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NY Recruiter Launches Consultancy with Top Fortune 500 Lawyers

From Bloomberg Law  By Gabe Friedman

BarkerGilmore, best known as a Rochester, New York-based recruiting firm that specializes in placing in-house attorneys, announced on Monday a dozen former general counsel and chief compliance officers, mostly from Fortune 500 companies, will help launch a new consultancy arm for the firm.

Among those joining the group is Michelle Banks, former general counsel and chief compliance officer of Gap Inc, as well as the former chair of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association; Frank Fernandez, former general counsel of Home Depot and Bill Solomon, former general counsel of Ally Financial.

The group will provide advisory services, including crisis management, legal team review, legal operations and a half dozen other areas, based on each GC’s expertise. Additionally, the group will look to coach in-house lawyers, including on things like talent development.

Bob Barker, a co-founder and managing partner of BarkerGilmore, said he decided to launch the business in January when a private equity client requested certain consulting services, which he had to refer out. Since that time, he and his firm have assembled a team of former clients and acquaintances from the in-house sphere, located around the country, to launch a consulting business.

“It came together really quickly,” said Barker.

He added that as the in-house role has grown more complex and the responsibilities more numerous in the last two decades, there’s more of a market for the expertise of veteran in-house lawyers. 

“The benefit is for today’s practitioners to tap into the expertise of some of the most succesful GCs in the country,” said Barker.

The same idea applies to coaching: “At the general counsel level, a lot of times, they’re secretly the confidant for the CEO and others,” said Barker, “and it can be lonely at the top.”

BarkerGilmore’s clients include large banks such as JP Morgan and Bank of America, but also Chevron, Walgreens, Verizon and others, according to its website. While the recruiting business was launched in 2005, and already is well-established, Barker said the consultancy may take time to get up and running. His consultants will be located around the country, and travel to clients as opportunities arise.

“It’s going to be based upon the specific demands and the availability of the consultants on the team,” he said.

The list of lawyers joining BarkerGilmore includes:

  • Michelle Banks, Former EVP, Global GC, Corporate Secretary and CCO, Gap Inc.

  • Roya Behnia, Former SVP, GC and Corporate Secretary, Pall Corporation 

  • Frank Fernandez, Former EVP, Secretary and GC, The Home Depot, Inc.

  • Ann Harlan, Former VP, GC and Corporate Secretary, The J. M. Smucker Company

  • Vince Hatton, Former SVP, GC, of Corning Incorporated

  • Mark LeHocky, Former SVP, GC and Corporate Secretary, Ross Stores, Inc.

  • Bill Morelli, Former EVP and GC, Ingram Industries Inc.

  • Marla Persky, Former SVP, GC and Corporate Secretary, Boehringer Ingelheim USA

  • Helen Pudlin, Former EVP and General Counsel, PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

  • Tom Smith, Former Chief Compliance Officer, Oaktree Capital Management

  • Bill Solomon, Former Group Vice President and General Counsel, Ally Financial Inc.

  • Gary Van Graafeiland, Former SVP and GC, Eastman Kodak Company