“When our outside lawyers gain greater exposure to Morgan Stanley attorneys and business professionals, and obtain
deeper knowledge of our businesses and practice areas, we all
reap the benefits,” says Eric Grossman, the bank’s executive
vice president and chief legal officer.
Morgan Stanley’s program brought in two waves of
secondees, the first from January through June and the second
from July through December, and proved to be a “
tremendous success,” Grossman says.
“One pro of a secondment is that we know that we are get-
ting law firm stars—associates who are smart, eager to learn
and enthusiastic,” he says, noting that “it would be terrible
business practice for a firm to send a subpar or average associ-
ate to work in-house at a client.”
Wayne Spillett, head of legal and commercial operations
for Vodafone Group in London, advises law firms to “think
carefully about the right personality fit, as secondees that
really chime well with an organization can fly when given the
At Morgan Stanley, where secondees are embedded in
one of the firm’s legal and compliance division practice areas,
including litigation and intellectual property law, a law firm’s
willingness to participate in the program is a consideration
when the bank hires outside counsel, Grossman says. But he
doesn’t view it as a one-way street.
“We hope that firms will be able to use access to our secondment program as a selling point in their own recruitment
and retention programs,” he says.
THE RESOURCE GAP
Global on-demand legal services company Axiom has seen
interest in secondments spike in recent years, according to
David Pierce, executive vice president of sales for the New
“It’s hard for general counsel and law department managers
to constantly match resources and work requirements,” he says.
That resource-workload gap was apparent during the
lead-up to the implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, when Axiom saw a boom
in demand for secondees, Pierce says. Companies wanted to
bring GDPR experts in-house, get up to speed on the new
regulations and then send the experts on their way.
“It’s a really good example of the certain kind of bulge
of work that’s temporal and comes with the rollout of a new
regulation where you need a certain skill set that you probably
won’t need for a period of years,” Pierce says.