The legal profession has been going through a period of transformation in recent years, and one significant change has been the expanded role of general counsel. That, in turn, has led to more consulting jobs — especially in risk management.
In an interview for Robert Half Legal's Future Law Office report, Client Dynamics Driving Change in the Legal Profession, Cesar Alvarez, co-chairman of law firm Greenberg Traurig, summed up the situation well by noting that risk management is among "a host ... of business challenges now falling to general counsel to manage."
According to that same Future Law Office report, many clients now look to general counsel to help them understand the risks and potential outcomes of various legal strategies that could affect their business. However, general counsel don't necessarily need to become risk management experts to meet these expectations; they just need to know how to assemble the right talent at the right time. That's why many general counsel are tapping the risk management expertise of professionals who work in legal consulting jobs.
The benefits of engaging risk management expertise
The value of hiring risk management experts who work in legal consulting jobs is that their skills and knowledge can be accessed for only as long as it is required. General counsel can lean on these professionals as they transition from traditional legal adviser to corporate strategist and get a firm handle on what they need to know about risk management issues affecting their company.
Although many corporate legal departments do find they need these skills in-house on a longer-term basis to help manage risk exposure, general counsel may decide to leave some areas that require risk management expertise, such as legal project management and eDiscovery, squarely in the hands of professionals who work in consulting jobs. That's because non-routine legal matters such as these call for specialized skills and knowledge that is not only hard to find but also only needed for a specific period of time. In particular, the complexity of eDiscovery is driving more legal organizations to proactively engage professionals who work in legal consulting jobs to help them address the riskiest and costliest areas of collecting, preserving and reviewing electronic information for legal matters.
Searching for risk management experts in legal consulting jobs
Contacting a reputable legal staffing firm is a logical place to begin a targeted search for risk management experts who work in legal consulting jobs. Knowledgeable recruiters with legal industry experience will know how to quickly find skilled professionals who meet your criteria and have relevant knowledge of your industry. Some leading firms also provide legal consulting solutions in specific practice areas such as general litigation and data security and privacy and, therefore, will likely have access to risk management experts in those specialties.
Of course, a search on the Internet or on professional networks like LinkedIn can be a starting point if your organization has the time and resources to look for qualified risk management experts in legal consulting jobs. If you conduct your own search, look for legal professionals who have experience working in risk manager roles on the corporate side; you'll find many attorneys have taken this non-traditional career path. Legal professionals with risk management experience earned at a global consulting firm can also be strong candidates.
A final tip: When interviewing risk management professionals, be sure to ask them to explain how they have helped their clients minimize their exposure to risk in previous legal consulting jobs. Above all else, whether you are hiring risk management specialists for consulting jobs or full-time roles, you want candidates who can articulate the value they could potentially bring to your firm.