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. 

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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

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. 

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

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