Home > Zen & the Art of Legal Networking > General Counsel Corner: Considerations When Selecting Outside Counsel

General Counsel Corner: Considerations When Selecting Outside Counsel

I always enjoy hearing what factors into a general counsel’s decision to hire outside law firms – it gives great insight into what firms should be focusing on, both when it comes to the delivery of legal services, as well as the message that they’re promoting.

In our latest edition of the General Counsel Corner, I asked the employment counsel for a large international company to describe the factors that they consider when hiring outside counsel.  

Our GC contributor told me:

In selecting outside counsel, we seek attorneys at reputable firms with a proven track record in the particular areas of expertise for which we are seeking counsel, who provide counsel taking into account not only the law, but also the pragmatic realities of our business and provide guidance as to how best to move the forward while mitigating risk to the company. Ideally, our attorneys will have an existing relationship with the outside counsel to increase the likelihood that the outside counsel will care about our business and the counsel being provided, as opposed to merely looking to generate a book of business. We also appreciate counsel who work efficiently and are mindful of minimizing attorneys fees and costs given the current economic climate and renewed focus on managing budgets.”


His answer nails all of the factors we normally hear from general counsel:

  • Firms/lawyers who are business partners
  • Proven expertise
  • Personal relationships with people they know, like and trust
  • Mindful of pricing and process improvement

Firms, are you both delivering these characteristics, as well as effectively explaining that and how you do deliver them?

If the answer to any of those is no, take a look at how you can improve that, and how you can show clients and potential clients that you’re focused on the things that they care about most.

A big thank you to our GC for this installment of the General Counsel Corner!