How to Select the Best In-House Counsel Recruitment Firm

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The Most Revealing Interview Question

Without a doubt, the best part of my job is speaking with accomplished leaders. Whether interviewing someone for a high-level search or learning about the culture of a company, I come away from meetings with truly trusted advisors both invigorated and excited to share what I learned with my team and others.

Of all the questions I ask, “How do you create a competitive advantage for your company?” sparks the most passionate responses and allows me to learn just how valuable a particular leader is to the company and the people around him or her. While the question might sound simple, the answer –  and how it’s answered – often reveals whether someone has a seat at the table, and the culture where he or she thrives. 

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Using EQ as a Predictor of In-House Counsel Success

When emotional intelligence (EQ) burst on the scene in the 1990s, it was seen as the answer to the troubling observation that IQ alone was not a great predictor of professional success. Researchers confirmed that EQ was a critical consideration in predicting success (Dr. Travis Bradberry, Why You Need Emotional Intelligence).

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Top Reasons to Consider a Specialty Boutique Search Firm

Any businessperson over 50 years old should be able to remember when IT professionals rationalized their love affair with IBM mainframes with the simple explanation:

“No one ever got fired for buying IBM.”

The implicit meaning was clear: Buying computer products from a smaller company was risky, while buying from IBM was seen as safe and beyond reproach, even if you almost certainly paid more than if you bought from a competitor.

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Where Are the Good Associates for In-House Counsel Jobs?

If your firm is planning to recruit the best law firm associates for in-house counsel positions in 2017, you’ll be well served to fully understand the market conditions you’ll be facing, and thoughtfully consider the most effective strategy to pursue. 

To fully understand what the market looks like today, we need to examine both sides of the equation since the conditions faced today are clearly a result of both supply and demand shifts, and these conditions are not going away in the foreseeable future. 

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Charting Your Career Path to GC

As a seasoned legal recruiter with over 20 years of experience, I've learned that a lot of very smart attorneys make the same not-so-smart mistake: They fail to understand the attributes expected of a strong general counsel.

That's because the skills that make for a crackerjack law firm lawyer and a high-performing in-house attorney -- obsessive attention to detail, tactical execution, focus on risk -- are not the same traits required of a successful General Counsel.  As chief counsel, you're expected to serve as a trusted business partner and advisor to the C-suite, influencing, and executing upon, the company's long-term growth plans.

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Top Five Tips for Assessing In-House Counsel

As a recruiter, I've developed a rather messy Pavlovian response when a resume lands on my desk featuring an Ivy League law school and a major law firm.

But, the truth is, you can't simply hire associates from white glove firms and assume they'll be a good cultural fit for your organization. That's because the qualities that make for a high-performing associate – exercising prudence, racking up billable hours, hardline negotiating, etc.  – are not always likely to enthrall your senior leadership committee.

So how do you ensure that you're building a legal team that is ready, willing and able to support key business goals?

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