The quote comes from Catherine Nathan, a partner at Spencer Stuart who places senior in-house lawyers. She makes the point in Diversity & The Bar, Vol. 10, May/June 2008 at 32, that CEOs have much more experience hiring CFOs, COOs and HR executives, but they are on unfamiliar ground when they have to select a CLO. That may well be true. One of the contributions of an executive search firm is to help those CEOs establish the right priorities and processes for hiring a top lawyer.
The article profiles several leading search partners (See my post of July 5, 2006: list three prominent search-firm specialists.), including Selena LaCroix at Egon Zehnder International (See my post of Sept. 16, 2008: recruiters with 12 references.)