04 November 2005

A Side Note

I've been out of town for the last couple of days at a conference (and seeing clients) in cheesehead country. (No, counsel, that is not an excuse for missing the 5pm Central deadline for faxing your response, and you'll be hearing from me—rather unpleasantly—very shortly; you blew it, and your client is going to pay for it, since my fax follows me by e-mail.) Conferences like these are simultaneously enriching and immensely frustrating.

On the one hand, if you're not paying a lot of attention on a day-to-day basis—I try, but there's only so much one can do over the 'net—conferences and other gatherings of clients are the only real way to get a broad perspective on their current concerns… and, for the matter, on things that they are running into about which they aren't concerned (but should be). That's what really justifies treating these things as business expenses: They're critical to client development, to current knowledge, to networking, etc. Further, I learn stuff, like which editor is frustrated by his/her in-house counsel's unwillingness to bend on noneconomic contract terms, that enhances my ability to advance my clients' interests… even post-hoc.

On the other hand, gnashing one's teeth at the misstatements that go through these things results in lockjaw by the evening of the second day, and it just gets worse from there. I suppose that goes with the territory; the problem is that so many people in publishing and the arts think they know a lot more about the relevant law than they really do, and aren't willing to listen to any criticism.