When lawyers strike out on their own after leaving large law firms, they risk losing a vast network of referral business. Now one such lawyer who became a solo practitioner has created a network that looks to bridge that gap and avail clients to the services of those in the Big Law diaspora.
Andrew Dick, a former associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Morrison & Foerster and the founder of his own transactional boutique, has launched Select Counsel, a national network composed of more than 300 lawyers in over 35 cities across all practice areas.
The online platform, which officially launched Tuesday, allows clients to search through a curated network of independent boutiques across the country, with each possessing the same pedigree of lawyers as that of a larger firm.
“Clients can tap into this network that has a lot of similarities to a big firm in terms of caliber of attorney, in terms of geographic reach and in terms of practice area breadth,” Dick said. “Those are the reasons that you go to a big firm, because they have all those things.”
The idea for creating this network came about after Dick left Morrison & Foerster in 2013 and embarked on his own solo endeavor, the Headlands Law Group, a boutique specializing in corporate and venture capital work based just north of San Francisco in Larkspur, California. He learned that clients frequently wanted to tap into a network of high-end, small firms, but found that they were often too hard to find.
“It’s very hard to find sort of the high-end, small practice unless you get a referral, some kind of recommendation [or] some kind of word-of-mouth referral,” Dick said. “So it occurred to me that what we ought to do to solve that is essentially go out there and aggregate all of these really top-tier practices with lawyers who come from the big firms [and] get us all on one common platform where you solve the pain point of accessing.”
For nearly nine months, Dick has assiduously been compiling a list that now includes more than 300 former Big Law attorneys that collectively have an average of 20 years’ experience practicing law and 10 years working at Am Law 200 firms in cities throughout the United States.
“Whether you need a real estate lawyer in Atlanta, an IP licensing attorney in San Francisco or an employment issue in Chicago, [we] really have just about all bases covered,” Dick said.
In order to be featured on the network, potential lawyers must have experience working at large law firms, as well as excellent accompanying credentials, said Dick, who added that he anticipates building out Select Counsel’s network in smaller cities and providing an international component as well.
Attorneys must also complete a 30-minute interview with Dick and pay an annual fee of $950 to be featured on the site, he noted. In addition, Select Counsel also offers various webinars and in-person networking events to its lawyers in an attempt to mirror the resources that they were often used to at their former firms, Dick said.
There is no cost to potential clients, however, looking to search and hire lawyers through Select Counsel’s website, Dick said. Select Counsel also offers a “Select Concierge” service for clients that search through the network’s database and select attorneys best suited for their needs.
All of these services approximate more or less the services and resources found within Big Law, said Dick, who is unrelated to actor and comedian Andy Dick or the late science fiction writer Philip K. Dick.
“A small practice does what it does in its limited geographic range, and if you need something else, you have to go find another firm that does what you need,” Dick said. “We sort of overcome that and you can essentially get that same kind of full-service access to great lawyers through a boutique firm model, which is so much more cost-effective and efficient.”