Sunday, December 20, 2015


Harrison Barnes from Los Angeles Office Managing Director, posts on BCGSearch HERE
"How the “Invisible Hand” Operates in Law Firm Employment Decisions: The Top 12 Most Important Factors Firms Consider When Hiring (and Firing) Attorneys"
"To my amazement, I have even read various books and papers about this. None of this really matters. The qualities that law firms and their clients are looking for in attorneys are driven by the “invisible hand” and this market-driven phenomenon controls who succeeds and who fails.
For the most part, law firms hire attorneys based on their attempts to maximize their own self-interest and what is most likely to make their groups survive and grow. Similarly, for the most part, attorneys accept jobs based on their own self-interest and on what is most likely to benefit them. The invisible hand is thus operating in law firm hiring decisions and the result is that the attorneys who get hired are the attorneys who are the most motivated, qualified and suitable to the profession.”
No explanation of what the ‘invisible hand” is or what people mean who quote it. Harrison Barnes seems to believe in individuals maximising their self interest, as if in doing so they seamlessly maximise the self interest of the firms they join, as if individual self interestss somehow automatically maximise the self interest of the group.
What about where individual self interests conflicts with other partner’s self-interest? And what is the meaning and role of an invisible hand? If its invisible how do you know its operating? If results determine if the IH is working (and under whose direction)? If it is by results after the fact how do you protect the group from wayward individuals who compromise the integrity of the grou and, as important, how does the group protect itself from reputational damage?
That “market-driven phenomenon controls who succeeds and who fails” is not encouraging for hiring individuals seeking employment; they may read the “market" drivers wrong and behave accordingly, taking personal goals to extremes and cause reputational damage to other partners. 

Harrison Barnes as gatekeeper selects according to his norms of desirable conduct, not by the influence of a supposed inanimate invisible hand. If he recruits someone who turns out to be lemon, his defence to the Partners is that it wasn't his fault at all. It was the invisible hand's!


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