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Are general counsel “unconcerned with losing top performers”?

A survey by Robert Half Legal gathered responses from 300 attorneys among the largest law firms and corporations in North America. As mentioned by Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 16, Jan. 2008 at 55, all respondents had at least three years of experience in the legal field.

One question was, “How concerned are you about losing your top talent to other law firms or legal departments?” The responses were “very concerned” at 12 percent; “somewhat concerned” at 43 percent; “not concerned” at 42 percent, and “don’t know/no answer” at 3 percent.

It’s frustrating that Robert Half didn’t separate law firm responses from law department responses. Law firms, after all, can’t make every associate a partner, so they expect and plan for attrition. A general counsel, to point out the obvious, does not want to lose lawyers (See my post of Dec. 12, 2006 on low attrition rates among UK departments.), often has no bench strength, faces difficulties hiring lawyers (See my post Dec. 3, 2007 #1 about executive search placements.), and tries to hold together a team over time (See my posts of May 14, 2005 and June 15, 2005 on the cost to law departments of turnover.).

I doubt the representativeness of these statistics for law departments, even more since they concern “top talent.”

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