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More data on the ways in-house counsel find new law firms

In January of this year, John Lipsey, VP Corporate Counsel Services at Martindale-Hubble, surveyed thousands of corporate counsel in the U.S. – without regard to whether or not they had a known relationship to Martindale. Some 730 responded. He wrote about the results on the Martindale-Hubble blog.

The lawyers ranked in order of importance various resources they use when hiring outside counsel. More than 90 percent of them picked personal referrals from colleagues as the most important (See my post of Aug. 5, 2007: internationally, referrals dominate.). Next came Martindale-Hubbell, with 42 percent of the respondents ranking as being important in the hiring process. Google came in a distant third with 18 percent of the respondents viewing it as an important resource (See my post of Jan. 28, 2008: how hard it is to locate a specialist lawyer.).

Closing out the resources drawn on – as listed by Martindale-Hubble – were Best Lawyers (9% of respondents viewing it as important), Chambers (7%), SuperLawyers (6%), and Law Dragon and Avvo with less than 1% each (See my posts of July 4, 2006: ranking sources of guidance on prospective law firm retentions; and Nov. 11, 2005: referrals and networks of firms.).

I wonder whether there is a distinction between finding a candidate lawyer or firm in the first instance and then subsequently finding out more about them. Resources have different strengths.