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Coaches for how to conduct interviews of law firms and select them

According to Barry Fisher, general counsel at SAP Canada Inc., “Many companies are calling upon specialists who offer coaching on how to conduct interviews and expertise in identifying success factors” when the companies select outside counsel.

In the next paragraph, from LEXPERT, Vol. 8, July/Aug. 2007 at 63, the suggestion is made that procurement personnel can help with these skills. Sourcing experts might help find the coach, but how your law department effectively uses them depends on you (See my post of June 9, 2007 on coaching and seven references cited.).

It’s news to me that many companies have hired coaches, and I disagree that they are very effective. In-house counsel can become more adept at interviewing partners but useful coaching by non-lawyers on the rest of the selection process is hard to imagine. Then again, perhaps Fisher’s point is that purchasing specialists have a more discipline methods of querying sellers of services (interviews) and a more analytical approach to ranking the proposals of law firms. With that point, I agree (See my post of Nov. 13, 2007 about the procurement group at Dell.).