One aspect of growing your law practice is hiring associate lawyers and other employees, an exercise which is often tedious and time-consuming – you have to advertise a new position, receive applications, conduct interviews, haggle over salaries and so on. Since you want to make the most of your time – dealing with clients who will bring more money into the firm – you can get all these things done by a legal recruiting company. This is a company that pairs up talent with employers – you tell them all about your position, and it is their job to fill it as fast as possible with the best candidate they can find. Here is what you should be looking for in prospective legal recruiters:
• Their knowledge of the industry is important. They ought to work with the top law schools in the country so that they can attach their best students with law firms. They should also know top legal minds who are looking to change employers. Better yet, they should have the necessary negotiating skills to help lawyers change their minds and change law firms.
• The success rate is also important when it comes to legal recruiters. For employees to stay with new law firms they have to fit in. Otherwise, the same vacancies will be open over and over again. Check the failure rate of any legal recruiter before you hire them to bring you new associates.
• Legal recruiters take the time to understand their clients so that they can bring them employees who will fit right in. Understanding the kind of law that you practice is important, but that is not all. They have to understand the kind of workplace that you have created – do you run a firm that is relaxed but professional or do you prefer things a lot more formal? Do you have an open door policy? Do you like outgoing personalities or do you prefer those who hunker down and don’t make much of a stir? Understanding these little nuances will allow legal recruiters to bring you the right kinds of associates.
• The best legal recruiters do everything and all you need to do is sit in on the final interview. Not only will they find associates and negotiate salaries, they will go much farther. According to AboveTheLaw.com, “A good recruiter can secure certain incentives such as relocation packages, which can easily extend into five digits. Some will even pay broker’s fees, fees for breaking a lease, the cost of house hunting, and even signing bonuses. Many of our recruiters have negotiated higher base salaries as well.”
• Good recruiters also prepare new recruits for their new jobs based o what they know about your firm. They will let them know what to expect, the company culture, how they are expected to behave, what kinds of results are expected from them and so on. They will also give them an on-depth briefing of what their new job will entail. They will provide them with career advice on an on-going basis so that they can help them succeed in their new positions.
• It is important that you agree on how you will be compensating your legal recruiter since there are different models. The contract should also include what happens when they bring new employees who don’t stay very long. Agree on a minimum duration during which if a new employee leaves you get compensation.
• If you hire a legal recruiter and they don’t match you with the kind of talent that you are looking for do not be afraid to move away from them and find another one. If you keep using them it will be at the expense of your firm.
• Hire a recruiter who is willing to look for talent outside your country. This way they can help your firm to diversify, and they may also help save money because sometimes foreigners ask for lower compensation.
• The best legal recruiters are those who look on to their clients as long-term strategic partners. It allows them to widen their database so that as law firms grow they can meet their employee needs accordingly. If they are a partner, it will also be in their interest to bring you the best talents. There are some law firms that offer legal recruiters a stake in the firm so as to motivate them to keep bringing the best talent.
These tips should help you find a legal recruiter who will bring you competent associates and other employees.