Make it rain: It’s who you know and how you work it

A poor referral source can have personal consequences. The person at the firm, may not be that well regarded. The recommendation may not be taken very seriously at all.

Have you ever asked your good friend to put in a good word for you? “You work with the Partner, don’t you? Would you mind passing along my resume?” Your friend may have good intentions, however this may not be the best for your career.

Tell me who you know, how you know them. When the time comes, we’ll use your internal connections to your best advantage.” — Shari Davidson President On Balance Search legal recruit services.

A poor referral source can have personal consequences. The person at the firm, may not be that well regarded. “You don’t really know. The recommendation may not be taken very seriously at all.”— Shari Davidson.

  • Perception versus reality, how do you know if your friend is actually well regarded within their firm?
  • Do you have all the facts about your friend?
  • Are you really going to put your reputation on the line?
  • Are you 100% sure, your friend is well aligned with the firm?
  • Just because they are a friend, doesn’t mean you know anything about their professional skill set. Maybe you really don’t want their recommendation?

Play it safe. Here are the several reasons you do not want to ask for a referral:

  1. Even with the best intentions, there is no guarantee your friend will pass along your resume along, or follow up with their current employer.
  2. What if your friend feels threatened by you? Truth of the matter is, they may not even pass your resume along. They may sabotage your submittal in subtle ways.
  3. Don’t put your friends in an awkward situation. Don’t ask them to put in a good word for you or bring your resume to their boss. This is totally uncomfortable for both of you. This makes you look desperate. When you don’t get the call, you’re going to question your friendship.
  4. Is your friend in good standing at the firm? If you don’t know you may be doing more harm than good. What if your friend is on the way out? Your resume will likely end up in the trash.
  5. Is your friend the best representative to negotiate terms for hire? You don’t talk about money with friends. Why would you ask them to negotiate for you? No way, you’ve got to be kidding me.
  6. Consider the cost to your friendship!

The best recruiters understand what firms are looking for. The best recruiters navigate the labyrinth of complex hiring process, policies and procedures. The good ones are expert negotiators. They know how to use their extensive network within and outside the firm to leverage the best terms. That are right for you. A good recruiter will identify the right position and law firm whose culture is best aligned with your career goals.

Remember, most of the best career opportunities are never posted. Work with a top legal recruiter, they will help you strategize your next career move. And when it is appropriate to use your friends name in landing the prefect position.

There are also risks for you to recommend a friend. Do you really want to refer your friend?

About On Balance Search
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises experienced attorneys at every stage of their career to take them to the next level. From making the lateral partner move to succession planning.

Shari takes a proactive approach to advising law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. On Balance Search identifies opportunities that exist today, not down the road.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at

Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader. Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media and any legal restrictions regarding the law.