Posted by: johnocunningham | September 1, 2014

Nuggets From A Law Firm Hiring Survey

The August/September issue of Today’s General Counsel features some interesting data from a recent survey of in-house lawyers concerning their legal service hiring practices.

Among the interesting nuggets in the survey were the following:

1. The biggest factor in researching prospective law firm hires is the network inside the company with 84 percent of respondents stating that they utilize that.

2. The second biggest factor in researching prospective hires is the network of friends and colleagues outside of the company with nearly 2/3 making use of that.

3. Only five percent consider directories of “best lawyers” or “best firms” (in my experience, even that paltry number may be high).

It was also interesting to note that 89 percent of respondents say that the GC or chief legal officer is the primary person responsible for selection, but in my experience most GCs will pay great deference to the suggestions and opinions of their experienced in-house staff as well.

Not surprisingly, the biggest reason for selecting a firm, by far, was a prior good experience with that firm, proving that nothing sells a service like a positive service experience.

According to the survey, the top three reasons – of many reasons – that law firms get canned are the following:

1. Poor service

2. Inefficient work

3. Billing too much for the service

What was most interesting to me, however, was where outside counsel relationships get developed. The most highly rated source for that development, by a good measure, was through colleagues at a prior place of employment (often a law firm). This illustrates the importance of maintaining excellent relationships with former employees, something many leading firms emphasize through organized alumni programs.

Nearly a third of respondents say they have also developed outside counsel relationships with opposing counsel in a prior transaction, proving that how you conduct yourself on the other side of a deal is very important to your reputation and marketing.

For lots of other data on this subject, check out the article at Today’s General Counsel.

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