I am always inspired by professionals, who manage to balance a successful career with a demanding publishing schedule, and was honored to interview Mark Herrmann about his fourth book, Inside Straight: Advice About Lawyering, In-House and Out, That Only the Internet Could Provide (ABA Publishing, 2012), which is a compilation of his columns for AbovetheLaw.com about life as an in-house lawyer.  He balances his often-humorous guidance with selected comments from readers of his work. “Some of the things people write are unbelievably funny; some are strikingly smart … and collectively the commenters know an awful lot of stuff,” he said.  The book highlights techniques for developing business, succeeding in the law, and navigating corporate politics, among other topics.

By day, Herrmann is the Vice President, Chief Counsel – Litigation, and Global Chief Compliance Officer for Aon, as well as the author of the highly-acclaimed, The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law by Mark Herrmann (ABA Publishing, 2006), which itself started as a series of articles.  In fact, he noted: “In some ways, Inside Straight is a sequel to the Curmudgeon’s Guide.” Herrmann is also the co-author of Drug and Device Product Liability Litigation Strategy (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Statewide Coordinated Proceedings: State Court Analogues to the Federal MDL Process (Thomson-West, 2004).

Since introducing his first column for Above The Law in November of 2010, he has been writing about his interactions with outside counsel, experiences collaborating with AON’s management, and the perils of modern communication, as well as other issues.  In our interview, Herrmann discusses his passion for writing articles, which he started doing as a third-year associate, and provides advice for professionals interested in getting published, including:

  • “Write [at least] one article per year.  To crank out one [article] a year is just not that hard.”
  • “As a lawyer, at a firm, maintaining a high public profile is worth things to you … and having all of your lawyers writing while raising the collective profile is good for the firm.”
  • “Lots of people realize that writing matters; everybody doesn’t realize it, but lots of people do.”

Ultimately, “I don’t like writing. I like having written,” he concluded.  Listen to our conversation below: