Selecting a National Legal Recruiting Firm to Conduct Attorney Recruiting

By: Karen Anderson

There is a plethora of legal recruiting firms to choose from, but they are not all created equal. So as a legal employer, how do you go about selecting a national legal recruiting firm to conduct attorney recruiting on our behalf? You need to do a little homework and shop around. Do not just rely on name recognition. It is important to realize that just because you’ve “heard” of a legal recruiting firm before, does not mean that they are the only legal recruiting firm you should consider. Similar to buying a house, you do not need to work with the first real estate agent that you come in contact with. You should contact a few national legal recruiting firms first, and interview them to see if they meet your requirements.

Select a National Legal Recruiting Firm – How do you select the best legal recruiters for your needs? First, you should focus on selecting a national legal recruiting firm. Even if you consider your search local. Why? A national legal firm has contacts all over the country, which allows them to match your company with qualified attorney candidates from anywhere, not just your immediate area. If you’re looking to hire a patent attorney in Georgia but there’s a highly skilled patent attorney in North Carolina willing to move, shouldn’t you know about it? That’s why hiring a national legal recruiting firm make more sense.

Also, national legal recruiting firms tend to have larger networks and resources to fill your searches more quickly and effectively. These same national legal recruiting firm may already have a relationship or partner with specialized, local legal recruiters. At the same time, they can spend more resources to attract and recruit candidates; which means that your perfect candidate may already working with the national legal recruiting firm rather than the local one…because they already know about them.

What is the Legal Recruiting Firm’s Reputation – Does the legal recruiting firm have a good reputation in the industry? The best legal recruiting firms tend to generate most of their businesses from referrals. Check with other companies in your area and find out what legal recruiters they have been working with, and the results. Check out third party opinions; but not just those that require a fee to join (i.e. NALSC), but those that provide unbiased third party reviews.

For instance, ESQ Recruiting was recognized by The Small Business Institute who named ESQ Recruiting “2016 Best Executive Legal Recruiters of Atlanta” for excellence in legal recruiting and recognition of ESQ Recruiting as Atlanta’s best legal recruiters. ESQ Recruiting and its Atlanta Managing Director, Vanessa Vidal, were recognized by The International Women’s Leadership Association and voted Best Atlanta Legal Recruiters in 2016. The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) honored Vanessa Vidal as a 2014 Professional Woman of the Year for her leadership in legal recruiting with this prestigious distinction. Look at how the press and other organizations rank the legal recruiting firm to determine how successful they really are.

What is the Legal Recruiting Firm’s Network – Does your legal recruiter have a significant network that he or she can tap into to identify legal talent? You need to determine how well connected the legal recruiting firm and its legal recruiters are. First, do they specialize in the type of recruiting that you are hiring them to do? How well do they know the market and the players? Also, be careful about hiring national legal recruiting firms that have done extensive work in your industry. Why? Because while they may look great on paper in terms of understanding your business, they may be limited insofar as where they can recruit legal talent from. In other words, legal recruiters have certain companies that he or she “places in” and some that he or she “calls into.

Companies will not work with legal recruiters that cold call into them because this is considered “double dipping” and is highly frowned upon. Thus, if a legal recruiter works with half of the firms in a city or a large number of companies in the same industry, the legal recruiter will only have access to half of the qualified candidates in that given city. On the other hand, if the legal recruiter does not represent any law firms, like ESQ Recruiting, and only a limited number of companies in any one industry, this legal recruiting firm will have access to more qualified candidates for your position.

Select Only One Legal Recruiting Firm – There is a common misconception among companies looking to fill their open positions with top talent that the more legal recruiting firms they use, the more legal talent they will see, and the quicker they will fill their position. However, companies who use multiple recruiting firms take about 50% longer in filling a position than those who work with only one. Why? Because working with one legal recruiting firm is more efficient.

First, working with multiple legal recruiting firms on the same search dilutes the consistency and quality of your company’s message in the community of possible candidates. If you have a legal recruiter that makes an “ineffective” call or approach to a good candidate, you can be sure that the next recruiter that tries to approach this same candidate will be unsuccessful. When the same candidates are receiving calls from multiple legal recruiters from different firms about the same position with varying information, these candidates will wonder what’s going on with this company and will be less likely to move forward.

Second, working with multiple legal recruiting firms on the same search can make the company seem desperate or make it seem as though there’s something wrong with the position. Creating confusion in the mind of viable candidates is bad enough, but creating doubt in the minds of those same candidates is even worse. That’s because once they begin to doubt aspects of the position, it’s only a matter of time before they begin to doubt other things, as well.

Lastly, if a legal recruiting firm knows that it has a real opportunity of making a placement, the firm will dedicate all of its time and resources towards that search. When a legal recruiting firm knows that the possibility has been compromised because there are several other legal recruiters involved, who can impede the process itself and take away the possibility of a placement, then a legal recruiting firm is less likely to put its best people and resources behind the search. Overall, working with one legal recruiting firm exclusively is the best approach—for the speed and accuracy of the search, the quality of the candidates, and the branding of your company and its culture.

Contact us today for more information on how we can deliver results for your legal recruiting needs!


Written on: 04/01/16 PDF Version