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Frequently Asked Questions

What Employers Need to Know
Q. What can a search consultant offer that we could not find on our own?
Q. What is the best way to work with General Counsel Consulting?
Q. Should a company do an exclusive or nonexclusive search?
Q. How will General Counsel Consulting locate candidates for me?
Q. What are your fees?
Q. What is the best way to work with General Counsel Consulting?
Q. What makes General Counsel Consulting different from other placement firms?
Q. When is the best time to consider a move in-house?
Q. What are in house employers looking for when making hiring decisions?
Q. What can a search consultant offer that we could not find on our own?
A. The largest advantage of hiring a search consultant is not his/her ability to generate resumes; it is the fact that a good search consultant's interests are aligned with your own. Unlike in the law firm placement market - where most law firms do not care what search consultant they work with as long as the search consultant generates top candidates for them - in the in-house legal market, search consultants are highly dependent upon repeat business from corporations. In addition, because most corporations do not have an in-depth knowledge of how to screen attorneys, the search consultant will typically have a much greater understanding of the types of attorneys that are likely to succeed in a given corporation.
search consultants speak with countless attorneys each day. In addition, these search consultants are actively speaking with hiring organizations at all times. The result of all of this input is that the search consultant develops an extremely good understanding of the sorts of attorneys that are likely to thrive and those that are destined to fail. This ability to screen attorneys is a major advantage that a good search consultant brings to the table when assisting any corporation.
In addition to the screening, the search consultant can also go out into the market and locate candidates for the corporation. This is a major time-saver for the corporation and something few corporations, even those with adept in-house recruiting departments, have the skill or patience to deal with. You need to remember that attorneys look at a new position and a change in circumstance in different ways than many executives do. A legal education and varied experiences inside legal organizations create an individual with unique needs.
As search consultants, we are privy to a class-based understanding of attorneys, which allows us the ability to distinguish among the qualification levels of thousands of different types of attorneys. While which law school or college the attorney attended may be meaningful, there are also subtler distinctions, such as the work experiences the attorney has had and even the known skill of particular attorneys the attorney has practiced with. In the corporate, IP, litigation, and other fields, there are numerous ways to characterize a particular attorney and understand how well he/she is likely to do in his/her next job and how qualified he/she really is. Our ability to understand this and communicate this to you is one major advantage that we bring to the search process. We aim to convey this information to all of our clients in well-written and comprehensive write-ups that show you the sort of attorney you are getting.
It is a well-known fact that numerous attorneys in the legal industry who attended good schools and worked inside solid organizations have been "faking it" their entire careers. Recognizing an effective attorney is not an easy skill. There are numerous attorneys for whom legal practice just does not "click" on any level whatsoever. Our objective at General Counsel Consulting is to present attorneys to you who know what they are doing. Because the legal profession protects its own, it takes a professional to be able identify those who are "faking it." References are often meaningless when screening attorneys.
Q. What is the most important thing to look for when hiring a new attorney?
A. This depends on the needs of the particular corporation. Regardless of whether you are seeking a senior attorney, a junior attorney, or an attorney with a diversified set of skills, there are certain things we believe are important in screening new employees for your organization.
One our many jobs at General Counsel Consulting is reviewing resumes. In reviewing resumes, we are able to identify numerous characteristics of in-house attorneys. One of the more common is the in-house attorney who has had several jobs in a relatively short period of time. This is a pattern that became particularly pronounced in the late 1990s and into 2000 as many in-house attorneys moved around at a dizzying pace looking for stock options. One in-house attorney (who did not hold any job for more than a few months) actually found a position with a competing corporation in San Francisco through an advertisement that was shown before a movie.
When you hire an attorney, you are making an investment in your company. Likewise, you want an attorney who is going to be invested in you and your company. While money is one way to achieve this, at General Counsel Consulting, we believe that there are simply different classes of individuals out there that will react to employment situations in a very predictable way. We call these attorneys "gems" and "kites." Your objective is to hire gems.
One attribute of a gem is that it is consistently shining. A good gem also has some weight to it and is permanent in that no one is ever going to throw away a good gem and most gems stay with their owners forever. Think of a wedding ring, for example. A gem can be rained on, it can be heated, and it can be banged around; yet it still remains brilliant and bright. Over time, you come to like the gem more, and you associate memories with it because it has been with you a long time. The gem never had any intention of going anywhere. If someone tries to take your gem away from you, you will get very defensive. You may love your gem regardless of whether it is of the highest quality or lowest quality. Your gem is there to stay with you.
There are also attorneys out there who are gems. A gem is one who, once he/she finds a job, is very content and will stay there. He/She will not leave his/her position when times become difficult - the gem is from the earth and stays connected to whoever is its owner. You could actually break the gem if you wanted, but it would take a lot of effort. In contrast is the kite. The kite will go wherever the wind takes it and is only connected to its owner by a string. The kite will be damaged by rain and heat. In addition, the kite may look very pretty when it is new, but over time it may become ugly and will not perform as well as it did the day it was new. The kite is not connected to you and is always looking for a new wind to take it away.
The most important thing that any corporation can do when hiring an attorney is to look for a gem. A gem is the sort of attorney who is never likely to move around for the sake of simply moving and seeks stability and will weather the circumstances with his/her employer in the name of stability. This sort of attorney is also someone who is likely to put forth a good effort at all times and continually improve his/her work on behalf of the organization.
The kite, however, will constantly compare him/herself and his/her position to potential employers and worry if his/her position does not appear as good as someone else's position. This is also the sort of attorney who is likely to criticize his/her current or former organization when interviewing. This attorney will only put forth effort in his/her position depending upon how he/she perceives his/her job in relation to others jobs at his/her current employer and/or other employers.
While it is not necessary to go into a further psychological analysis of attorneys, it is important to realize that there are numerous different types of attorneys and that you need to concern yourself with attracting gems and not kites.
Q. Should a company do an exclusive or nonexclusive search?
A. While a search firm is always happy to take your contingency-fee-based search regardless of whether the search is exclusive or nonexclusive, there are major advantages to doing exclusive searches.
When you do an exclusive search, you are allowing the search consultant to take the time to understand your company, and you are providing him/her assurances that his/her efforts on your behalf are not going to be wasted. As such, you are likely to get better candidates in a much more rapid manner than you would if you did not do an exclusive search. In fact, in most exclusive searches, you will be speaking with your search consultant and representatives of General Counsel Consulting on an ongoing basis. This is important and will ensure that your investment in an attorney is one that provides benefits.
As has been discussed above, there are many hidden variables involved in hiring attorneys that are useful for you to be aware of in the hiring process. When you do an exclusive search with General Counsel Consulting, we can take the time to understand your needs and convey to you the strengths of the various attorneys you are considering for openings in your company.
An exclusive search is almost always going to get you results faster than a nonexclusive search. Most corporations are seeking attorneys with very specific backgrounds, and an exclusive search allows the consultant to devote the time necessary to assisting you with tracking down attorneys with the given qualifications you are seeking.
Q. How will General Counsel Consulting locate candidates for me?
A. General Counsel Consulting is a division of Juriscape, a multinational corporation with more than 225 employees throughout the world that is responsible for getting more than 10,000 attorneys jobs per year. Whether it is our use of media or our internal database of more than 200,000 attorneys who have contacted us while searching for positions, we are confident we can locate the best candidates for your opening(s).
Q. What are your fees?
A. ur fees are 25% of the attorney's first-year annual base compensation. While we understand that corporations may be used to be paying less, we believe that our service distinguishes us far beyond any of our competitors and the cost of using General Counsel Consulting is well worth it.
Q. What is the best way to work with General Counsel Consulting?
A. If you have any interest of going in-house either now or in the future, your best option is to submit your resume to us either by submitting it to jobs@gcconsulting.com or online by CLICKING HERE.
Regardless of whether or not we currently have a position matching your interests, rest assured that we will contact you when and if we have an appropriate position for you. We are eager to discuss your career goals and what you are seeking in terms of an in-house career.
Q. What makes General Counsel Consulting different from other placement firms?
A.  All we do at General Counsel Consulting are in-house placements of attorneys. Focusing on in-house placements means that our livelihood and success as a company is entirely dependent upon how well we understand the in-house market and the attorneys interested in working in it.
As a division of Juriscape, the largest attorney-employment conglomerate in the world, we have the resources and expertise to serve you with more information, more understanding, and more options than any recruitment firm anywhere.
While other placement firms may mix law firm and in-house placements and spend time on paralegal and other sorts of placements, our focus at General Counsel Consulting is specific. The difference between working with a recruiting firm focused on in-house placements exclusively and one that does many things is profound. Let General Counsel Consulting go to work for you.
Q. When is the best time to consider a move in-house?
A. Contrary to common belief, there is really no perfect time to make a move in-house. Nevertheless, it is generally important that you get at least 1-2 years of experience in a law firm before transitioning in-house. The reason for this is that law firms typically provide the best platforms for developing your legal skills-whether you are in litigation, corporate law, real estate, or intellectual property, for example.
Attorneys have moved to in-house positions after 1 year of experience as well as after 30 years of experience. The choice to move in-house is entirely up to you, and when contemplating your move, you should consider your own motivations and the quality of the opportunity presented at the time you are interested in moving.
The largest concern to keep in mind when moving to an in-house position is whether or not you feel like you have acquired the legal skill set that will make you comfortable being an attorney inside of a corporation. If you have acquired this skill set, then you should have no concerns about taking a position in-house.
Q. What are in house employers looking for when making hiring decisions?
A. There are generally two classes of corporations that hire attorneys: (1) corporations with attorneys inside them that know what they want and (2) corporations with few, if any, attorneys inside them that think they know they want. Obviously, there are numerous classes of corporations - large, small, established, emerging, etc. Depending upon the sort of corporation in which you are seeking to work, your qualifications will be viewed in a correspondingly different light.
In larger and established corporations, they are typically seeking attorneys who are well qualified and like the attorneys within them. Traditionally, larger corporations use prestigious brand-name firms for their outside counsel and a lot of the attorneys within these companies are gleaned therefrom. Accordingly, in the largest companies, you will typically see the same sort of hiring snobbery that characterizes many large law firms. Thus, the hiring attorneys inside the company will be interested in which school you attended and how well you performed academically in addition to which law firms have employed you. They will also ask a lot of questions about the type of work you undertook and in which practice areas.
While the largest companies will generally know exactly what they want, smaller companies are much more likely to have no idea what they want. Certainly, if someone inside a smaller company hears you can get his/her company an attorney from Harvard Law School, he/she will be excited (but who's to say that every attorney from a top law school is actually a good attorney).
Recently, one of our search consultants attended a wedding where the head of a wildly successful manufacturing product, who had made tens of millions of dollars in a period of months with a runaway hit, came up to him. The man had been living in the United States for fewer than two years and barely spoke English.
"I need one of those courtroom attorneys," he said. "Yeah," the recruiter said, somewhat amused. "To do what?" "File motion with court and argue. Attorney need to argue good. I pay top dollar and at least $5,000 a month, but attorney must not screw around."
As unbelievable as these sorts of exchanges are, they occur all the time. There are countless small businesses out there that have made a great deal of money and need attorneys to work for them. While our role as legal-search consultants is to provide such emerging companies a great deal of guidance and counsel about how to hire an attorney, we are sad to say that this line of counsel can often fall on deaf ears. The corporation will often have no idea what type of attorney it is hiring - it just realizes its need for an attorney. Incredibly, in the dot-com days, legal departments of 10 or more attorneys were often built this way by entrepreneurs using other people's money to assemble the legal department they thought they needed.
While one might believe this sort of hiring is confined to entrepreneurs without a solid knowledge base, it is also commonplace in some larger corporations that do not have well-organized legal departments.
At General Counsel Consulting, the focus of our business is assisting corporations to understand exactly what they need in their legal departments. Unlike law firm-placement agencies, we do not necessarily care where you went to school or what organization you are coming from. Because a great many of our clients are not hung up on snob appeal, we can afford to introduce them to the best attorneys for their open positions and not just the ones who look best on paper.

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars.