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The hunt is on. Clients want more in-house talent. And they want it now.

Clients see a tsunami of new matters — up 22% from last year and the momentum is just starting to head up. They want to be ready for both the here and now — and for when things really ramp up. Here are the industries with the most active hiring and the number of recent hires:

  • Banks — bringing in between 3 and 7 in-house attorneys
  • Financial Services — adding between 2 and 11 in-house attorneys
  • High Tech — hiring 3 in-house attorneys
  • Telecom — signing up between 2 and 5 in-house attorneys
  • Pharma — bringing in 4 in-house attorneys
  • Health Care — adding between 2 and 6 in-house attorneys
  • Manufacturing — hiring 1 to 3 in-house attorneys

These industries are showing the concentrated points of demand, but the overall demand for in-house attorneys is widespread. The average for all companies with over $1 billion in revenue added 4 attorneys. Companies with revenue between $250 million and $1 billion added 1 attorney — with about 21% adding their first in-house legal hire.

The Opportunity for Law Firms

Your goal is to help your client hire the right person, but also find a friend of the firm. I recommend these steps to make good friends of these new hires, build a deeper relationship with your client, and land a few brownie points with the top Legal Officer:

  1. Announce the opening to all of the firm’s alumni
  2. Post the opening on your LinkedIn feed with your endorsement of the job and department
  3. Look for and refer associates in the firm seeking an exit
  4. Offer to interview the top candidates
  5. Design training to introduce these new attorneys to the legal issues they are walking into — matter by matter
  6. Brief clients on any matters under their responsibility where you have worked; share what you know and think, and help them get up to speed quickly
  7. Offer your firm’s research and information services — they are likely to be more robust than corporate research services
  8. Introduce yourself to the new hire by phone or Zoom — make it clear you are a resource
  9. Call the new hire on a regular basis
  10. If the new hire is relatively junior, assign a senior associate to befriend and help the new hire — and stay in touch regularly

Offer your help to clients by phone or Zoom before doing anything other than suggesting candidates you know well. Asking for permission by email without a deep relationship misses the opportunity to build a deeper connection — and help your client.

You will benefit from asking your client what they want in a candidate and getting permission to help. This insight helps you spot the right candidate — and gives you new insight into what your client is trying to get done.

Your help only takes a few phone calls and a touch of networking. This could be short money weighed against helping clients get things done and making friends of new hires. And even if you don’t help place a candidate, your effort will make you stand apart — and you still have the exclusive insights.

This is also known as business development.

Good luck. Be safe and be well.


The MAD Clientist

Watch the BTI Market Outlook and Client Service Review 2021 to learn how 30% of top legal officers are new in their role and how it is impacting hiring, budgets, and market trends.

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