally aware” of the situation.

However, at least for now, the Deflategate controversy won’t keep the Patriots’ from another championship season.

But what if your company was forced into an independent investigation? What if your personnel records were audited this very minute, could they stand-up to a DOL probe, an EEOC investigation, or an ICE inspection?

As an HR professional one of your primary responsibilities is to maintain personnel records. But what began as putting important files in a folder has developed into a complex web of compliance. And each year, compliance gets more and more difficult, as you add in electronic documents and other formats.

There are the modified FMLA rules, the updated ADA regulations, the FLSA, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, all of which have separate rigid requirements for retention. And the federal push for I-9 compliance means employers must have their immigration forms meticulously maintained… but you don’t have to worry about that, right?

When it came to evidence on deflating footballs, Tom Brady also thought he was in the clear. But, technological advances (for Brady, the availability of cell phone records) and the threat of potential litigation (or the suspension from professional football) should impact the way your team does its record-keeping.

For Brady, it may be too late. But for law firm professionals, attend The Center For Competitive Management’s audio course, “Save it, Shred it, Delete it? Employee Record Retention for HR,” on Friday, December 11, 2015 from 2:00 PM To 3:15 PM EST.

For law firms or football teams, there’s a big difference between making headlines and being victims of them.

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Laptops & Tablets For Notetaking: Law Office Distraction or Time-Saving Device?

More and more, people blame technology for poor performance.

A Cornell University study called, “The Laptop and the Lecture,” gave half a university class unfettered access to their computers during a lecture, and then imposed a strict “no-laptop” policy on the other half.

Clearly not the perfect experiment, the study nevertheless showed that overwhelmingly the disconnected students performed better on a post-lecture quiz, regardless of the kind or duration of the computer use.

“I banned laptops in the classroom after it became common practice to carry them to school. When I created my “electronic etiquette policy” (as I call it in my syllabus),” wrote Dan Rockmore in his New Yorker article, “The Case for Banning Laptops in the Classroom.”

“I was acting on a gut feeling based on personal experience.”

And that’s the problem.

Whether it’s via the haphazard policies of university professors or the random experiment touted as “proof”, technology is getting the brunt of blame for poor performance in students and professionals when—in reality—technology is key to positive change.

The majority of issues with technology stem from the user. Cell phones, for example, are not a problem in movie theatres until somebody leaves them on or—worse yet—answers a call during the séance.

Computers can be great tool in class or the boardroom, until people become distracted by e-mail or surfing the web. Years of rock-solid research has shown multi-tasking leads to decreased productivity–but it’s the person, not the laptop, who is accountable.

Ultimately, technology is not the problem. Politeness is.

Whether or not we realize it, technology has made us less polite. When two people are talking, a third person would excuse themselves before entering the group conversation. Yet, when the phone rings, people won’t think twice before picking it up in front of a colleague or friend.

In meetings, dozing off is a definite no-no. But, for some reason, people won’t say no to spending an entire meeting or presentation distracted by the Internet.

The debate isn’t about which innovative technology to use, but rather, can we use it politely?

Last year, Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director for the American Humanist Association came up with “Five Recommendations for a New Politeness,” published in the Huffington Post. Here are a few of his ideas, summarized:

1. Stop fretting about political correctness. Instead, simply identify people in ways they prefer to be identified.

Remember the Golden Rule and treat people as they’d like to be treated.

2. State your opinions or critiques with respect for present company who may disagree.

“Politeness doesn’t mean censoring the flow of ideas or even respecting your opponent’s positions; just don’t forget they’re human, just like you,” explains Speckhardt.

3. Daily prejudice and discrimination exists, whether or not you personally witness it or experience it.

With that in mind, be aware of stereotypes and avoid speaking as if you endorse them.

4. Give in once in awhile.

“When you’re in the majority group, and most everyone is in some aspects of who they are, consider giving ground once in a while to someone who isn’t,” writes Speckhardt.

That means, lawyers: “Hit the brakes on your Beemer and let that minivan merge into traffic.”

5. Keep the behavior of others in check with constructive criticism, but maintain your composure and compassion while doing so.

So, before you make policies to stop smartphones in the workplace, start leading by example with politeness and see if behavior will change. It means more than just putting your cell phone on silent.

At presentations, if you decide to take notes on a laptop, alert the presenter ahead of time. Ask their permission. And, during the presentation, be sure to make eye contact and show your enthusiasm and alertness.

It’s tempting to jump at every ping, but condition yourself away from this sense of urgency. When in company, abstain from looking at your phone.

If you must, excuse yourself for a minute and explain why the phone call is urgent. Colleagues will be more understanding with a sincere apology and quick explanation.

Finally, follow Speckhardt’s five steps to politeness. When you practice politeness outside the office, it will become more natural to practice it within. Just because the environment is more stressful or busy at work, doesn’t mean you should get away with being disruptive, distant, or rude. Plus, you’ll be surprised at how small gestures go a long way to achieving a more pleasant workday.

Don’t restrict the innovation, re-condition your behavior as the user.

Forgot what it’s like to live on planet Earth instead of cyberspace? Practice your inter-personal communication skills with C4CM’s course, “Effective Interpersonal Skills and Communication Techniques.

According to the Stanford Research Institute, 85 percent of your success is related to people skills (communication skills/rapport skills), and only 15 percent is related to technical skill and ability. So pry those eyes away from the computer screen and into the eyes of your competition during court—learn how to excel outside Excel.

And, if you’re already sold on the value of technology, go here to discover more ways to use Windows 10 or MS Office efficiently and productively at your firm.

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Why Your Firm Should Fear Legal StartUps & How To Compete

Millennials, the group of tech-toting, flip-flop wearing adults born after 1980, have been the subject of eye-rolling. They’ve been stereotyped as expecting rewards just for participating and believing that spending long hours at the office is overrated.

Yet, legal professionals say that depiction as applied to their younger colleagues is wrong. In fact, they may work differently, taking full advantage of technology, but they’re smart and productive.

In fact, that may be why many of these young graduates interested in law are not going into law firms, at all. Millennials are forming legal start-ups that compete with both small and large, established firms in different ways.

In terms of small-firm competition, small start-up legal services companies can’t rely on a longstanding, loyal client base. Usually they must drive business, and small firms and start-ups will thus be competing among the same pool of potential customers.

Solo practitioners be wary, as well. New ideas, better comprehension of modern technology and a young mindset are assets to these start-up firms looking to represent similar start-ups in the business environment.

Take a look at your millennial competition:

1. Willing

“Founded by Eliam Medina and Rob Dyson, and backed by some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley like Y Combinator, 500 Startups and Ashton Kutcher, Willing is looking not only to change trust and estates, but the entire death care industry. Willing lets your write a will for free in five minutes, plan your funeral and after life and then connects you with the right vendors,” reports Above The Law.

“Is Willing even a legal tech company, or are they simply using a free, automated legal service — will writing — as a way to get customers?”

Well, it’s not the first time that free services have been used to bait and hook customers on related paid services. It’s a tried and true business model, so firms beware.

2. UpCounsel

How does it work? Clients answer a few questions about their legal needs, get connected to relevant attorneys who make a proposal and budget, and then interact online to complete your case.

“Matt Faustman at UpCounsel is convinced that the law firm model is going to change and he just raised a cool $10M from Menlo Ventures to prove it,” wrote Above The Law.

There’s a lot to be said for a system that makes it easier and—ah hem—pleasant to work with a lawyer.

The two examples above (get more here) explain why small or solo-practice law firms might fear the new legal kids on the block, but what do large law firms have to lose?

Properly incentivizing and compensating this new generation of lawyers is essential for your firm’s profitability, retention and key to attracting like-minded clients. When you’re losing key talent to start-ups due to hourly flexibility, superior work-life balance, or other compensation, it’s time to pay attention.

With all this venture capital and private equity money being thrown around to legal services start-ups, don’t be surprised if millennials follow the (dollar) bill.

What can you do? Consider:

  • Specific non-monetary rewards that are certain to improve job satisfaction (flexible leave or work-at-home policies, for example)
  • Tiered compensation for new associates
  • Alternative compensation models (i.e., anything except the traditional partnership model, such as including first-year associates in the profit-sharing)
  • Reward achievements, not simply hours for attorneys at every level

Need more specific ideas? Take the Center for Competitive Management’s webinar “Compensating Millennial Associates: Customizing Compensation and Rewards for Increased Productivity and Firm Profitability,” on Thursday, October 8, 2015 from 2:00 PM to 3:15 PM Eastern.

This information-packed webinar explores real-life methods for embracing the goals, expectations and ambitions of today’s millennial associates, and how to ‘meet in the middle’ when it comes to compensating this new generation.

Plus, in just 75 minutes, you will learn:

  • Surprising attitudes millennial lawyers have about total compensation
  • Who millennial lawyers are, and how they differ from other generations in terms of pay
  • Common misconceptions and truths about millennials lawyers
  • Mentoring, evaluations, and feedback tips that emphasize professionalism and increase associate self-sufficiency
  • And more!

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New Developments USPTO & Why You Should Reconsider Your Patent Appeal

“User-centered design will be a top priority” announces the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which has made plans to develop a new online patent filing and viewing system, said agency CIO John Owens to FedScoop. The USPTO hopes to get feedback from intellectual property lawyers, firms and other users before it starts creating its eCommerce Modernization, or eMod, platform, Owens said.

Announced last month, eMod aims to improve how patents are submitted, reviewed and appealed. Once the office receives feedback, a special team will review suggestions about what stays and what goes, explains Owens. See, the patent-seeking process today is just too long, too confusing, too convoluted to keep. Even the USPTO is investigating its organizational process. Perhaps your firm should, too.

Among changes at the USPTO office, there are myriad reasons your firm may consider waiting to write that long list of grounds for appeal–and most of them involve re-organization–including:

1. Assume Backlog Means Quicker Consideration Of Your Arguments

To begin, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) is severely overloaded. In fact, the BPAI is behind on opinions for more than 20,000 pending appeals—a number that is only increasing, reports the Patently-O Blog.

To catch up, each case will need to be read more quickly and efficiently than before. With so many appeals to review, there will be little tolerance for errors or frivolry. Thus, if you aim to join the appellate fight and win, your legal arguments better be, well, appealing.

2. Mimic The Concise Style of BPAI Opinions In Your Appeal

In addition, since 2009, the number of words per BPAI opinion has declined at an alarming rate. In just two years, the average number of words per opinion has dropped from over 3,000 words to almost 2,000 words, according to Dennis Crouch of the Patently-O Blog.

Not only has the average words per opinion changed drastically, but the median words per opinion has also changed notably. The median opinion from February 2009 contained 60 percent more words than the median opinion from January 2011, says Crouch. This means the board has become less and less verbose, and likely prefers you to be as well.

3. Determine If A New Chief Judge Means Changes In Your Patent Appeal

Finally, there’s a new lawmaker in town. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is still seeking a new Chief Administrative Patent Judge to serve as a member of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the USPTO. Where will he or she be from? What will their legal style be? Perhaps it’s worth a wait-and-see.

And, if you couldn’t tell from this blog post already, arguments are best understood in to-the-point, succinct lists. Unconvinced? Wired Magazine has frequently heralded the success of a list-making site,, and the fact that its various mobile app counterparts have ammassed 7.3 million unique users each month. According to Wired, the list-making site’s success is based on its ability to “crowdsource and filter and other buzz-worthy things.” 

It’s important to find a hook for your audience (say, a judge or patent board) and filter subject matter down to the most critical (content managers for commission six article items in order to edit them down to the five best).

The result is a list of popular and prolific points that sell. So, with this in mind, you should be able to create a case that is equally captivating as “The 7 Most Ridiculous Cases of Misplaced Priorities” and “9 Words You’ve Used Today With Bizarre Criminal Origins,” read on

In the end, when you’re rewriting your patent, your legal brief or a simple inter-office memo, don’t forget to express your ideas in short, succinct, eye-grabbing lists. That way, dear attorneys, you have time to get back to what you really want to read, “7 Items You Won’t Believe Are Actually Legal.”

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Blogging Backlash & Lessons In What (Not) To Post

Recently, the community blog PLOS Biologue removed a blog post by two journalists Charles Seife and Paul Thacker that criticized the lack of transparency by scientists.

The article can still be read in a cached form here, in which it states:

“In the wake of several embarrassing scientific debacles where financial conflicts played a prominent role — the death of Jesse Gelsinger,[i] the delayed decision to pull Vioxx and Bextra from the U.S. market,[ii] and the misconduct of Andrew Wakefield,[iii] to name a few — scientists, clinicians, publishers, regulators, and journalists began to beat a steady drumbeat to march research toward transparency.”

The post goes on to discuss various instances where e-mails from scientists have revealed the extent to which industry experts control the scientific literature to promote their own products and private gain.

At the end, the journalists conclude, “In short, those working to improve public welfare should oppose attempts to embolden government entities to withhold public information, thus threatening public health and the public trust in science.”

PLOS Biologue pulled the post after severe backlash by its readers, arguing the post was “not consistent with at least the spirit and intent of our community guidelines.”

Keith Kloor, author of the Nature news article mentioned in the retracted post, told Ivan Oransky of Retraction Watch that he disagreed with the decision to remove the article, stating:

“As much I think the PLOS post is deeply flawed and erroneous, it bothers me that it was retracted. 1) The official explanation is really vague. Not very transparent! 2) I have to wonder if there was intense pressure brought to bear from scientists…I find myself in the odd position of defending the flawed PLOS post from these presumed pressures, in part because I’ve been the subject of similar pressure campaigns. (Of course, I’m only assuming pressure was brought to bear. I have no idea if this was actually the case.)”

This instance provides law firms two important lessons about blogging. First, blogging is not easy. Readers—even online—create a discerning audience who feel free to openly and harshly criticize authors.

Second, blogging—while crucial to the survival of a company’s marketing strategy today—is as dangerous as it is beneficial. It is reported that the number of blogs published by Am Law 200 law firms has grown twelvefold in the last seven years, according to Above The Law (ATL), quoting the Am Law 200 Blog Benchmark Report 2015 from LexBlog.

In the same time frame, the number of firms publishing blogs has more than quadrupled to a total of 163 firms. And eighteen of the top 25 firms are blogging, according to the same source (via ATL).

With all these firms blogging, it’s important to remember that content matters. Just as easily as your firm can attract a wider audience or client base through its posts, it can alienate them.

Which firms may have the most at stake? It’s hard to say, but Fox Rothschild has the most blogs, with 39, and Sheppard Mullin places second with 29 blogs. Womble Carlyle follows closely with 22 blogs, and finally DLA Piper just misses the podium in fourth place, with 21 blogs, according to ATL.

What are these law firms talking about?

  • Employment and labor blogs (132 publications)
  • Corporate and commercial law (104)
  • Financial (100)
  • Intellectual property (73)
  • International (64)
  • Healthcare (55)
  • Administrative (52)
  • Technology (50)
  • Energy (47)
  • Real estate and construction (43)

Finally, you may have guessed, but mobile visits (visits conducted via smartphone or tablet) now account for 25 percent of global Internet traffic —and increase from 14 percent one year ago (via ATL).

So, decide with your marketing team and certainly name partners what message your law firm is hoping to send with its posts. Also come up with a plan for retractions (if any) or legal responsibility for the opinions in the posts. Like all things at the intersection of technology, law, and business, create a policy or manual for your blogging strategy.

In the end, blogging does more good than bad. After all, without blogging or reading others’ blogs, your firm may never know about interesting, informative upcoming events, like the following audio conferences:

  • Counsel’s Guide to Trade Secret Protection: Preventing and Avoiding Costly Errors and Penalties
    • Wednesday, September 16, 2015
  • Reclassifying Exempt Employees: Ensuring Wage and Hour Compliance
    • Wednesday, September 23, 2015 
  • Excel Pivot Tables: Shortcuts, Tricks, and Time-Saving Tips to Crunch Data More Efficiently
    • Tuesday, September 29, 2015 
  • Writing Effective Emails: Mastering The Number One Tool for Business Communication
    • Friday, October 2, 2015
  • Compensating Millennial Associates: Customizing Compensation and Rewards for Increased Productivity and Firm Profitability
    • Thursday, October 8, 2015
  • Partner Compensation: Keys to Compensating Succession and Client Transfers
    • Thursday, November 5, 2015 

To attend, click here.

C4CM audio conferences are live, interactive sessions presented over the telephone. You can attend from any location with phone access. You pay just one low registration fee for as many participants as you wish at one call-in location. Listen in from the convenience of your home, your office or in your conference room with your entire team and immediately put what you’ve learned to work in your department.

Need to reach a wider audience with your posts? Find out how, here.

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Mitigating (& Embracing) Mistakes: A Law Firm’s Guide To Trial & Error

Scientists admit “we were wrong,” this summer about “inert” Pluto, which they now know to be a “very active” dwarf planet, reports The Independent.

Some might wonder why this even makes headlines. Scientists are wrong all the time. In the 19th century, Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, was the first person to use physics to calculate the ages of the Earth and sun–and he was only off by about a multiple of 50.

Chemist Linus Pauling was confident that the structure of DNA was a triple heliz. Unfortunately for him, Francis Crick and James D. Watson discovered the double helix structure of DNA that same year in 1953.

And, among the many famous equations created by Einstein was one called the the cosmological constant, which he introduced because he thought the universe was static. We now know the universe is expanding and Einstein called the cosmological constant his “greatest blunder.

Nevertheless, some of science’s greatest blunders have actually resulted in even bigger breakthroughs. In the ase of Kelvin, the calculations themselves were ground-breaking.

For Einstein, the cosmological constant was eventually re-introduced by scientists once they realized the universe was expanding at an accelerated pace. Finally, for Pauling, his triple-helix structure may have been malconceived, but the two-time Nobel Prize winner contributed so much to science already, the incident reminds us that mistakes, well, they make us human.

Lawyers are only human, too. Sure, law firms are lush with Type A personalities, perfectionists, and over-achievers, but to achieve anything novel requires taking a long road paved with mistakes.

A law firm’s first-years are often afraid to speak up, act up, or go home for that matter; instead, they reread every brief, every motion until it’s flawless and they’re blameless. Nowadays, in the legal profession, associates get little experience in the courtroom where there’s a trial, but no room for error.

However, managers in every field agree, it’s vital for rising stars to gain first-hand experience. There will, of course, be mistakes. Attorneys are known for having tempers in these moments.

But Kathryn Schulz—expert on being wrong (no, seriously)—would have us believe that a series of cultural and learned behavior has led society to believe “rightness” equals “goodness” and that this is a huge social and practical problem.

Embracing being wrong is, in fact, a key to how our businesses and people thrive.

According to Schulz, here’s why.

“Do you remember that Loony Tunes cartoon where there’s this pathetic coyote who’s always chasing and never catching a roadrunner? In pretty much every episode of this cartoon there’s a moment where the coyote is chasing the roadrunner and the roadrunner runs off a cliff, which s fine, he’s a bird, he can fly. But the thing is that the coyote’s fine too. He just keeps running—right up until the moment that he looks down and realizes that he’s in mid-air. That’s when we’re wrong about something…we’re already wrong, we’re already in trouble, but we feel like we’re on solid ground… [the feeling of being wrong] feels like being right.”

We’ve all had instances when we are over confident about our rightness.

For example, we’ve discovered the best defense, the best argument for the case based on the facts. In these moments, generally, we assume anybody who disagrees with us is ignorant of the evidence or of the logic to which we ourselves are privy. As soon as we become aware that these same opponents—either our adversary on the opposite bench or sometimes our own second chair—do have access to the same information, we assume it’s still a deficiency on their part. Correct puzzle pieces, wrong combination. If, in the end, these people still disagree, our last assumption is that they’re enemies, distorting the truth “for their own malevolent purposes.”

It is this attachment to our rightness that leads to the mistreatment of colleagues and other unprofessional behavior in the office, but, just as important, it prevents us from making mistakes that can lead to breakthroughs.

Students attend law school because they are united in the same desires to problem solve. When presented with a case and facts in that case, attorneys must decide what is the best combination of arguments to convince a judge or jury to award a desirable verdict. Law students should be the first to admit cases are not always won by “rightness.” So why the obsession with being right?

While it’s no goal to be wrong, an incorrect answer by a risk-taking associate or naïve first-year should not be a punishable offense. Instead, turn it around. Some of the most interesting products and innovative concepts have emerged from trial and error (Also read, Duly Noted)–a process you should consider rewarding at your firm.

For Schulz’s entire presentation, watch the video here.

Just because your firm embraces trial and error, doesn’t mean its mistakes must be costly. The loss of trade secrets–ranging from proprietary formulas to confidential information to production methodologies–can have devastating impacts for a company. Whether a formula for a product, a unique method of conducting business, or another type of sensitive material, companies want to ensure that their investments in products, employees, and processes do not fall into a competitor’s hands and cause damage.

Take C4CM’s audio course “Counsel’s Guide to Trade Secret Protection: Preventing and Avoiding Costly Errors and Penalties,” on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 from 2:00 PM to 3:15 PM Eastern.

This information-packed CLE webinar explores best practices for preventing and avoiding costly errors and penalties when dealing with trade secrets, third parties and litigation. You will also gain legal insights on how to ensure compliance and keep trade secrets a secret.

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