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Microsoft GC: Face Time Beats Blogging

Brad Smith, senior VP and general counsel of Microsoft Corp., talks about corporate blogging in the latest issue of InsideCounsel magazine. Along the way, he intriguingly raises the question of whether a corporate legal department should have a public blog, but then avoids offering an answer. Smith writes:

New technologies create external opportunities as well. Increasingly, legal statements come from companies not in the form of a traditional press release, but as less formal blog postings. These communications are in their infancy and raise new questions. In a media- and Internet-dominated age, does it make sense for a legal department to have an external blog? What does it make sense to say? How often should the legal department say something?

Good questions, but he follows them only by saying, "A decade from now these questions may well seem like old hat." Fortunately, Rees Morrison steps up to the challenge at his blog Law Department Management, answering that, as a blogger, he would be all for it, "but as a consultant on legal department management, I think I would counsel a would-be pioneer department to let that idea lapse."

As for Smith, he writes that Microsoft has more than 1,500 employees who blog and that companies should understand that "every employee is a potential blogger." This means that every company should have a policy on blogs, as does Microsoft, "to help employees apply existing standards on confidentiality and business conduct in this new online environment." That said, Smith believes no company should overlook the value of face-to-face conversations. "Technology is giving us new tools that can make us more effective," Smith writes. "But we shouldn’t forget that some of the best communications require no technology at all. They simply require that we get up from our computers."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 5, 2008 at 12:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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