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Case Studies

We Didn’t Just Fill a Position. We Built a Department.

A Fortune 500 property and casualty insurance company sought BarkerGilmore’s assistance to fill a senior litigation position. That successful search marked the beginning of a long, trust-driven relationship that’s resulted in multiple placements and consistent satisfaction.

The business serves as the holding company for one of the nation’s premier commercial lines property and casualty (P&C) insurance providers. In 2011 their General Counsel sought our help to identify a top P&C insurance litigator. Despite highly specific criteria the position was filled in record time and a productive relationship with the GC was launched.

After placing one of the most talented deal lawyers in New York with them, we responded to their request to find an enterprise Chief Compliance Officer. The CCO would oversee a newly unified compliance initiative spanning more than 60 operating companies.

They sought an attorney employed by a P&C insurance company with the experience and backbone to build, manage and monitor a global compliance function. The holding company had an open-door management style, which meant that the CCO would have close, frequent interaction with the CEO and others on the executive team. Only candidates with a “just right” mix of impeccable educational and experiential credentials and personality would be considered. 

Within three weeks six strong candidates were presented. Their choice was an experienced compliance officer working for a large, Connecticut-based P&C company. Says BarkerGilmore Managing Partner John Gilmore, “The key in this case was not just finding appropriate candidates, but convincing them of the value and benefits of employment with this company.”

Since that time BarkerGilmore has leveraged client and market insight to complete additional legal searches for the business, including a successful replacement for the General Counsel who was promoted to an EVP position.

Today, their stable of legal talent is the envy of the industry. Combining sophisticated data and analytics with a laser-like focus on client needs, BarkerGilmore has delivered extraordinarily talented individuals, all of whom continue to make a meaningful contribution to the business.


“I’m Going to Tell Everyone about BarkerGilmore”

Good timing and steadfast follow-through led a fast-growing medical device business to a Compliance Officer candidate tailor-made for the position. The key to this successful search was BarkerGilmore’s unique blend of grit and gravitas—the persistence and muscle required to find that ideal individual.

The client is a North Carolina-based company that creates innovative products to help those suffering from orthopedic pain heal more effectively in less-invasive ways.

Managing Director Shelly Scott, who chairs BarkerGilmore’s Healthcare and Life Sciences Practice, had flagged the company as one to watch. She contacted the HR executive to see if she could be of service. The VP picked up the phone and found Shelly willing and able to meet her needs.

“We had an instant rapport,” Shelly recalls. “I learned that the business was planning to upgrade their Senior Director/Compliance Officer. They urgently needed a replacement to lead them through an anticipated IPO and ultimately take over as Chief Compliance Officer.”

The number of lawyers expert at developing and implementing a healthcare compliance program is relatively small, and Shelly knows them all. She contacted a few who for various reasons were not a good fit for the company. Undaunted, Shelly dug deeper and through trusted referral sources identified a talented compliance specialist working in nearby Raleigh. The candidate was an outstanding fit. She was especially motivated because her current employer was in merger talks, leaving the future uncertain. 

The entire search was completed within 70 days, considerably faster than the national average. Shelly says the new Compliance Officer is delighted with her position. The HR Vice President is equally satisfied with the arrangement and commented, “I’m so pleased Shelly contacted me. I’m going to tell everyone I can about BarkerGilmore.”


A Perfect Fit, Despite a Worrisome Setback

A specialty healthcare business acquired by a private equity firm needed to restructure its legal leadership to address large-scale organizational change. BarkerGilmore delivered the ideal CLO, despite an unforeseen obstacle.

The purchaser had big plans for the business, which operates hundreds of specialized wound-care centers across the country. A priority was to identify a Chief Legal Officer who would join the executive team and work side-by-side with the CEO. “They needed a change agent who could bring finesse and innovation to the new position,” says Shelly Scott, Managing Director of BarkerGilmore’s Healthcare and Life Sciences Practice.

While the business had engaged large recruiting firms in the past, this search required a specialist in senior legal healthcare engagements. Thanks to Shelly’s timely outreach to the Chief HR Officer, BarkerGilmore was retained. One plus was our flexible pricing structure, which in this case meant a fixed-fee engagement.

Shelly identified a talented lawyer who was the top lawyer for a large, national medical practice. The client was delighted with the candidate.

But then things changed.

A week before the finalist was scheduled to start, the candidate received a serious medical diagnosis, which prevented starting in the new position. Shelly and her team jumped back into action. “At this point my job was not just to find an equally well-qualified candidate, but to keep the client focused and positive.”

Shelly applied what she had learned about the client and the business to create an extremely provocative pitch for the opportunity. “I went straight to the most talented law department leaders of highly respected medical services businesses and described the opportunity to become CLO at my client and the significant upside potential.” Ultimately, Shelly identified a top lawyer who had been with a Fortune 20 business for 10 years and was eager to assume the leading role.

Less than three months after re-starting the search, the new CLO was in place. Shelly leveraged her extensive industry contacts and applied uncommon persistence to deliver a second candidate the client considered a first-rate fit.  In the end, the client was thrilled with the hire, impressed by the way Shelly managed the unexpected situation, and has since retained her for additional assignments.


One Successful Search Snowballed into Four More

The general counsel of a major financial institution was determined to build a diverse, world class law department.  BarkerGilmore was retained to identify a Labor & Employment lawyer.  This successful engagement led to four more placements, which enabled this client to build a vibrant legal department fueled by exceptional talent.  

It all started with a labor and employment lawyer search for an organization that provides technology, brokerage and advisory services to over 14,000 financial advisors.  After retaining BarkerGilmore, an alignment meeting was conducted to determine the experience and cultural attributes of the ideal candidate and to establish milestones including the date that the top five assessed candidates would be revealed, the interview dates and even the start date.  As promised, the search went like clockwork.  After interviewing an impeccable field of talent, the hire was made on schedule and the onboarding was equally successful.

For this search, BarkerGilmore Managing Partner John Gilmore met with a large number of lawyers to hand select those who were best suited for the client.  “As recruiters, our role is to completely understand the opportunity and culture and to communicate our client’s value proposition to individuals who may not even be considering a change,” says John. “After creating excitement in the legal community about the opportunity, my job is to fully assess the talent to narrow the field, presenting only the “best of the best”, 4 ensuring any one of them could be the perfect match.  The client ultimately determines the best chemistry fit.”

The General Counsel and the executive team quickly witnessed the value that BarkerGilmore’s CustomFit Legal Recruiting Process delivered to the law department.  The efficiency of the hiring process and quality of the outcome led to four additional searches including the Deputy General Counsel of Corporate, Deputy General Counsel of Litigation, a senior transactional lawyer and an investment management lawyer.  Seeking post-placement client-satisfaction input, the business clients reported that they were extremely impressed with the high-quality work product the new lawyers were able to deliver and with the trusting relationships they quickly forged with the seasoned and sophisticated lawyers in the law department. 


Scalpel or Sledgehammer?

When a Board member of a Wall Street financial institution sought our help with two critical hires, Chief Compliance Officer and Director of Regulatory Oversight, we were confident in our ability to deliver. Jumping into action and mobilizing our CustomFitsm process, both searches yielded extraordinary results.

In 2014, BarkerGilmore sponsored the NYSE Corporate Board Member West Coast Summit. BarkerGilmore Managing Partner John Gilmore met and connected with a distinguished board member of a well-known investment bank and wealth-management firm. There was mention of a possible need for help with compliance, but the night was not about business. 

In October 2015 the board member contacted us regarding two extremely urgent needs to satisfy a consent order. The business was facing serious compliance and regulatory issues that involved both FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) and the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). Because the board’s comfort zone was with the large, New York executive search firms, one of our first hurdles was to demonstrate that BarkerGilmore had the relationships and resources to successfully complete both searches in a limited amount of time. 

As we were concluding our initial presentation to the board, our acquaintance urged his colleagues to make a decision—did they prefer to use a scalpel or a sledgehammer? That is, would they choose a specialist like BarkerGilmore to conduct a highly focused search to carve out the perfect match, or would they turn to a brand name, generalist less familiar with the particular legal and compliance niche. They chose us.

Recalls John, “The board expressed concern about whether the company’s regulatory problems might stand in the way of attracting top compliance talent. We reassured them that the best CCOs are attracted to businesses where they can make a significant difference. I explained that someone who would be deterred by regulatory challenges would not be the right person for this position.” 

Our first task was identifying a CCO—a world-class specialist who could earn the confidence of the board and executive team, as well as that of regulators and an outside securities consultant. Leveraging our network of CCOs in the financial security sector, we set out to present a field of extraordinary compliance talent within 30 days.

A trusted contact led us to an industry veteran who was just starting to think about a career change. The candidate’s credentials, experience and relationships with regulators were second to none, as was the cultural fit with the organization. First placement accomplished.

We then turned our attention to identifying a Director of Regulatory Oversight who would report to the CCO and become the primary interface between the company and regulators. Within three weeks we presented a slate of seven exceptional candidates and panel interviews were conducted with the CCO and board. After inviting three back to meet with the legal, compliance and executive teams, a consensus was reached. The finalist was thrilled to accept the offer.

Both hires were completed in less than four months’ time. Our sponsoring board member commented, “It was a very gratifying outcome and we’ve built a high-quality relationship with BarkerGilmore for the future. It’s been great to see it all play out more or less just as I expected…”


“Possibly the Hardest Search Ever”

When the CEO of a leading provider of behavioral healthcare and social services approached BarkerGilmore about replacing the firm’s General Counsel, he laid down the gauntlet in no uncertain terms. “This may be the hardest search you’ve ever taken on.”

The $1.3 billion publicly traded company was seeking to replace a retiring General Counsel and was on a mergers-and-acquisitions-fueled growth trajectory. They needed a proven corporate lawyer with a strong history in M&A, public company governance, behavioral health regulatory experience and diversity awareness. The CEO found it hard to imagine finding someone with this highly specific blend of qualifications.

BarkerGilmore Managing Partner John Gilmore explains, “The finalist was an extraordinary candidate who was then serving as divisional GC of an $8 billion healthcare company and heading their M&A department.” The individual was a Yale law graduate and Fulbright Scholar. As a foster parent he had a deep personal interest in social services and had incredible passion for our client’s behavioral health business.

John, who sat next to the CEO during the panel interviews, recalls that when the candidate left the room the CEO and other executives looked at one another and one of them actually said, “Wow!” Their choice was unanimous and the candidate was equally impressed and excited.

Within 90 days BarkerGilmore had identified a meticulous match that aligned the candidate’s expertise, experience and passion with the firm’s culture, mission and ambitions. The key to this potentially daunting placement was BarkerGilmore’s network of relationships with key executives, including GCs and top lawyers. In this case the candidate came highly recommended by a GC of an industry-leading Fortune 100 company.

As a boutique executive placement firm, Barker Gilmore brings to the table a unique combination of grit and gravitas. It’s a game-changing blend of persistence and process fueled by exhaustive marketplace insight.


“Fantastic from Start to Finish”

Where do you turn to replace a highly successful, well-liked General Counsel? One publicly traded real estate investment trust put their trust in BarkerGilmore and never looked back.

The REIT, which specializes in shopping centers and mixed-use properties and has a market cap in excess of $2 billion, was grappling with replacing its longtime Senior Vice President/General Counsel. “Our task was to find someone equally dynamic and skilled—someone who could fill a sizable pair of shoes,” recalls BarkerGilmore Managing Partner John Gilmore. The candidate would need top credentials, a real estate background, large law firm experience and a roll up your shirtsleeves leadership style. 

“After being disappointed by the large search firms, the COO had pushed to bring in a boutique firm like ours, but remained skeptical that the ideal candidate could be found. We were confident in our ability to present a field of exceptional choices for consideration,” says John. He assured the selection team that their hardest decision would be which of the highly qualified individuals to hire. 

John headed for New York to interview a number of the country’s top in-house real estate attorneys, a demographic he knows intimately. Using BarkerGilmore’s CustomFit Legal Recruiting Process John narrowed the field to five candidates, scheduled interviews with the CEO and executive team and, as promised, gave the committee the challenge of choosing among them. While all would have been successful in the role, the individual selected was heralded as a perfect fit.

BarkerGilmore offers a unique combination of grit and gravitas that other firms, even larger ones, can’t replicate. We bring more data and tools to every search, plus an unrelenting commitment to success.

The REIT’s SVP/Chief Administrative Officer noted that the BarkerGilmore approach—and results—trumped those of other executive search firms. “It’s just been fantastic from start to finish. The process, the authenticity around it and the transparency were second to none.”

A Whole New World of Possibility

A rapidly expanding West Coast bank with over $60B in assets under management needed a top legal and compliance team to fuel its growth. But with the national demand for this category of professional talent at an all-time high, and San Francisco known for its famously high cost of living, recruitment challenges loomed. A call to BarkerGilmore opened a whole new world of possibility and signaled the start of an extraordinary partnership.

In 2013, the talent acquisition team for a large West Coast bank reached out to BarkerGilmore after being referred by the talent acquisition manager from another San Francisco-based financial institution.  The bank was seeking our help with in-house counsel and compliance recruiting.

BarkerGilmore initially conducted a successful national search for a Senior Counsel with a specialty in bank regulatory matters. That engagement was the first step on the road to a long-term relationship based on trust. It led to five additional placements over the next few years.

With geographic hurdles to overcome, the team knew that placing great lawyers at the bank would require comprehensive outreach to sell the long term potential for the opportunities with passive candidates—individuals who are satisfied with their positions and not actively seeking a change. “This type of search goes well beyond reviewing resumes,” noted Bob Barker. “It’s a matter of bringing significant career-advancement opportunities to qualified individuals currently employed at top companies and firms and making these individuals excited about our clients.”

The bank requested ongoing support as they built a full legal and compliance department. We helped design positions, compensation packages and reporting structure. And we continue to provide executive leadership with HR and business consulting services.

BarkerGilmore blends the tenacity and focus of a boutique firm with the resources and footprint of the largest national recruiters—a combination we call grit and gravitas. For this bank, and numerous other businesses, the formula has proven invaluable.



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