Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Legal marketplace expert forms new company to advise firms on hiring

Professor Bill Henderson of Indiana U. School of Law, an expert on the legal marketplace and someone we've blogged about many times before, has announced he's started a consulting firm called Legal Metrics whose purpose is to help legal employers make "better" hiring decisions.

As reported by the ABA Journal blog:

A law professor known for his analysis of law firm hiring statistics has formed a new company, along with other like-minded experts, to take a more detailed look at the qualities shared by successful applicants, attorneys and partners.

Lawyer Metrics will also apply a 'Moneyball' approach to help quantify what qualities partners seek in an associate, reports the Am Law Daily. (The article doesn't address whether the characteristics partners seek are, in fact, traits common to fledgling legal eagles rather than their lower-flying counterparts.)

However, law professor Bill Henderson of Indiana University tells the ABA Journal that his company will help law firms collect and analyze their own data to optimize their hiring, training, retention and promotion policies.

'We want to design and build systems to select and develop world-class lawyers and counselors,' Henderson says, arguing that law firms will not only be more productive and competitive as a result but have happier attorneys who are working to their full potential in an environment of success.

'The legal profession's in turmoil, but we think we can help,' he tells the ABA Journal. 'We think this will definitely make things better.'

As I mentioned before, I'm skeptical about whether firms will spend the money, at least with respect to new grads, for this kind of analysis when indicators like school and class rank are available for free, despite their limitations and imperfections (not to mention law firms' own internal hiring data).  But Professor Henderson has studied how firms make hiring decisions whereas I'm only relying on the common sense notion that cost (of the penny-wise, pound foolish type) drives most business decisons.   If he's right, it may open the door to more of our grads who otherwise get left behind in the jump hunt.

Read more about Legal Metrics here.


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