In-House Counsel

In-house counsel: why did you hire the most recent outside counsel for your company? Prior relationship (colleague or classmate) or random networking/RFP process?

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Random networking, essentially. But it also depends on the particular type of matter for which my company needs outside counsel. We have working relationships with a couple firms that we use for particular types of assistance.

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We don't have a single firm for everything, so each team taps the specialized OC they need. In my team's case (very specialized), I tangentially knew a highly-respected former government lawyer/official and went to that person. Probably depends in large part on how small the universe of lawyers is for the area you are looking at. The smaller it is, the more likely it is to be a personal connection.

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Almost always go with firms that I have met, know and vetted for experience, billing practices, and work ethic. I meet them through networking. I get to know them personally and research with other in-house teams in my area. The RFP process has been less than fruitful for us. Also, I tend to err on the side of smaller, regional firms unless a particular specialty needs the more robust national or specialized national firm (I.e., employment law firm). If vetted properly, the smaller, regional firm usually works just as hard but pays closer attention to billing for value given rather than time spent in my experience.

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RFP process. Can't say I'm happy with it though. Linked up with previous outside counsel after meeting them at a networking event, and they had a much better work product than our new RFP-founded firms.

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I hired the last OC because the team was IMHO the best for the project in terms of billing rates, makeup of the team. It was a tech project and I liked that the team was 3 women, the partner was a young guy and he didn't hide his first year from me. I think it's important that associates to get experience in front of clients. And they were also very smart and creative thinkers and fun to work with. I probably overthink, but anytime I have the opportunity to work with OC, I want to see diversity, associate career development and work with people who I can learn from too.

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