The Connecticut Law Tribune provides an interesting glimpse into the world of how GCs select law firms.
A good summary of the process:
Farming out legal work, a survey of 41 companies based in New England and subsequent interviews with their general counsel revealed, is a delicate balance of personal and professional relationships, budget management and hunting for first-class legal expertise. Though legal work often flows to the largest law firms, the survey found there’s room for solo practitioners to carve a niche, even with some big-name businesses.
I have had some very good results with solos who have big-firm experience and a focused area of expertise. It can really be the best of both worlds for a GC, and a good counterpoint to the large firms that are part of the outside counsel roster.
A concise summary of the process comes from Clayton Holdings GC Steven Cohen:
“You get a lot more out of developing relationships rather than parsing out work or creating competition for work, and pitting one firm against another,” Cohen said. “We build up a few very good relationships with firms interested in supporting our growth. We want the firm to get familiar with our business and grow with us. We want the firm to be excited to take our [telephone] calls.”
Any firm that’s not excited to take a client’s telephone calls may find an eerie quiet developing over time.