Thankful for…collaboration

I’m a lawyer. Before I went in-house (took a position with a corporation, rather than a traditional law firm practice), I never really included collaborative work in my idea of the basis for my day-to-day lawyer-life. Even though there is a lot of networking and matrix-based reporting in a traditional legal practice, with legal assistants, paralegals, associates and partners all contributing to the resolution of a matter for a client, true collaboration was thin on the ground in the firms in which I’ve worked.

To me, collaboration is more than contribution. It requires effort from all participants to gain synergies and produce a result that reach beyond the sum of the individual contributions. It’s a blending of the ideas and talents of multiple people to create a work that would be less ideal if one or more of the participants’ contributions were missing. I didn’t experience that in law firm practice.

Now, working for a software company with a broadly diversified portfolio of solutions, my legal practice includes not just advising internal clients of risks and options based on various legal theories, but a hefty portion of business-oriented advice and services that help the business achieve operational goals. I and my team work hand-in-hand with colleagues from many functional areas of the company to pool our contributions into a solution that meets the business need, minimizes risk and maximizes return to the company. This unique mix of business and legal collaboration produces a stronger, more customized solution than either group would produce on it’s own.

I like the variety of work this collaborative model lets me experience. And I like that I get to work with so many different people on challenging issues.

Who knew? This curmudgeonly, legal-oriented loner is an effective business partner through collaboration. Hmpf!

Thankful for the chance to contribute to a goal bigger than myself and collaborate with some amazing business people in the process.

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