The common impression of a legal directory is an independent company that publishes information on their own private platform.
But increasingly we’re seeing products and services that serve the same purpose as a directory – to identify a suitable lawyer or law firm – but are integrated into an existing business.
The latest of these is a new service from the multinational General Electric called GE Select Connect that was developed to help the company’s 800 in-house lawyers search for preferred outside counsel.
As well as searching for private practice lawyers with specific expertise, GE Select Connect has a ratings facility.
GE lawyers can grade outside counsel with three options: a smiley face, neutral face or sad face, depending on how they liked the service.
The system also offers the GE legal team information on hourly rates and pricing arrangements for about 200 law firms.
Welcome to the new legal marketplace where legal providers vie for work in a digitized marketplace and where buyers can comparative shop as never before.”
GE’s move follows an innovation by the law firm Dentons – via its NextLaw Labs start-up platform – which launched a new site in 2016 to connect lawyers and drive referral business.
As law firms and companies grow ever larger, I wonder if we are seeing a trend here: a desire to take control by developing their own bespoke in-house legal directories which are tailored to their needs.