Friday, October 17, 2014

Cybersecurity Rant

In 2013-2014, data breaches have gotten as much headline attention as ISIS, Ebola and the mid-term election.  All with very similar coverage, that is a lot of fear mongering and not much information.  Because I work (and have for the last decade) legal and compliance for companies where data security is a top priority as a requirement from our customer base, every time a new breach hits the news I get a ton of calls with questions and rants about what corporate America is (or is not) doing to protect against this new menace.

As long time readers know, from time to time I make a public service posts that have more to do with the latest pain in my ass than with the in house practice of law.  And lucky you, this is one of them.
We need to collectively take a deep breath and stop the mass panic over the cyber breach, and really please stop sending me invitations to the sky is falling CLEs on the subject.

Look, businesses need to be vigilant and take the appropriate actions to prevent as many breaches as possible.  This is a given.  I have a guy at work who spends all day long (and probably has nightmares all night long) dreaming up what could go wrong and trying to make sure we've prevented it.  I'm not going to give a pass to any company who puts their non-critical AC functions on the same server as their PCI data.  However, treating every breach like it's all caused by gross negligence, and having an media trial convicting every company of malice and greed because they didn't do enough to keep your data safe is ridiculous.  Have you kept your data safe?  Really?  Keep your insurance card in your glove compartment?  Yes?  It has your full name and home address on it.  If your car was made in the last few years, it also has a garage door opener built right in.  You've just given any wanna be car thief the means to rummage through your house.  Keep any personal information laying around at home? Your negligence has allowed a potential data breach of your house.  How could you!  You should be locked up and the key thrown away!  (Insert fake outrage here.)

Ya, not all breaches are created equal.  And that's why the reaction and way a breach is handled is so important.  And why we, the public, need to chill just a little.  Did you know that there are 47 different breach notification laws in the US alone?  And some of those laws conflict – in one you must notify the state AG first before notifying the public.  In another you must notify the public within a given timeline (one that doesn’t give much time to coordinate with other state’s AGs).  And then there are insurance requirements if you want the breach covered.  Not to mention the criminal investigations and the requests from the various alphabet soup agencies.  Dealing with a breach isn’t easy and it takes time to fully understand it.  And quite frankly, we the public, should want every organization to be able to focus on quickly finding out what caused it and stop it from continuing without having to divert attention to managing the public panic.

This is not to say that organizations need to step up their game. The number and scope of breaches this year has been unbelievable.  We need to be ever vigilant – the criminals are getting smarter, better technology and they spend as much energy building these operations as many founders of legitimate tech start ups do.  Organizations need to at least endeavor to be a diligent as they are in protecting our customers against their intent.   And that may mean reassessing what type of data we collect, how we collect it and what we do with it.  But you Mr./Mrs. G.Public, need to be diligent too.  Don’t give data to questionable sources, don’t jump to conclusions of malice and realize that for all the convenience and low prices you are demanding as a consumer comes at a price.  Either be willing to pay a bit more for better security or add yourself in the blame mix when your payment data gets compromised.  Oh – and stop complaining about it to the only person you know who actually understands how it all works.  OK end rant, back to our regularly scheduled program soon.

Monday, September 29, 2014

What I Wished I Learned in Law School

I'm coming up on my law school reunion and my social media circles are buzzing with former classmates reminiscing about what they recall from our shared law school experience.  While going over the various top 10 lists being posted, I can't help but also think about all the things law school didn't teach me.  Don't get me wrong, I loved my time at law school and the unique programs that I was able to participate in while obtaining a certificate from the Center for Law, Science and Technology within ASU.  The basic IP and contract drafting foundations I received has helped me tremendously - but most law students don't take those courses (if they're even offered at their school.) With articles coming out daily on the disastrous legal market  and struggling law school grads, I can't help but think if law schools incorporated some of these missing lessons into the course plan these baby lawyers would be more prepared for the real world - and thus more valuable to those of paying for them.

1. Your role as a lawyer is an adviser, not hall monitor.  Business make decisions everyday based on a calculated risk.  Your role as counsel is to provide the necessary information so that the business can assess the risk.  This includes worst case scenarios, but you also have to communicate the probability of that happening.  Yes, if customer A or vendor B breaches clause X as written it could be a catastrophe; but 99.9% of contracts are never materially breached and customer A depends on vendor B almost as much as vendor B depends on customer A. So the likelihood of a situation that clause X would cover can't be handled through the ordinary course of business is not very probable.  Let's not hold up a multi-million dollar deal that means a lot to both companies because of the .1% chance.

2. They won't always listen to you - don't take it personally.  You're used to being one of the smartest people in the room.  You're confident and persuasive and people generally do what you want them to do.  And then you go in house.  Half the time you're not invited to the decision making conversations and when you are, they're just as likely to ignore your advice as they are to take it.  It's not personal.  You haven't lost any IQ points and you are just as persuasive.  But you only represent a piece of any decision being made.  Sometimes, those other pieces outweigh you, even when you're right.  It may be economic, it may be political, it may be someone's ego.  It doesn't matter, because it has very little to do with you personally.  If you find you're being ignored a lot and left picking up the pieces after everything blows up time and again - find a different employer.  On the other hand, if your voice is occasionally drowned by competing interests, but the business doesn't materially suffer from it - suck it up.  That's your job.

3. Math is way more important that you think it is.  I often joke that I became a lawyer because I'm too squeamish to be a doctor and couldn't stand the math required to get an MBA.  It's partially true - I can't stand any bodily fluids and math has never been one of my favorite subjects.  But it's absolutely critical to have at least a general understanding the basics of accounting, what a P&L is, how to read a balance sheet, calculating ROI, etc.  You can't protect your client against the financial risks if you don't understand what your client does and how they actually make money.  And you'll never be invited into a board room if you don't understand why the cost to acquire is an important metric.

4. Soft skills rule over legal acumen almost every time.  You may be able to quote the UCC verbatim, or draft the most pristine patent application.  But if you can't communicate effectively to every member of your team, then you will fail.  That means you must be able to have a conversation about proper copyright clearance with the intern working in marketing as well as be comfortable discussing the status of that matter with the board.  At the end of the day, neither audience has to be your best friend, but they do need to respect you and feel like you are contributing to the conversation.  That means you have to learn how to read your audience, and provide the level of detail necessary to convey your message without getting preachy.  You also need to maintain your confidence if intensely questioned by the CEO or other executive.  Learn to build your executive presence and invest time in mastering effective communication.  I promise you won't regret it.

5.  They hint at it in law school and you've heard it growing up - it's not what you know but who you know.  When you're looking for the second (or third, or fourth) in house job the truth of that statement will hit you like a ton of bricks.  You can never stop networking.  You may love your job and then the economy tanks and your company does layoffs.  Or the economy is great and your company gets bought.  Or your current GC isn't going anywhere and you want to move up.  There's a million reason why you will be looking for that next job and there's a million ways to get it.  One of the least likely ways is through a posting on a job board.  Never stop networking.  Grow your network by meeting new people.  Improve your network by adding value to those in it.  Give referrals, help others find jobs when they're looking, connect those with similar interests or goals.  Become a valuable person to have in their network.  It takes effort, and time that's not allotted for in your daily job.  But let this one item fall and it could greatly damage your career even if you are the best lawyer in the world.

That's my top 5 'What I wished I learned in Law School'.  What are yours?

Friday, August 29, 2014


One of the great things about being in house is that we don't have billable hours.  No tracking our time in 6 minute increments means we can spread our focus to things that don't always have a direct connection to the bottom line.  However, we can also be seen as chasing rabbits and completely ineffectual in managing our resources - especially during budget time.  Unlike at a firm, it's not apparent to the folks in charge of the purse strings what we actually do everyday.  To be honest, it's not entirely apparent to me what we do everyday.  So saying that I need another body or expensive technology to do it is going to naturally be met with a lot of resistance.

Enter the wonder of metrics.  When you work for a technology company, you quickly learn the value of metrics.  You also learn that metrics, like any other statistic, can give you a flawed view if you're not measuring the right things or don't have the right benchmarks to gauge your metrics against.  And that's where we in house leaders struggle.  How do we measure the value of our teams contributions?  How to we illustrate what that means to the stakeholders within the organization?  And how can we translate that into hard needs when it comes time to allocate the limited resources of the company?

I'd love to say I have all the answers, but I don't.  What I do have is some practices that I have put in place to help me tell the story internally, and to assist me personally in managing my team.  First priority is to establish the company priorities.  Do you operate in a contracts economy - everything negotiated?  Then you need to have some visibility into that workload.  Does innovation drive your revenue?  Then measure your patenting process, not just the number of patents actually obtained.  I send out an annual survey via Survey Monkey to the leadership team.  The survey focuses in part on where does the business want to prioritize - does it take long to get a contract reviewed? Are we ignoring important employee relations matters?  Does our compliance program have any holes?  The other part of the survey focuses on client satisfaction - are the legal team members easy to work with?  Do they provide the answers you were looking for, or go off on unrelated tangents?  Are they providing solutions when raising concerns or just throwing water on your ideas?  The results of this survey, along with the overall company strategies and industry environment help guide me to what I need to measure.

Next, we need to figure out how to measure those priorities.  Do you just count the number of contracts reviewed, or do add for complexity?  Do we include average review time?  For first review only or for the process from submission to signature?  How do we measure the risk management efforts that actually avoid the easy to measure but costly matters like training for managers so we don't have employment claims filed?  Do we measure the number of invention disclosures submitted, or only the number of applications worked on?  How do we account for the hours spent cultivating the process so that inventors remember to submit their invention disclosures, or the hours spent evaluating ideas that fail to meet the requirements of an "invention"?   The way you measure your priorities will vary greatly depending on the industry, the company and the priorities.  I measure number of contracts and time for review from first turn.  I count the number of training sessions for risk avoidance and compliance issues, as well as the number of cross functional projects I work on where my primary purpose is risk avoidance or compliance.  I measure hours spent with inventors and the number of disclosures submitted.  I also try to measure how effectively we're managing the budget we do have - where do we spend the money?  have we reduced outside counsel spend? Or at least refocused it to more value added areas?  Are we utilizing the technology we've paid for or should we cancel the services, etc.

Of course none of those measurements mean a thing without a frame of reference.  I can review 100 contracts a month and my CFO will say, "and?"  if I don't also show him that the average in house attorney focusing solely on contracts averages around 30-40 contracts a month (at least according to my informal inquiries with the local in house community).  Now, 100 seems to be overwhelming and he understands the request for a new contracts attorney.  If I'm filing an average of patent a month or more, I can translate that into outside counsel costs and hours spent to cultivate that to justify the expense of bringing that in house.  By measuring how effectively I'm managing the budget, I get more respect and credibility when I say it's not enough.  And by showing that we've managed to reduce transaction times from 6 weeks to 2 weeks, I've got a champion in my sales team who doesn't want to go back to 6 weeks.  None of which would be possible if I couldn't prove where the value had been added and how we can add more.  How do you justify your resource needs?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Finding Your Voice

I'm going to get a little political in the post, which I don't normally do.  But, I had some interesting conversations over the last few days that made me want to speak up.  One friend has recently left her company in large part because she felt like her voice wasn't being heard.  We spoke a lot about how as professional women it's a constant struggle to just be heard.  It isn't enough to earn a seat at the table.  You have to have a voice once you get there.  Another friend who just welcomed a new baby is frustrated by the feminization of his desire to have balance with his work and family. (I know feminization is not a real word - but I'm using it anyway!)  We spoke about how the professional world pretends to be gender neutral but it's not really.

It was slightly discouraging to hear my first friend's frustration, given that she's spent over thirty years in the industry and has a lot of value to add. It's sad that in 2014, this is still a problem.  Her experience and track record got her a seat at the table. That's what we're all told we need to do.  It's a battle cry of the modern professional woman. Get at the table and you'll be taken seriously, you'll be able to make an impact!  If only this were true.

The glass ceiling still exists even in companies with female executives.  It's just more nuanced now.  More and more women are making it to senior level management positions in name only.  Once there, they become there as the 'doers' and 'cheerleaders'. The men are still making all of the decisions with very little input from the women in the room. Often women are steamrolled by more aggressive communication styles so their voice in the conversation is lost. Once the decisions are made the women are given marching orders. They lead their troops in the direction that the guys in charge tell them to, often frustrated over the fact that given the chance they would do differently.

I've felt this myself in several positions and continue to witness it today with the majority of my female colleagues.  We're in the room, at the table, but no one is listening.  We're not given the opportunity to speak up or when we do we are shouted over or down.  If we're too aggressive we're labeled as hard to work with and discounted.  If we're too nice or political we're labeled as push overs, passive aggressive or manipulative and discounted. And many men who lend their voice to the women or join their cause are called out for being 'soft' and discounted.  I know of at least two men in senior executive positions who see this happening, are extremely frustrated by it, but don't know what to do to change it - so they do nothing.

I've witnessed men come in and say the exact thing that a woman has been shouting for weeks - sometimes using the exact same words.  Somehow the message is better received the second time around.  I'm not sure why.  I know the male members of these management teams.  None of them belong on the set of Mad Men.  They all have strong wives, daughters and other women in their lives that they respect.  But they don't hear our voices - even when we're "at the table".  Is there a more effective way to communicate?  How do we teach it to women? Is there additional training we can give executives to make them aware of the unintentional bias?  How do we raise awareness without creating animosity?

From an in house point of view, this frustrates me on two levels. First, as a professional woman, I'm constantly weighing my interactions with my male colleagues.  I often work twice as hard as I should have to just to have my voice heard.  And I just as often don't get ignored.  Second, as the lawyer protecting the company, this behavior is a law suit waiting to happen.  How can I protect the company against claims rising out of this frustration?  My friend resigned from her job and just moved on.  But she could have filed a claim, and how would her company defend against it?  I don't have the answers.  But I'm open to suggestions!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Fish Out of Water - what to do when you don't have the expertise.

Within a week after I had passed the bar and was officially given the title of “Staff Attorney” at my employer the CEO came into my office to ask my opinion about something.  My GC was in a meeting (she was otherwise never out of the office) and he needed an answer but didn’t want to disturb the meeting. I was stunned.  I didn’t really know anything about anything at that point – or at least I didn’t think I did.  I stammered a bit and told him I’d look into it and have an answer within the hour.  Luckily for me it was a relatively easy question and I actually did know the answer but wasn’t confident in it.

Since that day I’ve learned that an in house attorney is often faced with answering question we aren’t fully trained on.  There are two schools of thoughts on this – some prefer to engage the experts and hire outside counsel to address every distinct area of law other than what you’ve developed a high level of competency in.  The other thought process is to learn as much as you can and engage the experts only where the risk warrants the added expense.  For those of us in leaner startups, we often take the second approach – both out of general philosophy and financial need.  I don’t have the budget to engage outside counsel every time a general IP or employment law question comes up – so I’ve learned to become a generalist. 

The trick with this second approach is knowing when the risk is high enough that outside counsel should be brought in (which requires you admitting to yourself that although you’re a good generalist, you don’t know everything).  Additionally, you have to make sure that your client understands where you’re level of expertise actually lies.  Over the years I’ve gained more experience in certain areas than in others and feel like I’ve got a good level of expertise in my core areas.  But I wouldn’t attempt to draft a patent or a motion.  I might be great negotiating at the business table, but if rules of evidence are a primary concern in the conversation you want someone who does that stuff daily.  I can keep the minutes of our board meetings and make sure that the resolutions passed are properly documented – but you want a specialist working on your IPO. 

In order for my approach to be successful, I need to have confidence in both what I know and what I don’t, and I have to communicate that well to my client.  They need to have confidence I know what I’m talking about when I tell them they need to make that requested accommodation for the employee and that we don’t need outside counsel to file that trademark, my paralegal can do that just fine for 1/10th of the cost.  I also need them to not freak out when I tell them that we’ll need to add $10k to the cost of the deal because I’m going to need outside counsel to help make sure that the agreement is tight and in line with the tax objectives we have for the transaction.  The client needs to know I can't give them tax advice or file that patent lawsuit in the EDTX.

Occasionally, I still need time to research answers for my CEO.  But now, I’m confident that I’ll find the answer within the timeline and that I know when to pick up the phone to my specialist.  So what's your approach?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

New Mantra: Proactive, Not Reactive

The challenge for an in house legal team is no longer how to avoid being labeled the "Department of No", it's now how to truly add value as a partner and not just a resource.  Many of my colleagues will bemoan the fact that they're not brought into issues early enough - and I've been known to utter that complaint a time or two myself.  But if we're truly honest we have to admit that part of the blame for that lies on us.  By definition a lawyers job is often seen as reactionary.  We review contracts after the relationship has begun, we respond to complaints after they have been filed - of file them after a wrong has occurred.  We have a solid reputation for helping to solve problems after they come up.

Where we need to improve is being seen as someone that can help avoid the problems in the first place.  Making that jump requires a change in culture.  We need to take a cue from our business partners and learn how to better predict the needs of our clients and satisfy them ahead of time.  Our partners in IT have embraced the Agile methodology allowing them to create stories to truly understand the users requirements and solve for them before they become issues.  We've even established chief customer officers who analyze surveys and data to help predict and ultimately drive customer behavior by ensuring that the customer experience meets or exceed expectations.  So why can't we do that in the legal department?

The first step is to admit that we have a problem. Our processes are mostly set up to trigger after the pain has begun.  So let's revamp them to add value to other teams while getting us into the game a little earlier.  A friend of mine is revamping her entire contract process focusing on how to decrease the salespersons time spent in the contracting process while increasing the accuracy and timeliness of information sent to accounting for better invoicing.  If it works they way she envisions it she will save hours of time and frustration for two very important partners and set the expectation that she (and her legal team) can help to get things done faster and better if brought in early and more often.

Similarly, I go through an audit of our templates at least once a year focusing on where are the pain points for my business colleagues. What do they need the rights to do?  Or to restrict the customer from doing?  Where are they spending too much time negotiating or administering terms that only makes sense to lawyers? By getting their input and revising the terms before they have to negotiate them or deal with their consequences I've given them an opportunity to see me as someone who helps avoid the problem in the first place.  Now I'm invited to more meetings and am requested to advise on a broader range of topics because the focus of my team is on being proactive, not reactive.  It's become our department motto and a guiding principle in virtually everything we do.

So how are you becoming more proactive?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Down with the Department!

At multiple CLEs I've attended in the last few months I've noticed that presenters like to talk about how we have to "move from being the 'Department of No".  After the statement is made, I look around the room and see a lot of nodding heads.  However, after the session when  I'm speaking to fellow in house folks we all appear to have moved past the 'Department of No' mentality a long time ago and are really looking for how we can move into the next step of becoming a truly strategic partner.

After talking it over with a few of my brethren (I admit there was wine involved), we've decided that the first step is to kill the myth of the "Department".  Except in increasingly rare circumstances, today's in house counsel is ingrained to say yes whenever they can.  The main value we bring is in helping the business accomplish it's goals within the legal framework our industries operate in.  As the leader of my in house team, anyone with the 'Department' mentality wouldn't get past the hiring process, much less last long on my team.  Yet, I'm still hounded by the myth at every conference and with almost every interaction with counsel and lay person alike.  It's hard to get to the next step when everyone seems fixated on killing the dead horse that is the previous step.

So for all CLE presenters, fellow in housers, and anyone else listening - I have a very simple request.  Let's kill the myth of the Department  of No once and for all and start the having the real conversation of what to do at the strategy table now that you're there.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Encouraging Growth Realistically

Here we are in April again, and once again I'm focused on raising Autism Awareness - which is a year long project in our house, but I get a little help in April from the rest of the world.  In keeping with my tradition of posting about the what we can learn from the autistic community and apply to in house practice or law department management, here's my Autism Awareness post:

After first getting LG's diagnosis, I reflected a lot on what Autism would mean to him and our family.  Over time, it's seeped into other aspects of my life and I've realized that there's so much I can take from him and apply to my professional life.

Lately, I've been focused on longer term issues - How do I help him reach his maximum potential while also helping him deal with limitations completely out of his control?  How do I refuse to let him use his Autism as an excuse, but also recognize that it does put some things outside of his reach?  And how do I, as his mother, know where to draw that line?  Autism is a spectrum and his abilities are also spectrum like.  He may be brilliant, but is probably not a savant.  He is capable of behaving without tantrums, but is susceptible to melt downs.  He may be able to hold down a job someday, but probably won't be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company (not saying that an Autistic individual can't be, there may very well be someone on the spectrum that would excel at that job, but LG is not likely to be one of them.)  So how do I tell him to try hard in school, get the best grades he can, behave the best he can, be the best he can? All while knowing that Autism has taking some of his options away from him and the best that *he* can be will be drastically different than the best a NT person could be? - Not worse, just different, and a different that I can't predict.

As I struggle with these thoughts, I'm struck by the fact that they aren't so far removed from my job as a manager.  How do I help my employees reach their full potential (productivity, professional growth, etc), when there are budget, process or technology limitations that they have no control over?  How can I make sure that they use all the resources we have while knowing that we may not yet have what they need, and may never get it?  How do I keep them from using the external limitations as an excuse not to succeed? Where to I draw the line between "just get it done" and "it is what it is"?

For now, I'm focused on open communication -  clear expectations of both LG and my employees, along with an candid acknowledgement of the things outside of our control.  We all have outside factors that shape our world, but we still have a responsibility to make our world the best it can possibly be.  If everyone understands that mission, then hopefully we'll get there together and I'll be able to help LG and my employees be their best in spite of the limitations the world puts on us.  I still don't have all the answers to either side of this challenge.  I'm all ears if you do!  I'm confident I'll figure it out, both as a mother and a boss (but I reserve my rights to get it wrong along the way)!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Autism Awareness - Our latest "incident"

April is Autism Awareness month and April 2nd is World Autism Awareness day.  In honor of this I usually post something about how I've applied a lesson learned from Autism to practicing in house or the management of the legal department.  While I have one of those prepared and will post it soon, something happened over the weekend that I had to discuss first.

As my regular readers will know, one of my boys is on the spectrum.  In my offline life I'm very open about it and how it affects our family.  For the most part, it's just become part of our identity and our routines may not be what yours are, but they're normal for us.  I can almost forget that LG isn't like other kids.  Until he has an "incident".

Over the weekend we had an incident.  We were window shopping for a grill at Target when my youngest, the Rockstar, decided he wanted a hat.  LG was sitting in the cart busy with a book while my husband and Z were looking at the grills so we split up.  I took the younger two over to look at hats, which are an entire store away from the seasonal stuff hubby and Z was looking at.  LG looked up and discovered that his big brother wasn't around and got freaked.  He jumped out of the cart screaming Z's name.  I caught him and tried to calm him down and told him to wait while I turned the cart containing Rockstar around to head back to the seasonal aisle.  But before I could turn around, LG was gone.  He'd taken off to find Z.  With my heart in the pit of my stomach I yelled and ran after him, but couldn't find him in the most direct route.  Seeing my husband and no LG, I started to freak.  While he went aisle by aisle looking for him, I went to the front of the store to ask that they post people by the doors to make sure he didn't wander into the parking lot - something a lot of autistic kids do.

Target's response was awesome.  I don't know if they train on how to handle kids on the spectrum or if this store was an anomaly, but they sprang into action.  Two people jumped to the doors, they gave his description out over their radios (including that he was autistic), and they quickly found him back by the Easter toys/candy.  They didn't try to grab him, when he wouldn't engage with them they didn't try to force it.  They just calmly radioed back his location and followed him until my husband could get there.  What could have turned into a very traumatic event for LG was completely avoided due to the calm way those employees handled the situation.  It may not seem like a big thing, but for a family having dealt with meltdowns caused by strangers trying to engage him and his affinity for taking off when he gets focused on something, this was huge.  So I wanted to take a minute to post a huge Thank You to Target.

I know they've not had the best media lately, but they've earned a customer for life, and they've shown how just a little awareness can change everything.  So whether you 'light it up blue' or 'tone it down tan', take a minute today to share how autism has impacted your life - raise awareness and let's make my Target incident a regular response rather than such an exception that I have to blog about it.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Toot Your Own Horn, But ...

It's been awhile, the new job has happily kept me very busy, but I've missed sharing my ramblings with you.  Speaking of ramblings, my favorite uncle had a lot of great sayings - he's the one who taught me about jackasses.  If there was anything he said more often than that one, it was that you have to "toot your own horn because no one else will do it for you."

When I was 16 I had no idea what he meant.  Over the years, I've learned the wisdom of that saying, and have slowly learned to speak up for myself professionally, which was hard for me as I'm an introvert and don't like drawing attention to myself generally.  However, I started with touting the "wins" that are less obvious - a favorable settlement that didn't cost the company as much as it could have, closing a deal quickly without giving away the store or even just reducing the amount of outside counsel spend for avoidable issues, and went on from there.

While it's necessary to be your own biggest cheerleader, it's a fine line between informing relevant people about your success and a more unsavory bragging.  As lawyers, that line gets even thinner as we're fighting the stereotype of the know-it-all blow hard overachiever.  And as in-house lawyers our jobs get even harder because our bosses and colleagues don't always know what a "win" looks like.

Because of that, my tune these days revolves more around metrics and bench marking than soft wins. I only sing it to people I know will appreciate them, and I try to focus more on how my team is helping the company achieve it's goals more than what a great job I'm doing personally.  I'm seeing a lot more success and recognition from this approach, and don't feel like I'm artificially fighting for a spotlight.

So, go ahead and toot your own horn - just make sure it's a catch tune.