I recently heard from a lawyer who was going through it that, from a legal perspective, it was a nightmare. Years ago when he was working with a recruiter in Washington, DC, he realized that, unbeknownst to him, the recruiter was pitching his story to firms in a different city. And it’s not just to a few firms, either—when asked, the shoplifter admits he’s sent his message to more than 1,300 attorneys!
This incident shows how important it is to check with your legal advisor before starting your job search. Your name and your candidate are on it.
What to avoid
Once a recruiter sends a lawyer as a candidate to a law firm, the recruiter “owns” that firm—no other recruiter can try to place the lawyer in the same firm. So, when a lawyer is sent to many firms without approval, it will be very difficult to work with another lawyer in the future. The second mover does little to clean up the work of the first mover.
Unfortunately, I’ve had too many stories like this since my transition from law firm partner to attorney. An attorney begins working with a client who has reached out for a putative opportunity, and ends up in a difficult situation that not only brings the attorney closer to landing his dream job, but, if anything, more likely to do so.
So the questions I hear from potential customers are: Why does this happen, and how can you avoid making the same mistake?
The first problem is that too many lawyers take on the dark side of all carriers—they’re underdogs in the illegal business and will tell you anything to get paid quickly when they turn around. you do
How to Prepare
The reality, however, could not be further from the truth. A skilled recruiter can make all the difference in your job search—one who can and will act as a reliable and trustworthy client.
Finding and vetting the right candidate for you takes a lot of effort, especially since recruiting attorneys receive tons of unsolicited candidate emails—and it’s hard to distinguish who is who. good man from the right man … no. So how can you identify a truly talented artist? Here are some tips.
References, References, References. Have a friend who just left a firm or know someone from law school who recently transferred? Moving to a new city where you know there are few lawyers? In a particular profession are there only a few artists who specialize? Ask other lawyers for advice. Most attorneys have used a recruiter themselves or know someone who has been successful. At the very least, they can help by asking about it for you.
Reference. If you get a cold call from an attorney you don’t know, ask them on the first call for references of attorneys they have sent to your market. Every market is different, and an agent in New York may not be very helpful in Fargo—unless they have the experience to place there.
Read the Good News. Be wary of recruiters who say, “We have an exclusive search” at a law firm (outside of some partnerships, it’s hard—if ever—to be true) or who say they’re interested if you blind-submit to many firms. . A blind application is when an applicant submits your resume to a company without revealing who you are. For skilled workers, this is an invaluable tool. But some artists use it as a way to blow you across the country without a real plan for success.
Ask for a Plan. Ask for an initial list of firms the recruiter would like to refer you to—and ask why the recruiter chose those firms. Be wary of any recruiter who requests more than a dozen firms without a compelling reason for doing so. Outside of a few narrow niches, a “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” approach to job hunting is often fruitless. It’s not that it won’t produce good results, but it will discourage a better recruiter from coming later if your resume has been blown across town.
Save your Resume. Last but not least, take care of your resume. There are employees in this business who will refer you to an agency when they receive your resume, even if they have your express permission to do so. Do not submit your resume to anyone until you have completed most of the above.
Building a relationship with an expert recruiter can be of great benefit to your business. But trusting your search to someone who doesn’t care or isn’t committed to what you’re good at will set you back. If you’re thinking about moving and want to talk to a recruiter or have a volunteer reach out to you on the move, do your homework. To quote an old Russian proverb, “Trust, but verify.”
This article does not reflect the opinion of The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., publisher of Bloomberg Law and Bloomberg Tax, or its owners.
Write for us: Writer’s Guide
Karen Vladeck A former law firm partner and mediator turned attorney at Whistler Partners.