Some unusual factors why departments might choose particular law firms for very significant matters

One question on a survey of general counsel asked them to rate 19 factors that might bear on their hiring decision for major matters. Several of the factors struck me as novel, if not bizarre.

“Market share of the firm in similar matters.” How would anyone in a legal department know such a figure for either the firm or the “market?”

“Recent growth history of the firm.” and “Turnover rates of Partners and Associates.” at least has some logic in that they consider the stability of the firm. Still, it’s one or two partners you care about, not the whole kit and caboodle.

“Partner compensation system (e.g., lock step, ‘eat what you kill’)”. My guess is that nearly all law firms determine partner pay by considerably more complicated determinations and you won’t make sense out of the convoluted, judgment-based methods.

“Quality control systems (e.g., peer review, audits/reviews of matters, feedback).” The factor covers so many possible interpretations I doubt that the responses will allow a legal department to differentiate among firms.

“Ethical infrastructure (e.g., ethics committees).” A fine infrastructure could coexist with disreputable practices.

The article, written by Prof. Michele DeStefano Beardslee, is in the Georgetown J. of Legal Ethics, Fall 2009 at 1259 (See my post of Oct. 22, 2008: law firm attributes for selection with 12 references.).

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