“Following simple guideposts.” “how do you add value beyond being a good lawyer?”

of mind
“How do you add value
beyond being a good lawyer?”
“Following simple guideposts.”
SAKS IS SUCH A WELL-KNOWN BRAND that it’s sometimes
possible to forget the business behind the brand. We have
12,000 employees in 34 states, and business segments
including our luxury specialty stores, outlets, online business, and
distribution system. With much of our business support located in
Jackson, Mississippi, and our headquarters in New York, we are
a complex business with our share of legal challenges.
Kenneth L. Metzner
Senior Vice President
and General Counsel
Saks Fifth Avenue
New York, New York
Our clients expect to receive good legal advice, but we strive to
add more value through following simple guideposts:
Know the business. We wrap our minds around all aspects
of the business including its financial, operational, tactical
and strategic sides. We stay on top of industry developments and learn from the competition.
Treat clients as respected colleagues. Our clients know that we’re in the game with them, and they understand that we will share their risk.
• Evidence
a sense of urgency. Our clients know that ‘it’s not about the lawyers.’ When we’re asked to tackle a difficult problem, it doesn’t fall into a black hole.
• Talk
straight. We communicate clearly, unambiguously,
and usefully.
• Be
a facilitator. We are results-oriented, and we break down walls within the organization to facilitate communications
and solutions.
• Maintain
visibility. We sit in on business meetings, and we’re generally seen around the business.
• Embody
integrity. Our advice is legal, prudent, right and fair. Our ethical actions radiate integrity to the organization.
Don’t take ‘legal’ too seriously. We want our colleagues to enjoy working with us, and we value humility as a
departmental trait.
The days of ‘just being a good lawyer’ are over. Our guideposts
add value to Saks, and our business colleagues appreciate
our approach.
Each month, K&L Gates presents Top of Mind®—a leading
in-house lawyer’s take on key issues shaping business and
legal strategies.
w w w. k l g ate s . c o m
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP
1 4 0 0 l a w y e r s o n t h r ee c o n t i n e n t s