Your Guide to Building the Best In-House Legal Team

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How do you build a winning team?

It’s not just about talent and skills, although these are obviously quite important. (More on this later.)

It’s mainly about the people. People who not only possess their own special talents, but who can work together, help each other, learn from each other, and bring out the best in each other to fulfill the company mission.

People who understand that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.


Challenges in Building an In-House Legal Team

In the case of building an in-house legal team, it’s not enough to simply find candidates who went to Top-10 law schools, throw them together, and expect to have a high-functioning team. Consider these traps:

  • Candidates who look good on paper can be total duds in the interview phase, or worse, after being hired.
  • Hiring managers can make the mistake of hiring team members who are all essentially alike in background, experience, and approaches, leading to “groupthink” and tunnel vision.
  • Even a candidate who has a good résumé and interviews well can end up being a distraction to the team by bringing in hidden agendas, office politics, and self-aggrandizement at the expense of other team members, thereby creating a toxic work environment that encourages turnover.
  • And, unfortunately, some candidates simply misrepresent their skills and experience.


What Are You Trying to Achieve?

The first step in assembling a winning in-house legal team is to understand your needs. First, you should ask yourself some hard questions:

  • What do you need from the team? What legal projects and issues to you expect to deal with in both the short term and long term?
  • Given the company mission, what legal employee skills will you need? Mergers and acquisitions? Corporate restructuring? Regulatory compliance? Litigation? Intellectual property?
  • What skills will be needed for the basic, day-to-day, keep-the-lights-on operations? (Don’t forget about this!)
  • Don’t forget about leadership, either. Will the team report directly to an existing manager? If not, you’ll need to find someone to organize and lead the team and keep them focused on the priorities.


Finding the Talent to Match Your Needs

Despite the difficulties, finding the talent you need is easier than you might think. Our new legal staffing service, LawTrades Apex, specializes in matching the right legal talent with your needs. Whether it’s a contract paralegal, full-time compliance officer, temp-to-hire tax attorney, or a whole team, LawTrades Apex understands your needs and can bring you the best candidates. Unlike general headhunting firms, we focus only on legal professions, and we leverage technology to find, vet, and present qualified candidates for every legal role.

Contact us today to schedule a demo to start interviewing candidates today.