General Counsel

LAWCLERK for General Counsel Part I: Retain Top Talent Internally and Externally

By Kimberly Coleman
April 24, 2019

Retaining talent in today's environment isn't easy.  A company must benchmark each component of the compensation package and yet, those items alone are not sufficient.  An employee's workload, sense of challenge and appreciation are important factors that are often overlooked.  Additionally, culture is huge.  Below is my experience, which shows that LAWCLERK for General Counsel is quintessential to every legal department.

I’ve been in-house counsel for over 8 years, most of which was at a prior company.  That company was a super fast-paced company that was majority owned by a private equity firm.  If you are familiar with them, you feel my pain.  If you’re not, private equity firms are very demanding.  They want work to be completed before they request its completion.  While I thrived and loved the fast paced environment (think 90 hours a week, every week for over 2 years with the workload of 3 full-time attorneys), its only sustainable for a period of time before errors and a reduction in quality begins to creep into your work product.  As in-house counsel I was fulfilled by the challenges my role faced but I was horrendously miserable at the lack of life outside of the office.  As you can imagine, I jumped ship at the first viable option that arose.  My then company lost an incredibly dedicated, driven and capable employee and there was nothing they could have done to make me stay.  In comes LAWCLERK GC (stage left). 

LAWCLERK provides the top things General Counsel (and their teams) look for in external counsel– scalability, expertise, capacity, efficiency and cost-savings!

In today’s market, companies are constantly fighting with budget constraints, while still preserving quality, speed and expertise in work product.  This is especially true with respect to legal departments as they are viewed strictly as a cost center (not a profit center), which can make it challenging to overcome the negative stigma and substantiate value.

In the role I discussed earlier, I was given the ability to cart blanche hire any external counsel that I wanted.  However, I didn’t have any idea where to begin. How was I to pick not only the firm but the particular attorney?  Did I want someone that had more years of experience or someone that had less years but billed at a much lower rate?  I went through several firms and numerous attorneys before finding one that produced quality work, met deadlines, provided scalability and included cost-savings.  Figuring that all out was a substantial investment of time, which meant that I was not spending those hours producing any work and I would end up having to spend even more time in the office.  I discovered that in-house counsel often work with a partner at the firm who “manages” the relationship and designates staffing.  When a partner and other attorneys are on the phone, this can mean that you are paying for both attorney’s time. 

LAWCLERK has it all.

You save time worrying about which firm has the best reputation and the lowest rates, which firms (vs attorneys) are conflicted out, which attorney is adequately skilled to assist you, and the list continues.  You also save time worrying about feelings.  This may sound cavalier, but soft skills and human emotion (EQ) are relevant when working with people.  Using LAWCLERK allows you to provide open and candid feedback, require tight timelines and be confident that the work will be completed well, on time and without any expectations other than the compensation you set.  Additionally, hiring project-based contractors allows you to get the work done without the overhead expense of and commitment to a full-time employee.  Finally, LAWCLERK allows you to focus on the work you want to, including complex and high visibility projects.  LAWCLERK provides you with the resources to spend your time more strategically, while still accomplishing lower priority and/or “back-burner” projects.  Many of those projects will, once completed, increase your efficiency in the long run. 

LAWCLERK’s technology platform is designed to streamline the retention process.  You are able to view the resumes and work samples of each contractor, in addition to the ranking your peers designated.  The ability to have “reference” information readily available is a key feature.  Ratings are in almost every other facet of our life, so why not when it comes to choosing contractors?   Also, its nice to know that when a contractor applies, it is because the contractor is able to do the work within the allotted timeframe. Additionally, LAWCLERK has partnered with Clio, a matter management system.  For GC’s that are familiar with matter management systems, you know how amazing it is when your external counsel are able to send their invoice to the overarching matter.  For those that aren’t, think hugely streamlined invoicing for you, with increased reporting functionality and budget management. 

Finally, LAWCLERK’s model is project based vs hours based, so it avoids many of the concerns in-house counsel have with respect to external counsel.  External counsel are incentivized to bill more hours, whereas contractors are incentivized by the amount and quality of the work they complete.

All of these features make it easier to manage in-house workloads and people, and still obtain the high quality work.  As a result, you are able to retain top talent, internally and externally.

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