To tell or not to tell internal candidates about their prospects for promotion to an available general counsel opening

When its former general counsel was to retire, Marriott International “had a wide open, nine-months, excruciating search for the right person.” As described in the Bisnow on Business E-Letter</em>, May 2007, the company selected a veteran in-house lawyer, Ed Ryan, to take charge of the 90-lawyer department. During the process no one told Ryan anything about his status, until when he became one of five finalists.

I suppose you cannot give prospects who work in the law department inside information about their candidacy that is not made available to external candidates, but the cost in morale and distraction would be very high for such a protracted process (See my posts of Aug. 1, 2006 and April 16, 2007 about disappointed hopefuls.). Good lawyers who hang fire as long as Ryan did might take some calls from headhunters or decamp.

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