I’m pleased to have spoken today to a group of law students at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law on the intersection of antitrust and IP law. It was nice to see an almost-full lecture hall — lots of interest in the topic.
How do you find suitable local counsel with whom to work?
There are of course traditional methods: (i) Use someone with whom you’ve worked before (but what if you haven’t worked with anyone in the new jurisdiction?); (ii) use someone recommended by one of your colleagues (but what if they don’t have experience in that jurisdiction, either?); (iii) look up someone in a service such as Martindale (but does anyone really use Martindale anymore, and how much can its static pages tell you)?
So here are three new (or at least newer) ideas for how to find and pick local counsel:
- Ask one of your other clients who has previously had a matter in the local jurisdiction. They likely will be at least somewhat flattered by your inquiry. And if they have had a matter in the relevant jurisdiction, they also likely will have some good insights into the quality of their prior local representation.
- Check out who in the local jurisdiction blogs about the area of interest. No, I wouldn’t recommend picking someone merely on the basis that they have a blog. But a good blog can identify for you potential good fits.
- Run a Westlaw or Lexis search covering the last few years for similar cases in the jurisdiction. In most instances, you should be able to easily screen out any out-of-town firms, leaving the local ones. Then you can look them up on the web. Bonus: usually you’ll have individual attorney names to view as well.