[CWG-Stewardship] Legal cost reality

Greg Shatan gregshatanipc at gmail.com
Sat Jun 27 16:17:43 UTC 2015


I do not know how you concluded, based on cost alone, that we did not do a
good job of strategizing how/when to use outside counsel, or that counsel
costs were unduly high.  To the contrary, significant amounts of (unpaid)
time have been spent within the WG on deciding when and what outside
counsel should do.  Of course, we can always strive to do better, and
indeed, adjustments have been made a few times over the course of our work
with counsel to refine our methods, and I'm sure adjustments will continue
to be made.

I actually think we have done a good job all along, and the cost reflects
the amount of work that needed to be done.  Nothing more.  I don't think
there's any need to "rewrite history," because that would imply that we
failed in some significant respect.  I don't think that's the case, and I
don't think that the cost alone is any evidence of that.

Seun, to further tax your imagination, if I billed for all of my time spent
dealing with ICANN matters, it would easily exceed $100,000 a month over
the last several months. (In fact, I bill for almost none of my time spent
on ICANN matters, but that's beside the point.)  That said, I am keenly
aware that we all live and work in different economies and that what seems
proportionate in one economy may seem disproportionate (high or low) in
other economies.  (For instance, I noted that a $10 cab ride in Buenos
Aires would have cost about $30 in New York City.)  Nonetheless, in the
economy where this work needs to be done, and for the quality of services
that we need, this is not a disproportionate amount.

Finally, I would caution us against being unduly timid about using counsel
when and where needed, because that is the surest path toward a suboptimal
result, which would be a waste of time, effort and money for all of us.


On Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 5:42 PM, Seun Ojedeji <seun.ojedeji at gmail.com>

> With due respect James, I am in no way belittling the work of legal
> council. I am rather wondering how we as a community recognising this huge
> cost did not better strategize on how/when to engage external council. The
> amount that has been spent on all participants of the ccwg and cwg(for
> remote/physical meetings) would seem to be competing with the total cost of
> legal advice (perhaps legal would even be more).
> The deed has been done and we can't rewrite history. My comment is
> targeted more on the fact that we need to think of how we engage legal more
> efficiently going forward.
> For the record, when Greg said top notch council are expensive, 500k
> monthly is just beyond my imagination!
> Regards
> sent from Google nexus 4
> kindly excuse brevity and typos.
> On 25 Jun 2015 18:23, "James Gannon" <james at cyberinvasion.net> wrote:
>>   Our legal advice has been critical to our process and Sidley have been
>> crucial to our successes.
>> I think we should be thanking them for their service, and yes top notch
>> legal services are not cheap.
>> It is most certainly something that I have no issue with the community
>> exercising its prudence over however lets not limit ourselves in any way to
>> engage with our counsel.
>>  -James
>>   From: <cwg-stewardship-bounces at icann.org> on behalf of Seun Ojedeji
>> Date: Thursday 25 June 2015 18:15
>> To: "cwg-stewardship at icann.org"
>> Subject: [CWG-Stewardship] Legal cost reality
>>   Hi,
>> I hope those who want to always push issues to external legal advice
>> would appreciate the need to be strategic and prudent about this. Over
>> 500,000USD already spent on Sidley is definitely not what we like ICANN to
>> keep spending it's resources on.
>> Regards
>> sent from Google nexus 4
>> kindly excuse brevity and typos.
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