Chief legal officers have the critical role of navigating complex and ever-changing compliance and legal issues on a daily basis. Thus, finding the right fit for such an important position is worth delegating to the experts: executive search firms. What exactly are executive search firms? Hired by companies to fill open positions, they’re professionals who recruit top talent using their industry network and expertise. The following is a list of the top 5 executive search firms for Chief Legal Officer in the U.S. 

1. Y Scouts

 Y Scouts is dedicated to transforming how people and organizations connect to work that matters. They emphasize the value of pure talent while incorporating core values such as gratitude, education, and teamwork. The firm is committed to creating partnerships based on real, human connections that will benefit both client and candidate. Creating organizational solutions to help attract and select the best leaders is what Y Scouts does best. Their clients range from family-owned and multi-generational businesses to Fortune 500 multi-billion dollar organizations.

There was a time when it was only about the resume when searching for a leader. Y Scouts has literally redefined executive recruiting to assure we have the right leader driving the bus.

—Ann Rhoades, Founder/CEO, People Ink & Former Chief People Officer, Southwest Airlines

Y Scouts has devoted their efforts to connecting 10 million candidates to satisfying and meaningful employment in the next five years, focusing on purpose-alignment and performance-proven leadership. 

2. Major, Lindsey & Africa

Started in San Francisco by Bob Major in 1982, Major, Lindsey & Africa now boasts clients that span the globe. Focused on serving the legal market since its inception, the firm is highly recognized because of its experience and expertise in the niche.

I recognize that executive search is about more than finding candidates who are interested in a role; it’s about finding candidates who are interested and qualified. I partner with my clients and work collaboratively to understand their unique needs and culture in order to find the right ‘fit’ for both my candidates and clients.

— Amanda K. Brady, Major, Lindsey & Africa

3. Allen Austin

While Allen Austin is well-versed in the legal market, it also serves a wide range of clients. Not a believer of the cookie-cutter approach, the firm takes pride in delivering personalized and customized solutions. 

Most service providers offer a menu of product solutions and the feeling is much like buying a major appliance, which may or may not satisfy. The Allen Austin experience is an enjoyable, interactive, educational and lasting relationship with a partner who helps identify and solve the right problems. You’ll do a little more work on the front end but the results will be phenomenal. Allen Austin could very well be the next great global firm. Engaging an Allen Austin partner in a half day needs assessment could be your fastest route to dramatically improved top and bottom line performance.

— Don Benson, CHR Solutions

True to its “doing it better” mantra, Allen Austin developed a proprietary Retained Search Services Foresight™ process, an innovative tool that helps drive impressive numbers for the firm: a 97% offer acceptance rate and 92% two-year retention rate. 

4. Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry’s Legal Center of Expertise is focused on providing professional, top-rated general counsel and chief compliance officers, as well as other legal specialists.

We build organizational structures, roles, and responsibilities to help onboard, develop, and retain exceptional professionals and teams. And we develop strategies that support them as they protect their organizations from challenge, and seize the opportunities presented by today’s evolving economy.

— Legal Services, Korn Ferry

Finding the right person for the job is crucial to the success of an organization, and that is Korn Ferry’s goal. They strive to match superior leadership with corresponding reward for a good fit that will benefit both parties and drive results.

5. Boyden

By working closely with law firms and in-house legal teams, Boyden has successfully placed senior legal talents, such as Chief Legal Officers, Litigation Attorneys, and Corporate Attorneys.

We were positively surprised by their professionalism during all the stages, we have gone through – listing the potential targets, approaching them, giving feedback to us, not getting disappointed by the rejects – from candidates or from our side. We appreciate the understanding Boyden consultants showed during the whole process, their patience, and at the same time strive to complete the task successfully.

— Penka Barzakova, Reader’s Digest Bulgaria

Since its establishment in Bronxville, New York, in 1946, Boyden has been connecting the right candidates to the right companies across the globe. The firm prides itself on building personal relationships with clients to learn about their individual needs. They also focus on continued expansion of their own proficiency from local to global matters.


Reputable executive search firms are crucial partners in recruiting the right Chief Legal Officer for a company or practice. Harnessing their resources, experience, and expertise makes the task of filling this critical position much less daunting.

Y Scouts is a purpose-based, performance-proven leadership search and development firm focused on transforming how people and organizations connect to work that matters. When you’re ready to hire a new leader, Contact Y Scouts. If you are looking for your next leadership role within a purpose-driven, performance-focused organization, please join the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

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What to look for in a clo

What to Look For in a CLO

“Wow! You guys hit a home run. Really like the candidates from Y Scouts.” – Adam Goodman, President of Goodmans Interior Structures

“If you need a passionate leader, the approach Y Scouts takes will attract the right talent.” – Kevin Fallon McCarthy, McCarthy Law

“The approach Y Scouts took provided us with unique candidates that fit with our culture.” – Matt Altman, Co-Founder & Principal of Sportiqe Apparel