The Kiss of Death Question: For Lawyers

The Kiss of Death Question: Tell me about yourself

The Kiss of Death Question: For Lawyers

Definitely do not say these four answers while vying for a senior executive position.

The First.
You’ll hear this at almost every interview you go to in your life. It should be an easy question. Are you sure? Maybe you haven’t interviewed in a while. It’s more of a statement than a question, though.

Question/Statement: Tell me about yourself.

Do not answer: Well, after work, I go home and I play with my five cats until sundown.

Nothing against cats, but the interview does not want to hear about your conglomerate of cats and cat toys.

The Second.
This is another pretty popular question.  A skilled recruiter is going to ask this one for sure.

Question: What is your biggest weakness?

Do not answer: Pecan pie. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine.

Although humor can be a good way to show you’re a good person to have in the office, the recruiter does not care about your eating habits, let alone your cats.

The Third.
This question is bound to come up, so make sure you know your stuff front and back. Like most other interview questions it is less about what you really do and more about what you can bring to the table.

Question: What can you tell me about your past experience at so and so?

Do not answer: I really liked my job at so and so, but the people were just so boring and the boss came in with crocs on every day.

You may not have liked the people that you worked with, but your boss’s fashion sense is definitely not a professional reason for your departure.

The Fourth.
The last question is not unlike the others, but may take a little bit more thought and research into the industry, the company, and your own experience to find the right answer.

Question: What kind of salary are you looking for?

Do not answer: Whatever will help me keep up my mysterious lifestyle.

Giving a vague answer is often times a good response to this question but certainly not this one.

These answers may seem silly, but the questions are no joke.  In order to be successful at any job interview you need to be able to formulate the correct answers to these and many other questions.

Give us a call at 516.731.3400 and we’ll coach you on the right responses to these questions. Fill out our brief questionnaire and we’ll get started.

About On Balance Search Consultants
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. We pride ourselves in understanding our clients and candidate’s needs, On Balance has an outstanding track record placing strong candidates with high retention rates.

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, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Photo Credit

Are You A Leader or A Follower?

Are You A Leader or A Follower?

Are You A Leader or A Follower?

Top Interview Questions from a Legal Recruiter. 

What makes you the best for the job? A list of the top 10 not only the frequent, but also the toughest questions asked in a legal recruiting interview.

It is always important to know what questions you may be asked in an interview, but it is often times best to know yourself as well. Knowing what makes you the best fit for any law firm increases your chances of finding the right fit. Below are the ten toughest and most thoughtful questions to keep in mind while vying for a spot for partner and how to your answers are interpreted.

1. Are you a leader or a follower?
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” —John Quincy Adams

Now, be careful, don’t jump jump the gun. There are lots of generals out there, not too many soldiers to win the day. Carefully craft you response demonstrating how critical being a team player is to any successful firm from your leadership that proved necessary to overcome and win the case.

2. How have you changed in the last five years?

This is where the “knowing yourself” part comes in. This can be thought of more as a “how have you improved?” question. For instance, perhaps you lost a case. There is no shame in admitting a loss. It won’t harm you, rather, if you can bend the loss into a situation that you learned from, making you a better lawyer or legal worker, speak bounds about it.

3. Tell me about a time when you felt that you dealt with a situation inadequately, and how has that changed how you would approach the same situation?

This is a tough one, who can honestly say they have won every case? Present your evidence to the jury, what was brought up during discovery. Evidence was not admitted, testimonies were found not credible. It’s more about how the outcome changed you and what drives you as a person. Articulate your philosophical and fundamental over reaching principals that you bring to the table.

4. If offered the position, how long do you plan to stay at this firm?

Why should I hire you? Tell me why you want to work here? Why this firm is a perfect fit for me. Do your homework and prove to me that feel this firm is where you want to be, that this is you new home and you’re in for better or worse.

5. If you did not have to work what would you do?

How you spend your time speaks volumes about what type of person you are. Be honest, it’s all about how you approach your day at the golf course. What you do on the course reveals what kind of person you are, what drives you and what’s important to you. Increase your value proposition here.

6. What do you think about the principle of Legal Aid? Should clients have to pay for services they use in all circumstances?

Does the firm do any pro bono work? Why not? Isn’t corporate social responsibility the new norm? Tell me a story about how you changed someone’s life, how you made a difference and how the firm profited from your efforts.

7. What are the three main attributes for a successful partner?

What are your strengths, what has got you to where you are today. Perhaps it’s your ability to pick a jury well. Settling out of court, or how you treat your clients and associates. That winning way that has served you so well. Speak on what you know and how it has helped you succeed.

8. Would you be willing to branch out into any other area of law, if the firm priorities changed?

What this question is getting at is how you adapt to change. Tell me about how you turned a crisis into an opportunity. Offer up success stories where you worked with legal specialists outside of your area of law. Give me something that makes me feel confident that you always get the job done, whatever it takes.

9. In your view, what are the major problems/opportunities facing the legal industry?

Nobody likes a downer, think about challenges the legal profession is up against. Embrace the hard realities of your industry, then tell me how you turned these obstacles into opportunities.

10. What sort of activities are you interested in outside of work?

In other words, tell me about who you are and what type of a person are you? 

  • Shared meals: What does this say about you? Are you selfish or just social?
  • Volunteering: Why is this cause important to you?
  • Physical fitness? Are you more relaxed at work? Does being healthy translate into a better lawyer?

Prepare for unexpected questions knowing full well that there is going to be a question you never hear of before. Don’t just react, take a moment to compose your response. Buy yourself some time, ask a few questions to formulate your answer. Don’t compromise, let’s find you a firm that shares your values and where you will excel.

Click here for a complete list of the top 50 interview questions.

 

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com.  Opt in for tips and updates from On Balance Search consultants.

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, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

 

Photo Cred.

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Reputation Is Everything

You are NOT a team player, you are disruptive and people find that you have a toxic influence on the firm.   

Your colleagues say tell me your one of the top performers at the firm. They also tell me you are a brilliant jerk. Most attest that you are highly capable, productive and in the same breath they say you are difficult to work with. They say you are an arrogant, a prima donna and they wish they could work for someone else.

They resent the way you deal with your clients, that you always need to have the last word. You are loud, and abusive and take your frustrations out on the staff. You are not a team player and your attitude is infecting the law firm’s reputation.

Do the ends justify the means?
Machiavelli, “Thus when fortune turns against them, you will be prepared to resist it. A man who neglects what is actually done for what should be done moves toward self-destruction rather than self-preservation.” Being a successful attorney is difficult, agreed. Its cut throat, it’s highly competitive and it’s adversarial. You’re a fighter, a winner and a top litigator, but at the end of the day your reputation is truly all you got. Means and ends of course are intimately related. The end determines the array of relevant means. But that is not the end of the story. Consider the collateral damage to your firm’s reputation:

  • Revolving door. From the legal secretaries, to the associates, all the way to the top, the best and the brightest partners will begin to leave the firm.
  • Lost business. A law firm with a bad reputation simply won’t get referrals.
  • Recruiting. No one is going to want to work at a firm that has a poor reputation.
  • How you are perceived in the industry. Your professionalism needs to be at the highest standards at the firm, in the courtroom and when you are out socially.

Play nice.
“I play nice, it’s not always easy but that’s how I’ve forged deep lasting connections with law firms and attorneys over the years. Niceness, however, does not need to mean weakness. You’ve got to be strong to be nice. I’m also known for being tough.” – Shari Davidson, President On Balance Search Consultants. 

Nice people play well with others. Nice people genuinely care about others, listen to their needs, and instinctively want to meet those needs, which, in turn, forms the foundation of trust for successful business relationships.

“I’m constantly opening doors, my advice significantly benefits my candidate’s. I cannot begin to tell how many opportunities come my way. Why? Because I never deceive or mislead my clients. I’m committed to my clients’ success. It’s about respect. My clients trust my judgement, my integrity.” – Shari Davidson. 

About On Balance Search Consultants
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. We pride ourselves in understanding our clients and candidate’s needs, On Balance has an outstanding track record placing strong candidates with high retention rates.

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

 

Photo Cred. 

Source:
Kathryn Kerns, K. (August 13, 2015). Nice Women Win: Why Being Nice Is a Business Strength. Forbes.

Big Law: Wage Caps, the New Wage Gap

The New Wage Gap

Changing compensation, what you should consider?

Becoming an attorney takes years, thousands of dollars, and a lot of stress. Every one of your colleagues has gone through that struggle, passed the bar and are applying at the same firms that you are. But not everyone is equal. They didn’t attend the same universities or get the same grades in their classes, so should you be paid the same amount for your effort?

How should associates be compensated? Most of Big Law is paying associates in lockstep compensation. Some of the largest firms, including Cravath, Swain & Moore, have increased starting salaries at $180k in the first year and increasing to $350K in the eighth year. These salaries are solely based upon graduation year and do not take into account merit. This does not mean, however bonuses are not available based on hard work and success.

Cooley and Associates has begun to break away from the lockstep compensation model, compensating top talent lawyers competitively and exceeding the pay scales set from the lockstep model. Cooley and Associates, “success in our profession is wholly dependent upon attracting and retaining the best and brightest attorneys.”

It’s damn competitive out there and it’s not going to get any easier, and yet most millennials share a common belief that they must achieve balance in their personal and professional careers. And law firms are becoming more open to the fact that when attorneys take paid time off, “they really want to unplug,” said Lacy Durham, the chair of the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. In order to retain the best, firms are offering some perks like time off and a flexible work model in lieu of big bonuses.

In order to earn appropriate compensation, you will need to know if earning your salary based on a scale or merit based compensation will be better for you. Working with a reliable and knowledgeable legal recruiter will allow you to land a position at the firm that you both belong with and will compensate you appropriately to your knowledge and skill level.

About On Balance Search Consultants
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. We pride ourselves in understanding our clients and candidate’s needs, On Balance has an outstanding track record placing strong candidates with high retention rates.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Sources:

Lat, D. (2016, June 6). Breaking: NY To $180K!!! Cravath Raises Associate Base Salaries!!! Retrieved July 9, 2016, from http://abovethelaw.com/2016/06/breaking-ny-to-180k-cravath-raises-associate-base-salaries/?rf=1.

Lat, D. (2016, January 28). Associate Bonus Watch: ‘Very Satisfying’ Bonuses — Plus A Pay Scale Overhaul. Retrieved July 10, 2016, from http://abovethelaw.com/2016/01/associate-bonus-watch-very-satisfying-bonuses-plus-a-pay-scale-overhaul/?rf=1

Lockstep Compensation. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockstep_compensation.

Rubino, K. (June 18, 2016). Biglaw Firm Bumps Salary To Attract And Retain The ‘Best And Brightest Attorneys’. Above the Law.

Zaretsky, S. (2016, June 13). The Final Countdown: Which Firms Have Raised Salaries? Retrieved July 9, 2016, from http://abovethelaw.com/2016/06/salary-wars-scorecard-which-firms-have-announced-raises/?utm_campaign=ATL Bonus Alert

Wolf, A. (September 17, 2015). 4 Ways Millennials Are Changing BigLaw. Law360.

Photo Cred.

 

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Don’t lie to me.

If you NOT going to be transparent when making the lateral move, don’t bother.

This is the third installment in an ongoing series, Confessions of a Legal Recruiter, Shari Davidson – On Balance Search Consultants. 

Don’t Lie to Me.
Give yourself the best chance of landing a position you want. When several important issues come up that you did not disclose from the on-set, it’s a red flag. What other issues did you not come clean with? Your credibility is important, right? Don’t waste your time, or everyone else’s, be honest. Get it right. Good recruiters have all parties’ best interests covered. Let’s get off to a good start.

I can’t work with you.
You have sent your resume to practically every law firm in the area, big mistake. You’ve watered down your value in the marketplace. The perception is that there is something wrong with this candidate. Why did you send your resume for a position that you are not even qualified to be considered?

Why are you looking?
Never make the lateral move for more money. The best recruiters separate the wheat from the chaff, strategically aligning the interests of the candidate with the right firm.

Work with me.
Good recruiters have solid, strong relationships built over many years of protecting both the interests of the firms as well as the candidates placed. Shari Davidson, President — On Balance Search Consultants, “When working with a potential candidate I strategically align myself with the candidate to find a new home that matches the candidate’s goals. This could include a larger platform of practice areas, or geographic locations or even a better work environment. I continually keep in touch with my candidates to:

1. Help them grow their business;
2. Share trends in the legal profession;
3. Share professional networking opportunities and CLE programs.”

Integrity, credibility, honesty.
The best recruiters are on the pulse of what’s going on, head hunters are on the phone with 50 to 200 firms a week and are mixing it up with the movers and shakers who open doors. Find a well-regarded legal recruiter who has a solid reputation for protecting their candidates and firms.

 

About On Balance Search Consultants
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. We pride ourselves in understanding our clients and candidate’s needs, On Balance has an outstanding track record placing strong candidates with high retention rates.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Photo Cred.

Should I stay or should I go? The Pros and Cons of working for Big Law

Should I stay or should I go? The Pros and Cons of working for Big Law

SOLOPRENEUR
Who doesn’t like to be their own boss? When you work for yourself you make all the rules,you gotta love that. As a small law firm there aren’t layers and layers of management to approve changes. Small firms usually have a good work-life balance which means their office has a more relaxed atmosphere.

Being the boss is a twenty-four / seven  365 days a year job. Health insurance, self-employment tax, and income tax will eat you alive. You become a slave to your business, you wear all the hats.  Sure you can outsource some of the work, but if anything goes wrong, you own it.  Being a small firm means you have a limited budget, as such most of the administrative work and research is done by you.

Then there is malpractice, there is no safety net.

BIG LAW
Leverage the expansive network a big law firm offers. Keep your client’s dealings within the firm, often aspects of a case may require specialized legal expertise. Big firms retain specialists for that very reason.

Big firm’s today don’t focus on training or mentoring, it’s all about billable hours. All things being equal, there is ample opportunity to align yourself with colleagues who will help make you a better lawyer.

SOLO or PARTNER
Either track demands hours and hours of your time, it’s stressful. Big firms do offer paid vacation. Face it, if you’re not bringing in new business you can’t afford to take the time off anyway. Lawyers at the larger firms earn a respectable salary, and with that wage are high expectations. Measure up or you’re out the door.

Just because you’re billing hours means you’re safe, when you work for yourself or for a large firm, it can get nasty out there. Often your boss will take credit for your work. Solopreneurs face large firms trying to lure away your biggest account that keeps your boutique firm afloat.

Working for a big law means you report to several partners, it’s often difficult to discern the every changing, policies and procedures. Every boss wants things done a certain way, it can get damn confusing. Those who discern the bull from the business thrive, the world is your oyster.

Don’t get comfortable, it’s a highly competitive, demanding field.

About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. We pride ourselves in understanding our clients and candidate’s needs, On Balance has an outstanding track record placing strong candidates with high retention rates.

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website athttps://www.onbalancesearch.com

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, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Source:

Tobak, S. (August 19, 2014). 10 Pitfalls of Being Your Own Boss. Self-Employment, Entrepreneur.

MacMillan, K. (February 25, 2014). A Lawyer’s Guide to Working for Small vs. Large Law Firms – 36 Tips. R. Johnson Legal Recruitment.

Photo Cred. 

Women Making the Lateral Partner Move

Women Making the Lateral Partner Move

Women Making The Lateral Move

Making a lateral move is a big decision, it’s important for any one making the career more does it for the right reasons. Women, specially need to consider all the options before moving forward.  Men still dominate lateral equity partners within law firms.  If you are overlooked for partner, you may think about taking your portfolio of business down the street to another firm.

“It’s scary, it’s messy, and it’s a process. You’ve got to prepare, really get serious and objective about what you bring to the table. It’s the only way to ensure you find a firm that’s right for you,” Shari Davidson, President, On Balance Search Consultants.

Lateral Partner Process

  • If you are a partner at current firm. Read your agreement now.
  • Align yourself with a reputable recruiter.
  • Have a clear idea what the next career move will be and why.

For example:
Your next firm must have a robust marketing group to support you;
Offices located through-out the U.S. to service your clients;
A culture that allows you to be home for your children;
Or have specialized practice areas that will service your clients etc.

  • Research firms that are a good fit, your specialized skill-set must align with the firms strategic goals.
  • Make sure you have a current CV, Business plan and Representative Matters available.
  • Make sure you have accurate billing information for the past (3) three years (originations, billings, hourly rates, hours billed, realization rates, etc.).
  • Carefully have your recruiter query the interest level without releasing prospective lateral name or firm. If there is mutual interest. Set up meetings and keep the conversations going.
  • Once the above is done…allow the recruiter do their magic. A recruiter should be able to help you manage the process.  Setting up meetings, prepping and debriefing on each meeting, streamlining any materials – such as LPQ, compensation discussion and offer, prepping for resignation and most importantly be a sounding board for all concerns.

You may have to relocate, but thankfully there are some great law firms for women to work for. Here are some of the best firms for women to work for:

  1. Adelson Testan
  2. Fragomen Del Rey
  3. Fredrikson & Byron
  4. Hanson Bridgett
  5. Lewis Brisbois
  6. Pomerantz
  7. Cohen Milstein
  8. Best Best
  9. Ford & Harrison
  10. Shipman & Goodwin
  11. Verrill Dana
  12. Quarles & Brady
  13. Jackson Lewis
  14. Kutak Rock
  15. SmithAmundsen
  16. Nilan Johnson
  17. Ogletree Deakins
  18. Atkinson Andelson
  19. Wilson Elser
  20. Conrad O’Brien
  21. Shook Hardy
  22. Fennemore Craig
  23. McDermott Will
  24. Thacker Martinsek
  25. Bowman and Brooke

Know the early warning signs, if your firm starts laying staff off or there is an increase in attrition, it may be time to start looking. Making a lateral move will have impact your career, resist the initial temptation to make a move based solely on compensation. Consider all the factors, then don’t be shy, make it happen.

About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. We pride ourselves in understanding our clients and candidate’s needs, On Balance has an outstanding track record placing strong candidates with high retention rates.

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website athttps://www.onbalancesearch.com

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, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

 

Sources:

Zaretsky, S. (February 27, 2014).  New Study Reveals Women Earn Much More Than Men In Biglaw (Just Kidding!). Above the Law.
Simpson, J. (April 19, 2015). The 100 Best Law Firms For Female Attorneys. Law360.
Deanarms. (June 9, 2015). Law Firms and Women Partners: Keeping Your Eye on the Prize. DailyKos.com.
Retrieved on May 11, 2016 from Attorney Search Group.com/Lateral Partner Process.

Photo Cred. 

Know When to Go Before Your Law Firm Forces You Out

When You Are Being Forced Out Of The Firm

Know When to Go Before Your Law Firm Forces You Out

Lawyers are let go for their inability to develop and cultivate new clients and sustain a book of business. Three of every four partners who have been pushed out reported hearing about their performance problems for the first time when asked to leave (ALM Legal Intelligence, November 2013). ”Firm’s business priorities change, if your firm is moving away from your technical specialty, that’s a wake-up call and you had better start looking,” Shari Davidson, On Balance Search Consultants. Most law firms don’t provide coaching and training to help transition partners who are no longer relevant at the firm.

The legal business profit structure is changing, law firms no longer need nor can afford a large staff as billable hours for clients for discovery have been absorbed by technology.  Advanced software programs now save firms time and expenses to perform the time consuming work of research for case discovery and evidence. Leaner, cost-conscious law firms now outsource many routine base-level services to cheaper contractors outside the U.S.   

Lateral partner hiring, sometimes seen as “buying a book of business”, is one way firms are strengthening their balance sheets. on the rise. Equity and non-equity partners alike who underperform or are no longer aligned with the core business plan are being shown the door without warning.

Churning out long-term partners and bringing in lateral hires creates resentment among the firm’s staff, sapping morale often scaring off legal talent. To attract talent, law firms need and must maintain internal morale. “You can’t bring in a new hired gun who after a short time is a disappointment. The best legal recruiters work very hard to source the right candidates who are a good fit for the firm. Lateral partners must be able to bring a book of business, but that not enough. Candidates must be carefully screened to ensure their skill-set is structurally aligned with the firm’s strategic initiatives and company culture ensuring they’ll thrive and be there for the long-term,” Shari Davidson.

Start developing your personal network, that is where you’ll source new business or at the very least find your next job. A drop in production may come for no apparent reason, don’t make excuses for a lack of performance. Plan your next move, consider that nearly a third of exiting partners source their new assignment with a head-hunter (ALM Legal Intelligence, November 2013).

About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. We pride ourselves in understanding our clients and candidate’s needs, On Balance has an outstanding track record placing strong candidates with high retention rates.

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Sources:

ALM Legal Intelligence. (November 2013). Up or Out: When Partners Have to Go. Retrieved on April 30, 2016 from http://www.almlegalintel.com/rptTemp/2013_SJL_Lateral_Transitioning.pdf.

The Economist. (May 5th 2011) A less gilded future. Retrieved on April 30, 2016 from http://www.economist.com/node/18651114.

Photo Cred.

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Why Talent Firms are Worth It

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Why Talent Firms are Worth It

This the second installment in an ongoing series from On Balance Search Consultants.

Why Work with a Legal Recruiter? 

The ability to attract, extract and deliver talent is – and always will be a high touch recruiter. No in-house staff recruiter or data algorithm will ever replace a head hunter. Sourcing the best lawyers can be challenging, the top candidates have options, opinions and time constraints.

Speed. Time is money. No one knows the employment marketplace better than a good head hunter/recruiter. The placement process takes time. The recruiter’s fee is more than off-set from the drain on billable hours at the firm. The best legal recruiters leverage connections and scan social media channels to source the top talent efficiently. 

Experience. Most recruiting firms work with many candidates at different levels, the vetting is extensive and ongoing throughout the process “During discovery we pull the Band-Aid off and get to the good, the bad and the ugly. All things being equal, we protect all parties, strategically considering how the firm’s services best compliment the skills the candidates bring to the table”, Shari Davidson, On Balance Search Consultants. 

The sum of the whole is greater than the individual pieces, a great recruiter considers the law firm’s platform – geography, practice areas, talent within the firm, marketing team, strategic services, the verticals they specialize in, and the firm’s culture. “A candidate that compliments the firm’s current book of business can produce the next superstar. We have helped candidates move to a stronger platform – doubling their book of business within 18-24 months and continue to grow,” Shari Davidson.

Confidentiality. A multi-channel strategy across media channels and several search firms may do more harm than good. Internal and external forces may very well conspire to complicate the process. Internally some may feel slighted, that they have been overlooked for this position. Additionally, advertising tips off the competition as to the strategic direction of your firm. 

Negotiation. The best recruiters provide an in-depth professional level of expertise to advise on all aspects of the placement process, acting as a buffer to carefully consider all parties involved. Good recruiters facilitate mutually beneficial arrangements, minimizing potentially polarizing roadblocks that may arise from face-to-face dealings.

The placement process takes time and often difficult. Successful outcomes lead to earning trust and credibility with candidates and firms, and from this is strong lasting relationships are formed.

About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. We pride ourselves in understanding our clients and candidate’s needs, On Balance has an outstanding track record placing strong candidates with high retention rates.

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Image Cred.

5 Signs Your Firm Will Pass You Over For Partner

Pass You Over For Partner

The Road To Partnership

A partnership at a law firm can seem daunting.  Several requisites must be met before one can even be considered, including your billable hours, proper mentorship and the ability to bring in new business.  You want to make sure you’re properly qualified so your firm doesn’t pass you over for partner.

So you’re at your firm, working hard and learning a ton.  The partnership may seem so close, however, you are competing with fellow colleagues and want to keep your eye on the prize.  Don’t lose focus and slip up.  To help you get your partnership, here are a five signs you want to steer clear from that will pass you over for partner.

  1. Staying at the same firm you started at.

You may be thinking that staying at the firm you started at throughout all these years demonstrates loyalty.  While that may be true, you started there as a young lawyer, most likely straight out of college.  The unfortunate scenario here is that your firm will have a preconceived view of you as the kid that started at the firm and may have a very difficult time getting the image of you being the new guy out of their head.  No matter how much time you have spent there, you may never rise in the ranks solely because people could never see the old you in the new position. 

Back in the days of early law, the Cravath had a philosophy called ‘up or out,’ meaning if you never got promoted or made partner you were forced out of the firm.  Modern day philosophy follows an ‘over and up’ model.  This means that when you have gained enough experience and confidence in your career, you switch to a different law firm.  This new law firm will not have a preconceived view of you as the kid straight out of college but the already successful and skilled lawyer. 

I’m not ruling out that the firm you started out at will make you partner, however, “switching while you are hot will make you a much more valuable candidate in the eyes of unbiased partners.” –Shari Davidson, President of On Balance Search Consultants

2. Being a good lawyer but not bringing in business

Being a good lawyer these days is not enough to become partner at your firm.  For example, at an equity partnership, you own a small part of the firm when you become partner.  The amount you make is part of a bigger pie that all the partners share.  If everyone is bringing in a bunch of new business and you are not, then you are selfishly taking your share of your partners’ hard work and not contributing any profit of your own.

You want to give the other partners a reason, other than being good at law, to make you a partner.  If you can really make it rain and bring in clients, then the partners won’t be able to resist offering you a partnership position.  You also do not need to be a partner to bring it.  Although bringing it in as an associate may be a bit more difficult, it will show drive, initiative, and ambition

3. Billable hours

It’s not that complicated, it’s all about making it rain. Don’t’ just show up for work, listen, learn make it happen. Show me the money! 

4. Working exclusively for one partner, or mentor

In this case, you should think of it as a, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” approach.  When working for a partner and trying to meet your billable hours, it may seem easier to just pick one partner to work for.  However, think of the scenario which may be ‘worst-case,’ but isn’t too far out there either.  Imagine you’re well into your years at a firm and you’re confident the partner you’re working for will help you get chosen as a new partner, then suddenly, that partner leaves the firm.  You are now left with nobody to vouch for you and a lot of hours that need to be filled with work.

Having a second partner you do work for can prevent this from happening.  Try not to choose only one partner to develop a good relationship with because an unfortunate departure of you partner can significantly hurt your chances at succeeding in your path to partner.  If, for some unfortunate reason, you are stuck in this situation, remember the ‘over and up’ philosophy we spoke about above.  If you think getting a new mentor at your firm may not happen, you can always bring your expertise to another firm where you could possibly be viewed as a stronger candidate.

5. Not being involved in professional panels or professional groups

Some lawyers will tell you that being on a professional panel or group is a waste of time.  Although there is no right or wrong answer whether you should or should not be involved, they are much more important if you want to bring prestige and recognition to your firm.  It makes your more valuable to your firm and raises your firm’s value in the legal community and to your clients.

Taking advantage of professional panels and groups can also be a great resource of new clients.  This can also help your path to partner – as we mentioned in a previous point.  Getting exposure to more people and being able to add value to your existing position at your firm can help generate new clients and shine a light on you.

Take these signs as a precaution so that you can steer away from them as quickly as possible and turn them into something positive.  Becoming partner may seem daunting but it is definitely not impossible.  Just by reading this article you are demonstrating initiative and preparation.  Good luck in your path to partner.

About On Balance Search Consultants
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm.

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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

Source:

Shinners, M. (June 7, 2012). How to Become a Law Firm Partner. Litigation, American Bar Association.

Photo Cred.