When Stephen Sitley was named senior vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer at Sears Holdings Corp., my mind raced through the Way Back machine to a fond memory of my roots as a legal recruiter.
In 1993, I was cutting my teeth and learning this business with a legal staffing firm called The Wallace Law Registry (now part of Kelly Services). My boss and mentor Shelley Wallace had landed a big fish in the Chicago in-house legal market—an opportunity to recruit talent for Sears. This goes back to a time when Sears’ headquarters was based in a tall tower bearing its name. Sears was under a hiring freeze, so Shelley convinced the general counsel at the time to try an unconventional approach to staffing his department—use something called “contract attorneys.”
My marching orders as Shelley’s new and inexperienced legal recruiter in Chicago … find “permanent placement” caliber talent willing to work for law departments via a third-party employer. We avoided using the word “temporary,” as that carried a negative perception on the talent level and role for which the lawyer was deployed. Law departments pioneered the use of contract attorneys in the ’90s, long before law firms began using a lower paid variety for dead end document review work. More