How to Select the Best In-House Counsel Recruitment Firm


As the corporate legal landscape becomes increasingly complex, the role of in-house legal counsel is more important than ever. But finding the best legal talent can prove a daunting challenge. Most organizations don't have the time, resources, or expertise to conduct a thorough search themselves. Too often, they end up selecting from a pool of unqualified candidates for this vital position.

More companies are discovering that outsourcing the search process to one of the top legal recruiting firms in the U.S. produces faster, more reliable results. It also helps them avoid a costly hiring mistake that can have severe long-term implications.

Tips for Choosing the Best In-House Counsel Recruitment Firm

You're likely to come across several legal search firms that will claim to be the best — but not all of them deliver what they promise. Use the following metrics to assist you in finding an executive search firm you can trust:

  • References: Tap into your network of industry contacts to see which executive search firms they've used in the past. Ask questions about the efficiency of the process, whether they're satisfied with the results, and whether they would recommend the firm to others.
  • Online reviews: Read online reviews provided by outside, independent sources. While you should take individual reviews with a grain of salt, you'll eventually get a consensus of opinions. Look for common threads regarding what the reviewers liked and disliked about working with the firm.
  • Track record: Determine how long the firm has been in business and their level of experience in conducting searches for top legal talent for other companies in your industry. Look for valid, relevant statistics regarding placement and retention rates and the average length of search times.
  • Access to a network of available talent: The best in-house legal recruiters don't rely on finding candidates who are actively seeking a new position, as these individuals aren't always the most qualified. Instead, they use well-honed networking skills to develop a list of highly talented individuals who aren't necessarily seeking a change but are willing to consider the right opportunity.
  • Candidate assessment process: The top legal recruiting firms have a carefully developed, time-tested methodology for finding and vetting in-house counsel candidates. Their assessment will identify attorneys who can work as strategic business partners while being a good cultural fit for the organization - the two most critical elements for successful placements.
  • Hands-off list: Most large search firms have an equally large "hands-off" policy that limits their ability to recruit executives from their existing client pool. Unfortunately, this can also significantly reduce the number of qualified candidates that are available to you.
  • Contract terms: Take the time to read the contract before hiring any legal recruiting agency. The language should be clear and concise, and it should provide a thorough understanding of the fee structure. A reputable search firm will offer a flexible fee arrangement based on performance and results.

Benefits of Choosing BarkerGilmore as Your In-House Counsel Recruiting Firm

BarkerGilmore is a boutique recruiting firm that specializes in finding the top legal counsel and compliance officer talent for U.S. organizations. Client satisfaction, placement retention, and diversity remain our proudest measures of success. We have a proven track record for getting results for our clients: 98% of all searches we've started in the past three years have led to successful placements and 96% of the candidates we placed three years ago are still with the company where we placed them. We also take pride in our ability to locate diverse candidates. In 2018, 55% of our placements were women or minorities.

BarkerGilmore has developed CustomFitSM, an effective, reliable search process that sets the standard for our industry. Because of our boutique size, our hands-off clients are fewer, enabling a deeper pool of candidates from which we can source. Our CustomFitSM method entails tapping into our vast talent pool to locate the most qualified candidates and conducting a comprehensive assessment of each person. This process ensures we only deliver candidates who possess position-specific skills and experience, along with the ideal cultural fit. It also significantly reduces the search time; we can typically fill an in-house counsel position in 100 days or fewer. Since our hands-off list is smaller, we have access to a larger number of companies for faster recruiting.

Contact us today to learn more about what makes BarkerGilmore the best in-house legal recruiters in the U.S.

Topics: Recruiting   |   Legal


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