I was an in-house attorney at a chemical company in the mid-1980s. I was responsible for a nationwide docket of products liability and commercial litigation. Still a young lawyer myself, I was blessed with the opportunity to work with intelligent and experienced law firm lawyers across the country. I learned a number of lessons from outside counsel that have contributed greatly to whatever success I have gained since then, working in the law firm context.

I have a vivid recollection of a particular encounter with our company’s local counsel in Detroit. Ever the gentleman, he was dropping me off at Detroit Airport for my return to New York. As I was getting out of the car, he made a remark that has stuck with me for 25 years: “My job is to make you look good.” I was surprised at his conception of his role as my outside counsel. I thought his job was to win cases in a tough jurisdiction. But over the years, I have come to understand the truth in the comment.

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