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Culture Fit (Oct) art“I would like to use you, but our HR team is in charge of the opening,” a general counsel we respect and have known for years said to me during a recent phone call. This is not a new development, of course. Many organizations fill law department positions without using any outside search firm. But not too long ago, the law department always took charge of selecting the search firm when, indeed, the company decided to use one. Accordingly, we have focused for 20 years on building relationships with you—lawyers and law department leaders.

However, our firm is not well known within HR circles. I intend to change that. By building relationships with HR leaders, I hope we will earn the right to serve more of your law department’s needs. The challenge is getting in front of the right people for introductory meetings in advance of needs arising. Like all executives, HR leaders resist unsolicited inquiries.

This is where I need your help. Please introduce me to the internal HR professional who services your law department, or to your executive vice president of human resources. Simply forward this column and ask your colleague to consider a short, in-person meeting with me. It’s a win-win all around.

The HR executive will know that we understand and respect her role in the vendor selection process. You are not telling your HR team which firm to use, but rather supplying them with another option to consider. For you, the value is two-fold. First, this approach enhances our ability to work well with all stakeholders if your company does choose to engage our services. Your department benefits. Secondly, as this approach will positively impact our volume of high quality orders across the board, we will have even more to offer if you reach out to us in the future as a confidential candidate.

My goal is to meet one HR professional per week through the first quarter of 2015. Please help me to secure an introduction to the HR folks at your company. Thank you!

This request is also inspired by a recent ACC/Kentucky Chapter event. Although I was speaking on a panel discussing the best practices for using LinkedIn and other social media platforms, an unexpected turn of events reminded me that nothing supplants in-person conversation and experience when it comes to career advancement, networking and business development.

Check out my InsideCounsel column on a general counsel road trip.

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