By Adam Ramirez

March 23, 2011

Look around at your fellow GCs. There may be more former law firm partners in your midst this year.Experienced law firm partners are increasingly interviewing at big corporations, a New York legal consulting firm’s survey reports. Firm partners with significant experience were in particularly high demand last year.

Interviews of senior level lawyers spiked by nearly 20% between January 2010 and January 2011. Eolis International Group announced these findings in its January 2011 National Survey of Attorney Hiring Trends in Corporations.

Respondents cited a growing need for sophisticated expertise and administrative savvy in managing outside counsel relationships, according to the Eolis International Group press release. Some 40% of companies interviewing lawyers with ten or more years of law firm experience said they need sophisticated workers to streamline work farmed out to firms.

This jump wasn’t just confined to in-house positions, though. Thirty-eight percent of companies surveyed reported considering experienced attorneys for a wide range of positions, including quasi-legal and business roles.

“This news is especially encouraging for law firm partners who prefer who seek management positions as well as those who prefer substantive legal work delivered to them rather than responsibility for drumming up business,” Eolis CEO Wendeen Eolis said in the press release.

Some think the number should be even higher.

“I’m actually surprised the number is only 20 percent. In many people’s minds, the recession is coming to an end,” Nicky Mukerji, of Legalbill, told Corporate Counsel. As corporations are hiring, in-house legal departments “are trying to employ more professional and experienced lawyers who have been on the other side–who understand private practice.”