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Firms call them beauty contests, law department managers call them interviews

Among the many ways managers decide which firm or lawyer to retain, the in-person interview is probably the most effective. As with interviews of prospective hires, many techniques help those managers do a better job (See my post of Nov. 24, 2007: coaches on how to interview; Feb. 8, 2006: a good question to ask; Jan. 16, 2006: length of questions and answers; Aug. 10, 2007: Exelon’s RFPs and extensive interviews; Aug. 4, 2007: bifurcated interviews of associates and partners; May 7, 2008: Union Pacific Railroad’s interview process; and April 7, 2006: interviewers should look beyond looks.).

The derogatory term for some elaborate versions of interviews is a beauty contest (See my post of Dec. 21, 2008: beauty parades with 8 references cited.). Law firms disparage competitive interviews with variations on that term, such as dog-and-pony shows. In-house, interviews is the term of choice.

For more on this topic, see my BLOOK on outside counsel management.