It is hard enough to find and lure legal talent; it is harder to do so if the process takes months to complete. I know of one company that has lawyer candidates complete a long psychological exam and spend 45 minutes on the phone with a psychologist (See my post of April 27, 2006 on psychometrics and references cited.).
Yes, everyone talks about how important it is to take pains to hire carefully, but it is painful in a different way to endure long delays in the hiring process and thereby lose good candidates. The law department might find it politically difficult to grease the HR glacier, but it is necessary (See my post of Nov. 8, 2005 on the contributions of HR reps.).