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16 May

How to Work with a Legal Recruiter

by: Astor Professional Search

A legal recruiter can be an invaluable resource during your job search in the competitive legal industry. Professional recruiters knowledgeable about the legal job market can help you identify job openings faster. They can guide you through the job search process, including updating your resume, polishing your cover letter, honing your interviewing skills, and negotiating the terms of a job offer. 

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Legal recruiters usually get hired by law firms and organizations to identify candidates who meet the requirements of a specific job opening. The arrangement can be exclusive or non-exclusive. An exclusive working arrangement involves only one legal recruiter looking for a candidate to fill the job opening. A non-exclusive arrangement involves multiple recruiters searching for talent for the same job opening. In both working arrangements, the responsibility for paying the fees lies with the law firm, not the candidate. 

What Is a Legal Recruiter? 

A legal recruiter, sometimes called a legal headhunter, assists law firms and corporations requiring legal talent to locate qualified employees. These employees include attorneys, administrative professionals, legal assistants, paralegals, arbitrators, and mediators. 

Attorneys looking for a new position might ask, “why should candidates work with attorney recruiters?” Legal recruiters usually keep up with the staffing and recruitment trends in the legal job market. They will hear about open positions before getting posted on online job boards. 

They will also know about job openings that aren’t posted publicly. For these reasons, attorney candidates stand a better chance of securing a legal job when working with a legal recruiter than a human resource representative or a general recruiter. 

A competent Chicago legal recruiter should offer the following services: 

  • Discuss the best strategies for realizing your ultimate legal career goal
  • Familiarize with your career profile and assist in sharpening your resume, cover letters, and writing samples
  • Submit your application to the right legal employers for the right positions 
  • Perfect your interviewing skills – the recruiter should prepare expected questions and guide you on how to respond appropriately. 
  • Answer your questions throughout the job search and placement process 
  • Negotiate an appropriate compensation package for you

How to Choose the Best Legal Recruiter 

Working with a legal recruiter is a wise decision. A good recruiter will offer you up-to-date legal market insights, even if you are not looking for a job. Here is how to choose the best legal recruiter for your unique job search needs: 

Consider Several Legal Recruiters 

Talk to a couple of legal recruiters before settling on the one you feel is the right fit. Consider this as an interview. Find out as much information as possible about potential recruiters. Ask them about their placement records, legal market knowledge, background, professional connections with legal employers, and in-house clients. 

The best legal recruiter should understand the market deeply and provide valuable career advice. The recruiter should always be ready to act in your best interests. The recruiter should, for instance, apply for positions that fit your career goals. 

Consider Location   

Be sure to choose a recruiter who has established meaningful connections in your target city or area. A recruiter who has built relationships in the local market will know which job openings are available. If you are interested in Chicago, for instance, a legal headhunter who is physically in Chicago or focuses on that specific market would be an excellent choice. 

Inquire About Recent Placements 

Ask about the candidates they have placed recently. Find out the firms that have benefited from their placement services recently. Select a legal recruiter who has recent placements for your target position. 

Seek Referrals

Referrals can help you separate competent legal recruiters from incompetent ones. A fellow attorney may refer you to a focused and result-oriented recruiter. 

Choose a Recruiter with Relevant Legal Recruiting Experience

Legal positions are usually highly competitive. Work with a legal recruiter with a stellar record of helping candidates find their desired jobs in the legal field. Such a recruiter will know how to navigate the hurdles of the legal marketplace. The recruiter will also be knowledgeable about the requirements of different job openings. Working with such a recruiter will improve your chances of securing a career-fulfilling role. 

Questions to Ask Your Legal Recruiter

Nothing is more exciting than your legal recruiter calling you after a lengthy job hunt period. It is normal to be excited about job openings that you qualify for and at your dream companies. Your excitement shouldn’t make you overlook things candidates should discuss with a legal recruiter. In that regard, the following are the questions to ask your legal recruiter: 

What Are the Key Qualifications the Employer Needs? 

Your legal recruiter most likely has a long list of requirements that an ideal candidate should meet. The reality, however, is that only a few of those requirements are compulsory for the right candidate. Knowing the main job requirements will help you gauge whether you stand a chance at getting the position. If you don’t meet the main job requirements, ask your recruiter to keep looking for opportunities that suit your skills and career aspirations. 

Are You Engaging this Employer Exclusively or Non-Exclusively? 

Knowing the working arrangement between your legal recruiter and a potential employer will enable you to assess your chances. You have a higher chance of getting your application in front of the hiring manager if the recruiter is the only one working with the employer. 

Your chances reduce substantially if multiple legal recruiters are involved. It’s still possible to get the position, however. You just need to put more effort and communicate with your recruiter constantly. Ensure the recruiter believes you are the right candidate for the position and is working tirelessly to improve your odds of getting it. Also, ensure your resume focuses on the qualifications the employer needs.

How Long Has the Position been Open?

Knowing the duration that the job opening has been available will let you estimate how long the hiring process might take. The wait is likely to be longer if you get interviewed as the first candidate than if you were the last candidate. 

Why Is the Position Open? Why Has it Stayed Open for a Long Time? 

Find out why the person who previously held the job left. Also, find out the reason the position has remained open too long. Is it a case of high employee turnover or promotion rates? Were the previous interviews unsuccessful? Your next steps will depend on the answer you get. 

Is there any Additional Information I Should Know About the Company?

Online research can give you plenty of information about a potential employer’s background, management team, and finances. Your legal recruiter can, however, tell you something about the company that you cannot access on your own. You may learn about the company’s culture and strategic plans, such as going public. 

Should You Work with More Than One Recruiter?

The simple answer is that it depends on your target position. One legal recruiter is ideal for a law firm position. One recruiter will take the time to know you and match you with job openings that suit your skill set and desires. The recruiter can plan your applications, monitor them over time, and change strategy based on the job search progress. 

Engaging one legal recruiter also creates a win-win situation, as the recruiter will get paid no matter the position you secure. This win-win scenario makes the recruiter an indispensable asset in your job search process. 

You may need to involve more than one recruiter if you are looking for an in-house position. The reason is that in-house openings are usually exclusive, as they depend on personal connections between a General Counsel and a specific recruiter. In this case, working with multiple recruiters will enable you to access several in-house openings. 

author-bio-image author-bio-image
William Sugarman

William Sugarman is the president and founder of Astor Professional Search. He engages in the successful placement of attorneys with local, regional, and international law firms and corporations. Bill’s extensive legal and business development experience give Astor an edge over other legal recruiters nationwide. At the cornerstone of Bill’s strategic philosophy is providing the highest level of personalized attention to his clients and attorney candidates. This is also a key factor that separates Astor from other legal search firms, and it consistently delivers legal placements year after year.

Years of Experience: More than 20 years

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