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VOL. 41 | NO. 8 | Friday, February 24, 2017

Firm provides lawyers on 'a la carte' basis

By Joe Morris | Correspondent

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While local and state-based law schools have always fed the local market’s needs and will continue to do so, other entities are becoming increasingly visible players as Nashville and Middle Tennessee’s growth surges.

For instance, Counsel On Call, which can provide lawyers on a more a la carte basis to help with specific projects or needs, is busily adding depth to its bench in response to rising demand.

There’s opportunity in the air, whether that’s for lawyers looking to work on a contract basis for a specific length of time, or who are looking for a more traditional, in-firm employment track.

“There are a lot of attorneys looking for opportunities here,” says Eric Schultenover, vice president of business development. “Nashville’s a hot city and that’s not lost on attorneys all around the country. Some come on their own, but we’re always hearing rumors about a big firm in Texas, or the Northeast, or wherever, looking to merge with a local firm or open an office here.

“And the days of them coming to town and opening a brand-new office and not seeding it with local talent are over. If they’re coming in they’re going to acquire a smaller firm, or peel lawyers from one of the larger firms.”

Since Counsel On Call concerns itself with contract legal staffing, it hears more from attorneys looking to relocate here vs. firms needing to hire on a permanent basis. Even so, it has been asked to headhunt a bit.

“We are hearing from firms who are looking to seed a new office, and they ask us to keep our ears open for people looking to leave where they are,” Schultenover says. “Everybody is looking for opportunities, because they are out there.”

As for its own operation, Counsel On Call reflects the law community’s growth. Nashville is its corporate headquarters, and it operates offices in Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta. It provides lawyers on a temp basis for a law firm or corporate legal department, and also provides managed services through three standalone facilities (one of which is in Nashville) where teams of lawyers work on large legal projects for clients that range from Fortune 500 companies to government agencies.

With several hundred attorneys involved in its various efforts, many of whom are based in Nashville, Schultenover says the potential for continued growth in Nashville is there not just for attorneys, but for companies that service the legal community in general as well.

“As Nashville continues to attract more companies, and keeps becoming the back-office city for so many entities that are locating that kind of facility here as well as their headquarters, the work will keep coming,” he says. “All those shared-services centers bring their legal work with them, and while they may bring some attorneys with them as well, they likely will be looking for some local talent to round that out.”