Very hard to poach from other law departments in a specialized industry

I heard a new twist on sources of hires (See my post of March 26, 2007 with statistics on various sources.). A company I know is a major player in a health-care industry. Its general counsel has found it too difficult to recruit lawyers from the few other law departments in the industry, both because of non-compete or confidentiality limitations and because the lawyer would have to relocate.

As a result of these difficulties, for the past several years the department has hired from local law firms and trained those fifth-to-seventh year associates in the company’s business and legal nuances.

Ironically, once hired, the same reasons that make hiring difficult make the decision of a lawyer who wants to leave hard. Where can you go? The situation is similar to a company whose law department is located in a remote or small city. Though hard to attract people to the outpost, once there, few choices exist for them to pursue locally.

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