Why A Legal Employer Should Use A Recruiter’s Services

by Andrew Gurman

You are a managing partner of a 50-attorney law firm in New York. You need a smart, hardworking third-year litigator trained at a large NYC law firm. The ad you placed produced 200 unqualified candidates, 30 of whom keep following up with you, either leaving voicemails or cluttering up your inbox with follow ups. Your assistant fields numerous calls from other candidates looking to return to law after a three-year hiatus or those looking to transition from corporate to litigation. After spending several hundred dollars on an advertisement and countless hours sifting through off-point resumes, you aren’t any closer to hiring.

Sound familiar? If it does, read on regarding the reasons why a legal employer should hire a recruiter.

  1. Saving Time: A legal recruiter saves an employer time. It is the legal recruiter’s role to actively source, recruit, and carefully screen potential candidates by reviewing a large database and reaching out to active and potential candidates. An effective recruiter only presents those candidates who could be a good fit based on an employer’s particular needs and its culture. Employers that decide to undertake recruiting efforts on their own spend a significant amount of time focusing on recruiting efforts, such as sifting through the resumes of large numbers of unqualified candidates and communicating with them, scheduling interviews, and all of the other tasks associated with the process. Hiring a recruiter allows a legal employer to focus on what it does best and to avoid costs as a result of lost business or business development opportunities during the recruitment process.
  2. Offering Expertise: A good legal recruiter has developed a sophisticated understanding of the legal marketplace and has successfully worked on a multitude of attorney searches. An extensive database of candidates that has been developed over several years permits a recruiter to quickly identify qualified candidates for open positions. Furthermore, a capable recruiter spends a considerable amount of time with candidates to understand their aspirations and the types of opportunities that they would seriously consider. Such a recruiter can improve an employer’s chances of making a good hiring decision by providing employers with an insightful analysis of the candidates under consideration. Finally, it is helpful to work with legal recruiters who used to practice law and who have a keen understanding of the type of work performed by attorneys, the environment of various law firms and corporations, and the concerns faced by attorneys.
  3. Providing Talent: Hiring attorneys regularly claim that because there is so much available talent in the market, they can easily find a suitable attorney without having to pay a recruiter’s fee. There is no question that the labor markets are flooded with laid-off and other unemployed attorneys now. But while there may be a bounty of available candidates, that does not mean that they are the most impressive candidates or that they will be good fits for an employer’s organization. Successful attorneys often focus their efforts on legal work or on developing business, rather than on job searches. In this market, such attorneys are even more reluctant than usual to apply for positions out of fear that a potential legal employer will not survive the economic crisis. Finding and approaching elite performers is what recruiters do. Hiring such top-notch attorneys provides value that easily outweighs the cost of paying a legal recruiter’s fee.
  4. Managing Costs: Hiring the wrong person can be expensive to remedy. An effective recruiter increases the chances of hiring the right candidate for the position. In addition, the recruiter’s fee is not a burden on cash flow, particularly if payment is made over time, because the client pays the fee out of the work of the new associate (or, in the case of a partner, out of her/his book of business). Finally, if an associate or partner candidate should fail, most recruiters provide a money-back guarantee period of varying length that will provide adequate protection to a law firm or corporation.