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Hire Counsel: Investing in Legal Human Capital to Create Value and Opportunities in the Legal Staffing Industry

In an industry that demands quality legal services at a high speed and affordable cost, contract legal work can be treated like a commodity, an idea that Hire Counsel aims to elucidate. Through their actions, Hire Counsel sets out to evangelize the legal community, helping the legal professionals they employ and the clients they serve to understand the importance of contract legal work.
HCMC Legal, the parent company of Hire Counsel and Mestel & Company, is the national leader in legal talent solutions, managed document review services, and M&A consulting. With a history dating back more than three decades, the company was founded in 1987 by Lynn Mestel, an enterprising woman who helped break down stereotypes and pave a path for women in the industry. During a difficult time for start-up businesses, HCMC Legal rose to the challenge while many other companies closed or consolidated. The company, rich with achievements and lessons learned, is well-positioned for ongoing growth and innovation.
Achieving Mutuality and Aligning Goals
Today, HCMC Legal is led by CEO and President, Joan Davison. With nearly 30 years of experience, spanning across operations management, business development, marketing, recruiting, and staffing, Joan inspires success through her actions — by maintaining a forward-looking vision and aligning the company’s goals with those of the clients and professionals they serve in the legal ecosystem. For Joan, investing in legal human capital is a key initiative. It enriches the legal industry by creating value for clients and opportunities for legal professionals.
Joan is recognized for her leadership and transformational management. She has been consistently named in the Top 100 Most Influential Executives in Staffing by Staffing Industry Analysts and has received the Gold Stevie Award in the Executive of the Year – Business Services category. Joan is a featured industry speaker and regular contributor to industry publications. She is a member of the Vistage CEO Group 3361. Joan’s approach to leadership is best defined by something she says often: “As a leader, understanding that it is not about you, but about the mutual alignment of all parties is the only path to true success; identifying mutuality is key.”
Creating Value for Clients
Hire Counsel serves the entire legal community, whether they are the organizations that utilize its legal staffing solutions or the legal professionals they employ as contract attorneys. Therefore, everyone in the legal ecosystem is a “client.”
Hire Counsel’s ability to deliver measurable results with speed, quality, flexibility, and repeatability sets it apart from its competitors. They consistently build teams of legal professionals and get them ready to work 30% faster than the competition. In an industry where time is money, Hire Counsel’s speed is a key advantage for their clients. It is no surprise that, of Hire Counsel’s repeat clients, 73% have partnered with them on three or more engagements.
Hire Counsel’s proprietary candidate database of highly vetted legal professionals has been developed over the past 30+ years and continues to grow. Of these contractors, about 2,800 are enrolled in their ESOP and thousands choose to work with them on multiple projects. In a tight staffing market, Hire Counsel successfully attracts and retains high quality legal talent.
As legal talent is no longer centralized in major metropolitan cities, Hire Counsel’s deep national footprint allows them to source exceptional legal talent and create job opportunities in any location. With dedicated document review centers strategically located across the US, their Project Management and Workforce Management teams provide clients with uninterrupted “sunrise-to-sunset” service. Furthermore, they have the ability to launch pop-up facilities anywhere.
By intentionally remaining technology and vendor agnostic, Hire Counsel can work seamlessly with all platforms. Through strategic partnerships that they have developed with various eDiscovery vendors and channel partners over time, Hire Counsel is able to deliver results that drive clients’ objectives and provide utmost flexibility to their clients. “Hire Counsel does not prescribe one-size-fits-all solutions,” Joan asserts.
Responding to Challenges Swiftly and Strategically
The challenges that exist in today’s legal industry are reflective of all industries. For every business, there is the persistent need to improve processes, skills, and cost structures in order to deliver a superior solution. Furthermore, the impact of consolidation and technology will likely continue. These challenges are further compounded by the uber-competitiveness of the industry and the incredible speed at which it changes.
Hire Counsel responds swiftly and strategically to change by prioritizing the need for more customized client engagement and mobilizing its operational structure. In addition, Hire Counsel measures all aspects of the business model for the client, including production rates, on-time delivery rates, attendance statistics, and many more. By quantifying human capital data, Hire Counsel helps their clients drive results, instead of waiting for them. This gives Hire Counsel’s clients the advantage of added speed and quality in the human capital space.
Leveraging the Strengths of Human Capital and Technology
Technology has enhanced the document review process by allowing larger volumes of data to be analyzed and certain laborious tasks to be eliminated. However, technology is a tool that must be harnessed, especially when it is leveraged in legal work. The human is more reliable than technology in its ability to exercise ethics, make judgment calls, and apply complex logic to make important decisions. Therefore, the increased use of technology has propelled the role of human capital in legal services.
Given the high importance of the human element in document review, the role of the contract legal professional is not only elevated, but critical. It can no longer be considered a temporary job or career stepping stone. Rather, it is an invaluable part of the legal profession. Contract legal work is also an excellent way for legal professionals to utilize their skills, make an impact, and step onto a career path that can lead to more opportunities. By leveraging the strengths of both artificial intelligence and human capital, HCMC Legal is able to further drive ROI for their clients and create opportunities for their contract workforce.
Redefining the Culture of Contract Legal Work
Hire Counsel is actively redefining the culture of contract legal work by focusing on continuing education, ownership, and engagement. Today, HCMC Legal remains the only 100% employee owned company in the legal staffing industry, offering ownership opportunities to all core and contract staff. The company is among few in the industry that sponsors ongoing education for contract employees. They provide tuition support for ACEDS courses, onsite eDiscovery bootcamp training sessions and CEDS certification for all Project Managers.
Creating a positive work environment helps their contract legal professionals achieve long-term success and satisfaction, which is then reflected in their commitment to working with Hire Counsel and delivering a quality work product for their clients. The concept of mutuality, one that is recurring in Hire Counsel’s approach to business, has helped them remain the industry leader.
Forecasting the Future
The company’s success is widely recognized by the legal and staffing industry today. In 2018 alone, they received the award for Best Legal Staffing Provider – USA (CV Magazine) and were named among the Best of Legal Recruiters (Corporate Counsel), Best Professional Recruiting Firms (Forbes), and Best Executive Recruiting Firms (Forbes). The company is consistently ranked among the Largest Legal Staffing Firms in the US (2017 and 2018) by Staffing Industry Analysts.
Hire Counsel sees its future self as the unequivocal leader in legal talent solutions and managed document review services, and they are well on their way. Hire Counsel is well-recognized in the legal industry for its ability to customize legal solutions, provide creative pricing models, and accommodate projects of varying sizes, scopes, and locations. As a pioneer in the industry, they plan to continue exploring unchartered markets with underutilized legal talent and rich resources for legal services