Law school is important if you want to be a lawyer. But how important is it to choose the right law school? Does it really matter if you went to Harvard? Or is any program acceptable as long as you worked hard and have something to show for it?
Business Insider asked top legal recruiters all over the country to weigh in. Their answers might surprise you.
Why then are corporate executives so tightfisted when dealing with what is so commonly thought of as the “heartbeat” of their companies . . . top-talent?
Companies think very little about paying the often excessive fees charged by their outside accounting and legal firms . . . or even to the gaggle of consultants who promise cost-cutting and streamlining miracles in other areas of operations.
Yet, when faced with brain drains, talent deficiencies or the need to replace a legal counsel with a better one, their thoughts too often turn to parsimony. This K-mart mentality belies and contradicts their stated objectives to “hire the best,” especially at pecking order levels below the “big picture” executive suite inhabitants.
Of course recruiting fees can vary from legal search firm to legal search firm but, when they do, you will almost always find that those on the low side are sure to exclude some very key ingredients of the process, all of which are vital to providing the indispensable services necessary to satisfy the needs of the employer.
So why are legal recruiters worth what they charge? Just a few of the often unspoken reasons are:
Nobody knows the legal marketplace better than a professional legal recruiter or legal search firm . . . nobody! In-house human resources and company recruiters, no matter how effective, view the legal marketplace through an imperfect or misrepresentative prism, and tunnel vision is their occupational hazard.
Just as physicians are cautioned against treating members of their own families, so too is it folly for an in-house H/R professional to believe that they have an undistorted and unbiased picture of the legal employment landscape. They are vulnerable to the pressures of internal politics and cultural dimensions which do not hinder the outsider.
Street-smart legal recruiters already know the neighborhood, including the unlisted addresses so often overlooked by the insiders.
2. CAST A WIDER NET
A professional fisherman will always have more to show than a weekend angler. Legal search firms are in the legal marketplace day in and day out. They know the unfished coves, reefs and inlets that are unknown to others. The job-hunter bookshelves are filled with lore about the “hidden legal job market.” The same holds true for professional legal recruiters who have a detailed roadmap to the hidden talent sources which will never be accessed by newspaper ads, alumni associations, applicant databases, job boards or any of the other more familiar sources of people.
There are occasional pearls through these sources (and someone inevitably wins the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes too) but you have to shuck an awful lot of smelly oysters to find them. Legal search firm only give you oysters proven to contain pearls. Your only job is to determine which pearl is the best.
Want to catch what you’re fishing for? Hire a guide!
There is a misconception among employers that the cost of an attorney hire equals the cost of the ads or Internet postings run to attract the attorney hired. Nothing could be further from reality.
Try adding these to the true cost and you’ll see just how cost effective an outside recruiter can be:
- Salaries and benefits of the employment/recruiting staffs plus those of the line managers involved in the hiring activity (who are not productive in their normal job pursuits when they’re out recruiting).
- Travel, lodging and entertainment expenses of in-house recruiters; source development costs; overhead expenses including but not limited to telephone, office space, postage, and PR literature.
- Applicant database maintenance, reference checking, clerical costs to correspond with the hundreds of unqualified respondents, etc.
4. UNBIASED THIRD PARTY INPUT
For a mid to senior-level attorneys, the average legal recruiter may develop a “long list” of a hundred or more possibilities. Each must be called and evaluated against the position specifications as well as the personality “fit” with the company and the people with whom they will ultimately work. Once this is winnowed down to the “short list,” an even more intensive interviewing process begins to narrow the search to a panel of finalists for review by the client.
This process is not, as some believe, simply romping through the file cabinets, harvesting from the Monster lookalikes or putting the job opening out to others on the legal recruiter’s network with crossed fingers that someone good will show up.
It is highly unlikely that a legal search firm will be plowing new ground with your opening. They deal within spheres of influence far more familiar with your needs than any internal recruiter and, more often than not, view the finalists as people who are competent to solve client problems rather than just fill an open slot in the organizational chart.
Because they want to do business with you again and again, they are looking for (and challenging you to excellence by hiring) the “truly exceptional” rather than the “just satisfactory” so often settled for by in-house hirers.
Advertising or otherwise publicly proclaiming an opening, aside from its cost and demonstrated ineffectiveness for sensitive senior level counsel openings, often creates anxiety and apprehension among the advertiser’s current employees who wonder why they aren’t being considered or worry about newcomer transition problems. Just as often it alerts competitors to a current weakness or void within the company.
The recruiting process is always faster through a legal search firm that is continually tapped into the talent marketplace than one having to start the process from scratch. For every day that a key opening remains unfilled, a company’s other employees must grudgingly do double duty, or a company may need to rely more extensively on expensive outside legal counsels. And this doesn’t factor in the profit opportunities or competitive advantages lost to a company because a position remains unfilled or is done on a part-time basis by others less qualified.
7. POST HIRE DOWNTIME
Not only is speed an essential part of the legal search firm’s process, the ability to locate an attorney who can immediately “hit the ground running” with a minimum of “ramp-up time” saves time and money after the hire. All too often, a hire selected through less effective sources offering a smaller talent pool requires several months of expensive training and orientation.
Legal search firms often recognize and have a duty to inform clients that they may be mistaken as to the type of person sought, the salary required to attract them, or the possibilities that the solution might just lie in areas outside the traditional target industries . . . something an internal recruiter is politically disinclined to do. Too many hirers fail to understand that a legal recruiter’s primary function is not necessary to fill a slot, but to provide the right candidate to solve a problem.
Master negotiator Herb Cohen says that, “negotiation is the analysis of information, time and power to affect behavior . . . the meeting of needs (yours and others’) to make things happen the way you want them to.” As a buffer and informed intermediary, legal search firms are better able to blend the needs and wants of both parties to arrive at a mutually beneficial arrangement without the polarizing roadblocks which too frequently materialize in face-to-face dealings.
10. PRIORITIZING COMPANY RESOURCES
It is often amazing to see how much of a company’s revenues are squandered on non-productive perks for existing high-level employees while they penny-pinch on what is every company’s lifeblood . . . talent acquisition.
Club memberships and the like may be fine, but no one with an IQ higher than Forrest Gump’s believes that these expenditures substantially contribute to a company’s profit margin. But one well-placed general counsel save a company a tremendous amount of money. And the fee for having hired these legal counsels pales to insignificance when compared to the contributions they make to the bottom line.
The next time you think a legal recruiter’s fees are too high, put them in the proper perspective before asking for that Blue Light special or spinning your wheels thrashing about trying to fill vital openings with less effective (but not necessarily less expensive) pedestrian methods. Savvy executives learned long ago that the fee paid to a legal recruiter is a shrewd strategic investment, not an extraneous expense. They also know that the “best” is far different from the “best available.”
- Art Chong, general counsel of Broadcom Corp.
- Jed Hendrick, partner at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge and former general counsel of Dennison Manufacturing and H.P. Hood.
- Vanessa McKenzie, business development manager (and former in-house lawyer) at Caterpillar Inc.
- Laurie Robinson, assistant general counsel at CBS Corp. and founder/CEO of Corporate Counsel Women of Color.
- Stephen Seckler, managing director of legal recruiter BCG Search.
- Joe Takash, president and founder of Victory Consulting.
- Vanessa Vidal, president of in-house search firm ESQ Recruiting.
- Michele Welsh, senior counsel at Aon Corp.
The more you know your company, the more you will know what it wants, what it needs, where it’s going, where it’s been and what it’s asking for.
"The better you understand your business, the more confidence your client will have in you," says McKenzie, an in-house lawyer who got to know her business so well she eventually went over to the business side. McKenzie advocates getting to know your business "from the ground up" by, for instance, taking facility tours and sitting in on as many business meetings as possible.
Chong offers similar advice to young lawyers, suggesting they constantly grow their knowledge of the business. He adds, "I wouldn’t limit [knowledge] to the business of the company in which they’re working but deeper understanding of the rhythm of business in general."
Whether that means taking business courses, developing relationships with businesspeople or devouring the Wall Street Journal every morning, find what works for you and do it.
"The key is to develop business skills that increase your value to the company," Vidal says. "Having the flexibility to learn new skills, particularly business skills, is very important. You need to keep reinventing yourself to keep your job challenging and make yourself that much more attractive and available for more opportunities."
ABOVE & BEYOND
There is no shortage of lawyers in this world. But the ability and willingness to step up and exceed expectations is rare, and those are the qualities that set apart the top tier of in-house lawyers.
"Understand that you do not add value by just being an excellent lawyer," Robinson says. "That is expected. You add value by doing what is not in your job description. Sometimes it is the very small things that are not already being done that fill a void in your company and in your community."
General counsel, hiring managers and recruiters seek out leaders, so if you can’t lead, you’ll eventually find yourself crowded out by those who can—even if your technical skills are the gold standard. For staff attorneys who feel like they are led more than they lead, fret not: Even if you’re on the lower rungs of the in-house ladder, you can still develop and showcase your leadership skills.
"People often mistake management for leadership," Chong says. "Leadership is a function of your commitment to the task and passion for the job, and that does have the ability to inspire. That’s leadership, and that’s how you get ahead, more so than the cumulative number of bodies you’re managing."
Another part of stepping up is accepting responsibility and its potential consequences. "A lot of in-house counsel like to pass the buck to the outside firm when it comes to making a decision. [Instead,] defend it and take responsibility for it," Hendrick says.
When Hendrick was a GC, he sought in his employees the ability to interact on a peer-to-peer level with business managers—or, as he puts it, being able to walk the walk and talk the talk.
"You always have to prove you’re the best lawyer in the room, but if you can add to that another dimension of really being able to talk the business and understand it in the business context, I think that’s what sets good business lawyers apart," he says.
So speak in the context and language of business, not the law, and communicate clearly. Take it from a nonlawyer: Takash has two attorney brothers who often speak in legalese, frustrating the family. If a brother can get fed up with a lawyer’s inability to communicate on a human level, imagine how your client feels.
"Attorneys have to understand that there’s anxiety and/or uneasiness in the potential consequences of why they are coming to [the client]," Takash says. "Being a human who can empathize and show compassion to me creates a complete lawyer."
And don’t forget that communication goes both ways. Listen to your clients, be open to suggestions and make sure you understand each other, Takash says. "Telling is just data-dumping. The good lawyers teach."
"Will you take on this terrifying project? It’s something you’ve never done before, it doesn’t play to your strengths, and you’ll probably mess up somewhere along the way."
Such requests are never so blatant, but if you have the courage to try something new, it could turn into the best learning experience of your life.
"You might stumble, but you also have an opportunity to stretch and grow," Chong says. "Don’t stay within your comfort zone just because you’re good at something—take the chance of doing something you’re either unfamiliar with or not so good at, so you can grow."
Such moves can be just as valuable when they take place outside the legal department. Robinson took such a leap when she decided to start Corporate Counsel Women of Color—a move that bettered her legal career as well as her professional life generally. "I did not take one course on how to start your own business or how to create or run a non-profit," she says. "I jumped in and was able to do it by instinct. I learned so much and still continue to learn."
IT'S WHO YOU KNOW
"You’re as likely if not more likely to find a position by talking to a business person as you are by looking at classified ad listings or talking to a recruiter," Seckler says. "In fact, I think those more traditional job search strategies are not as likely to be as effective unless they’re combined with a heavy dose of networking and getting out in the community and meeting professionals."
You shouldn’t reserve networking for looking for an exit out of your current company—networking within your own company can help you do your job better and more smoothly and thus stand out to your superiors or even grab the attention of a business unit.
"Within Caterpillar, you’d want to network more with business folks and the attorneys in the entire legal organization because those are your resources," McKenzie says. "And the more you know them and develop a relationship with them, you get quicker responses. You can just call them up and ask quick questions—you just get things done more quickly."
...AND WHAT YOU DO
The wisest people know they don’t know much, and the same is true for the best lawyers.
Every situation is an opportunity to learn—even
the routine projects you’ve done a thousand times before. Welsh reminds herself constantly that she can learn from everything and everybody, setting her up for future success.
"Even when I do confidentiality agreements all day, every day, when I go about doing a new one it’s with a new person, or there could be a new industry I learn about or just a new interaction from which I gain something. Squeeze out of every experience the actual, real knowledge," she says. "Don’t fall asleep on the job. Build your skill set, so that by the time you get to where it is you want to go, you’re that much more of an attractive applicant."
If you’ve got your sights set on the GC spot, you should aim to have knowledge across the board—companies will look for people with experience that ranges from antitrust to tax, from litigation to labor and employment. And depending on the company, it could expect you to have knowledge about specialty fields like technology and environmental law.
"Make sure you’re constantly adding to your package of skills as you move along in your career so that you’ve done any number of different things by the time you may be considered to be a general counsel," Hendrick says.
You don’t pay the membership fee to bar associations and other professional organizations just for the after-work cocktail parties and conferences in vacation-worthy locales. Exposure to and participation in such groups can be invaluable to your career and overall skill set.
Robinson says the professional benefits are twofold. Involvement gives an opportunity to network and share best practices with other professionals and to build leadership and organizational skills you may not be getting on the job.
Of course, you only get back what you put in. Taking a leadership role within an organization will pay off more than simply showing up at meetings. Robinson’s involvement goes above and beyond. In 2004 she founded a professional organization, Corporate Counsel Women of Color (CCWC), to empower female attorneys and foster diversity in the legal profession. She credits the experience of being CEO of CCWC with helping her become a more well-rounded professional and contribute more value to the CBS legal department.
And it’s paid off, as evidenced by Robinson’s recent promotion from assistant general counsel of CBS’s television division to assistant general counsel of the parent company—a role the company created for her.
"Through the years, CCWC has helped me to develop into a multidimensional person," Robinson says. "I am able to function in many other areas that are not necessarily law-related, such as marketing, public relations, publishing, sales, fundraising, product development, branding, production and programming."
ARTICLE VIGNETTES - REAL PEOPLE, REAL STORIES
She eased into things by first joining the legal department at Caterpillar, which came with the enviable perk of a fully paid University of Chicago MBA. After a few years of doing M&As in the Cat law department, she was familiar with the pulse of the company and many of its business people. Eventually, she was tapped for a business role by her current boss, another former Cat lawyer.
“There are whole vistas of opportunities that open up once you go in-house,” Chong says. “In-house lawyers go on to become CEOs, CFOs, run business units.”
And given the limited number of legal spots at the top, a temporary jaunt on the business side could set you apart.
“I have seen a lot of attorneys transition from legal to the business side and back into legal just to try to make that upward movement happen,” Vidal says.
BACK TO THE FIRM
With the economy faltering and the job market suffering accordingly, few are willing to give up perfectly good, secure jobs. So spots will be limited—further exacerbating the biggest hurdle to in-house advancement: the pyramid structure of most legal departments.
Takash also says networking becomes more important in tough times. “The folks surviving are the ones who made the investment in networking connections,” he says. “When their ship goes down, they have someplace else to go.”
FROM THE TOP
“I encourage [law department leaders] to spend as much time mentoring and teaching as possible, because you learn by teaching,” Chong says. “And the way you advance the success of your organization is to advance the people who are working for you. Do not give short shrift to the development of your people.”
If you’re not getting that support, asking for it can be surprisingly successful. Vidal advocates being proactive about getting support from the higher echelons. Being open with higher-ups not only will help you thrive in your current position, it could help you find the next.
“Develop a career plan and share it with executives and your GC,” she says. “It’s really important to discuss your career aspirations with your current employer so they’re aware what opportunities you might be interested in.”
Many lawyers find their jobs through legal recruiters, one way or another—either longstanding relationships or out-of-the-blue calls. But some experts insist they’re not the last word in finding the perfect in-house job. While working with recruiters can’t hurt, there are limitations.
“Recruiters are part of the strategy, but in reality when it comes to in-house jobs, unlike in law firms, companies don’t all use search firms for filling their legal positions,” Seckler says.
“Furthermore, while in any given geography most of the major recruiting firms will be aware of the openings at all of the major law firms, in terms of in-house jobs, that’s not true. Different search firms will have different openings, so you wouldn’t want to work with just one search firm.”
While the highest positions of legal departments are more often filled using headhunters, such recruiters tend to act as gatekeepers, so it could be hard to establish a relationship with them. Be an exemplary lawyer and try to set yourself apart, and when they want you, they’ll
make the first move.
“I’ve heard a recruiter on a panel say, ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you,’” Chong says. “To which someone replied, ‘How will you know who we are if we don’t call you?’ He said, ‘Well, that’s our job.’”
Download a PDF of the story, with side bars included, by clicking here, and read more career advice from the experts by clicking here.
[By Melissa Maleske. Published in the 2/1/2009 Issue of Inside Counsel. Reprinted with Inside Counsel's permission.]
First, be sure to use the Internet as a supplement to your networking. While the Web may account for 48% of all hires, the majority of hires 52% are made outside of the Web. A common mistake for job seekers is to rush to the computer, surf the Internet, and forego networking altogether. While using the Internet may seem like a simple and relatively effortless solution – it is no substitute for networking. So while you are surfing the Web, make sure to also get in touch with your contacts and expand your existing networks (i.e. meet with people in your field, reach out to recruiters etc.).
Second, do not spend all of your time on the Internet. It’s easy to spend eight hours on the computer, aimlessly searching for jobs, and coming up empty handed. If you are going to be using this powerful tool, the key is to put together a game plan that includes a list of sites you will be searching, and determining in advance how much time you will be dedicating each day to this task. It is important to work within a structure and to keep focused.
Finally, be ready for silent rejection. Don't assume that you will receive a response, positive or negative, to every resume you send. In fact, you should assume the opposite. Why? Because the companies and people to whom you are sending your resume have to contend with a deluge of resumes and may not have either the time or the manpower to respond to every applicant. For example, at ESQ Recruiting, we receive an average of 300+ resumes per open position, when you consider that we have over a dozen positions available at any one time, we are looking at thousands of resumes that we have to respond to. Although we respond to every single applicant, many companies do not, and you may find yourself sending hundreds of resumes without ever receiving a single response.
The good news is that the Internet can be a very valuable and powerful tool in your job search. The key is to identify what will work for you. So let’s get started.
However, there are many more resources for your job search now than just the big sites. The best sites for you are those specialized in legal positions; they include:
• ABA, http://www.abanet.org/careercounsel/jobs.html, job boards, information on networking opportunities, internships, other resources offered by the American Bar Association.
• AttorneyJobs, http://www.attorneyjobs.com, is the Web site of the print monthly. The print version claims more than 500 listings each issue. The Web site offers only a dozen samples from the current issue.
• ACC, http://www.jobs.acca.com, the Association of Corporate Counsel provides jobs listings by employers and recruiters for in-house attorney positions only.
• Bench & Bar of Minnesota, http://www.mnbar.org/bbclass.htm, the Minnesota State Bar Association’s monthly magazine, publishes its classifieds on the Web. A recent visit found nearly 5 ads for positions in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
• CalLaw, http://www.callaw.com/classified/lawad.shtml, has legal classifieds taken from The Recorder, a daily legal newspaper in San Francisco. Ads are organized by location in the San Francisco area and are updated daily. Some include links to the advertiser’s Website.
• Hieros Gamos Employment Center, http://www.hg.org/employment.html, permits employers to advertise legal positions free and include links to their home pages. Job seekers can search listings by type of position, location and practice area. Job seekers also can list their employment interests in HG’s database, after which they will be notified by e-mail whenever a position in their area of interest is posted.
• InHouse Blog, http://jobs.inhouseblog.com, InHouse Blog provides news and jobs for in-house counsels, some overlap with the ACC website, but some are unique to the Blog.
• Law Bulletin Publishing Company, http://www.lawbulletin.com, publisher of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer, has classified ads for lawyer and law-related employment. Listings are extensive and current. If you are looking for a job in the Chicago area, start here.
• LawJobs.com, http://lawjobs.careers.adicio.com/careers/jobsearch/results, allows job seekers to post resumes, review job databases and search for employers and recruiters. It also contains news features, links to surveys, and salary information.
• Law Match, http://www.lawmatch.com, lawmatch offers free and fee-based services that match your employment profile to on-line classified ads for attorneys, law students, paralegals and other legal professionals, including full-time, part-time or contract opportunities.
• LawInfo.com Career Center, http://careers.lawinfo.com, is three services in one: a job listing service for employers, a resume bank for job seekers, and a resume creator for anyone who needs it.
• Lawyers Weekly, www.lawyersweeklyjobs.com, publishes a national and seven state newspapers, all of which contain employment classifieds. Unfortunately, only its Massachusetts job ads are available online. Ads are as they appear in print and do not provide for responding electronically. Also at the site is the New Lawyer Survival Guide, a collection of articles from Lawyers Weekly USA.
• Mylawjob.com, http://www.mylawjob.com, Mylawjob.com offers a job database of almost 3,000 legal jobs.
• AHLA, http://archive.healthlawyers.org/crm_queries/career/main.cfm, lists positions in health law. Employers pay $350 to list here. Listings appear in summary form, with location, title and posting date. Links lead to complete job descriptions and contact information. A recent visit showed 9 listings.
• Public Service JobNet, https://cgi2.www.law.umich.edu/_JobNet/main.asp, from the University of Michigan Law School, lists public service jobs from throughout the nation. Listings can be viewed by job title or date, or searched by location, practice area, job type or eligibility criteria.
• San Diego Daily Transcript, http://www.sddt.com/classifieds, a legal and commercial newspaper, posts its employment classifieds on the Web. Ads cannot be searched, but are viewed by scrolling through the pages.
• Simply Hired, http://www.simplyhired.com/job-search, a job search engine with 6 million legal and non-legal job listings and thousands of jobs sites.
• Simplylawjobs.com, http://www.simplylawjobs.com, maintains an employment database of over 10,000 legal jobs in the United Kingdom and other countries.
• U.S. Courts, http://www.uscourts.gov/employment.html, for individuals seeking a job within the judiciary, U.S. Courts maintains a list of employment opportunities in the federal judiciary.
• U.S. Dept. of Justice, http://www.usdoj.gov/careers/oapm/index.html, lists its available attorney positions. A summary lists titles, location and closing dates, with hypertext links to complete job descriptions and application information.
• WisBar, http://www.wisbar.org, the Web site of the Wisconsin Bar Association, posts job listings from two sources: Marquette Law School’s Career Planning Office and its own monthly magazine, Wisconsin Lawyer. Some ads include links to the employer’s e-mail or Web site.
[This is list is by no means exhaustive. If you know of other reputable non-recruiter affiliated legal job sites, please share them with us.]
JOB LISTING (Paid By Applicants)
Job postings are a primary source of revenue for most job sites. Therefore, it is not unusual for most job boards and job websites to charge a premium to employers and recruiters who post jobs. In fact, that typically indicates that the job site in question is getting a lot of traffic, and that the jobs posted are relevant, as employers and/or recruiters would not pay to advertise jobs that they were not actually recruiting for.
Job sites that require applicants to pay to search their job listings on the other hand should be viewed more cautiously. Why? Because unlike job sites that require employers and/or recruiters to pay to list their jobs, here any and all jobs can be posted without any insurance that the job is either valid, exists, active, or posted by the actual employer or recruiter. In other words, there is no quality control regarding the jobs being posted since it is free and anyone can post anything at anytime. So buyers beware!
Some subscriber-paid job sites are reliable, while others are simply running scams.
EmplawyerNet, http://www.emplawyernet.com, claims to be the largest online legal jobs database, boasting more than 3,000 listings. Employers can post ads free, but job seekers must pay a monthly subscription of $14.95 a month or $125 per year. Subscribers can search ads by location, practice setting or area of expertise. They can also list their own credentials and resumes for employers to retrieve. EmplawyerNet has been around since 1996, and according to our research it appears to be a reputable business with a good reputation.
LawCrossing, http://www.lawcrossing.com, on the other hand, is one company you should avoid. LawCrossing claims to be the #1 Legal Job Board in America with over 100,000 jobs. It has a sleek website, a huge job bank, and for all intents and purposes appears to be a reputable business. It is deceiving.
Here's the catch. According to the Better Business Bureau, LawCrossing.com based in Pasadena, CA, posts job listings for the legal profession on its website. At least some of those who sign up and pay monthly to access the listings find no jobs, no accurate listings, no way out of their subscription, and certainly no way to make the company live up to its double-your-money-back guarantee. Even lawyers can't get a refund, everyone's patience is on trial, and complainants undoubtedly conclude that they've been double-crossed by LawCrossing.
LawCrossing.com, according to at least one of the BBB's 29 complaints on file, sends out emails soliciting recipients to subscribe to their website. If you sign up, their website promises you "unlimited access to the world's largest, most advanced, most exclusive legal job resource!" Their database is supposed to list entry-level jobs as well as jobs for attorneys, paralegals, summer associates (paid and volunteer), general counsel, and clerks. They claim it is updated hourly with "thousands of new job openings each week." The cost? "$29.95/month. Cancel anytime."
The reasons customers want refunds from LawCrossing vary, but the main problem with LawCrossing come from their job postings. The company scours the Internet though spiders picks up jobs anywhere and everywhere, without checking whether the position is real, active, and most importantly without checking to make sure that it is listed with the proper contact. LawCrossing also recycles its postings to make it appear as if lots of jobs are being added daily. How good is a job listing if you are not sending your resume to the person in charge of recruiting and/or hiring for the position or if the job is no longer active?
One complainant, seeking a position as an attorney, says she applied to countless listings. She alleges that in more than a third of her applications, the "supposed employer" contacted her to say that the described job did not exist, they didn't know how she'd gotten their contact information, or that their ad had not been approved to appear on a public website. She says she paid not only the subscription fee, but also postage, handling, and resume costs as well for "20 or 30 jobs that didn't even exist." This is only the tip of the iceberg, unauthorized charges, misrepresentations, refusing to provide refunds, are some of the many illicit business practices of this company. It is not surprising that the BBB not only gave LawCrossing an "F" rating, but also dedicated a special article to list its numerous complaints and unethical business practices.
RESUME DISTRIBUTION SERVICES
You may be at a stage of your job search where you want to conduct an aggressive search and contact a large number of potential employers. For a fee paid by you, distribution services will send your resume and cover letter to thousands of recruiters, headhunters, and potential employers. Sounds great doesn’t it? You know what they say about things that sound too good to be true. Well, this is no exception.
There are many reasons not to use resume distribution services. First, you really have no idea who will receive your resume or what they will do with it, and you have no way of recovering it when your search is over! It takes time and effort, but you should be customizing your resume to fit the opportunity and/or the employer. The most effective way to apply for a job is with a customized resume and cover letter sent directly to an authenticated hiring contact, rather than a service that spams hundreds of identical cookie cutter resumes and cover letters to random persons within an organization.
One of the biggest legal resume distribution companies of its kind is Legal Authority, http://www.legalauthority.com. It promises access to more than 750,000 employers—the largest database of legal employers anywhere. Its website draws you in by claiming that it can provide you with direct access “to any legal employer anywhere, including law firms, corporations, judges, public interest organizations, and many more.” It goes on to promise “10 or more job offers.” This is exactly the type of company you should steer clear of.
Although in the last couple months, Legal Authority has raised its rating at the Better Business Bureau from an "F" to a "C” the company’s business model remains basically the same. Legal Authority prepares resumes and cover letters, provides a list of potential employers, and either mails or sends you a completed package to be mailed to these prospective employers.
Legal Authority claims to be able to provide you with a large list of potential employers and contacts to receive your resume and cover letter. Of course, they do not specify whether the potential employer they are recommending to you is actually hiring - which in most cases it isn't. While Legal Authority can provide you with an impressive list of potential employers, it does not guarantee the accuracy of its information. In other words, the information you are paying for may be completely useless. The fact that your resume is being sent to AT&T is meaningless if it is simply mailed to Jane Doe at the corporate office address, and Jane Doe is not the hiring contact at AT&T, or does not work at AT&T. You just purchased a one-way ticket to the trash bin, or at best to a binder of received resumes that will never see the light of day again.
When you are paying a company like Legal Authority to provide you with 150 contacts, the assumption is that all 150 contacts will be accurate, and that your resume will be delivered to the correct hiring authority. In the case of Legal Authority you are simply hoping that some of these contacts will be correct. At best, you will assume that they are, since once your letter is sent it is unlikely that you will receive a response indicating that your resume was misdirected. This is also one of the reasons these packages are sent via mail rather than email. When an email address is incorrect you will at least receive an automatic error message. Moreover, if the email is addressed to the wrong person, you have a better chance to receive an email from that person informing you of the same. In other words, email provides you with a better opportunity to gauge the accuracy or inaccuracy of the contacts.
Legal Authority uses the same unauthenticated data that is used by Law Crossing – they are run by the same individual and share the same database information. A team located in India searches various websites through spiders to compile the information that Legal Authority uses. Legal Authority cannot ensure that the letters sent will be addressed to the correct hiring contact within that office, despite their claims. Why? Because these “hiring contacts” are never checked for accuracy. In fact, Legal Authority even instructs its customers to check all information before sending out any letters. In other words, the service Legal Authority claims to be providing is unreliable at best.
Most job sites offer job applicant the opportunity to post their resume into the job site's resume/applicant database. Typically, this allows employers and/or recruiters to access the database and search for applicants that match their hiring requirements.
Of course, the key to resume posting is to "market" yourself, and have your resume included in the applicant database for employers or recruiters to search, evaluate, and be able to contact you. If you are not including a name, contact information, or relevant employment information such as your employer, you may be passed over for other applicants. It's a trade-off between privacy and marketing yourself. At the end of the day, the decision has to be your, but if you want to make full use of what a resume posting/database has to offer, you need to carefully review the confidentiality policy of the site and provide all relevant information.
One of the challenges of conducting an Internet search is the amount of time you will need to dedicate searching each sites. Fortunately, many sites offer an e-mail service called email agents, to keep you informed about new jobs added to their jobs database without you having to conduct a manual search daily. This feature allows you to receive email alerts on a daily or weekly basis of new positions that are relevant to your specific job search.
When an appropriate job appears in their database of jobs, an e-mail will be sent to you to inform you of the addition, and/or the actual description of the new job will be emailed to you as well. This can save you considerable time and effort. Many sites offer you the ability to create several different agents so that you can try different combinations of search criteria, e.g. different key words, different locations, etc.
Once you have created an email agent for a particular site, you don't have to keep visiting the site to see if they have jobs for you. It's usually a good idea to sign up for the service if you can do it without compromising your privacy, as a means to save you a lot of time and keep you on top of new jobs.
The Internet can be a powerful tool to use in your job search. As you can see, employers and recruiters are making good use of the Internet and so should you. The key to a successful Internet job search is be informed with respect to the services and sites to use, to continue to network, to invest your time wisely, and not take rejection or the lack of responses personally. Remember, all you need is one positive response.
1. Hire People, Not Law Firms
2. Be There When I Need You
3. Do What You Say You Are Going to Do
4. Get to Know Me
5. Don’t Surprise Me
6. Make Me Look Good
7. Consider the Economics of the Matter
8. Finally, Be Nice to My Staff
What Vendors need to do:
- GC's hire people they know, like, and trust, not just firms/companies. It’s up to you to go out there, form relationships, and take the time to develop them.
- Clients demand responsiveness, and in this day and electronic, that means availability 24/7.
- Set realistic expectations, always meet your deadlines, and follow through on your commitments.
- Set realistic expectations, and take the time to get to know as much as possible about GC's and their companies.
- Clients hate surprises, so try to eliminate them as much as possible.
- Make GC's look good, and find ways to add value to the relationship.
- Remember that this is a business; you need be sensitive to the economics of a project.
- Common courtesy to all goes a long way; treat everyone as you would like to be treated.
It makes a lot of business development sense to listen to what general counsels have to say. The economic viability of your company may depend on it.
1. Look at Their Specialization.
When selecting a recruiting firm to conduct your attorney search, you should strictly narrow your search to legal recruiting firms.
If you were to undergo bypass heart surgery, you would select a cardiac surgeon rather than a general surgeon to perform your operation. A recruiting firm specialized in the search and placement of attorneys possesses a deeper understanding of the industry itself, attorneys in particular, and of the process needed to ensure the results you are seeking.
A legal recruiting firm has developed the contacts and network to identify and deliver the type of legal talent you seek. They simply have greater access to and knowledge of qualified attorneys around the country than another other type of recruiting firm.
2. Look at Their Industry Focus.
Is your legal recruiting firm focused on the legal in-house marketplace? Does your legal recruiting firm have the resources and expertise to stay current with respect to in-house positions and shifting market forces?
The ongoing debate about legal department recruiting versus law firm recruiting has served to underline an interesting fact: companies and law firms typically hire and select attorney candidates based on different sets of criteria.
Both are looking for talented and highly skilled attorneys to join their ranks, but companies tend to look for candidates that not only possess certain legal skills, but who can also become part of the company's overall business. Companies hire attorneys that possess all of the attributes necessary to be effective legal counsels as well as successful business partners.
Legal recruiting firms focused on in-house attorney recruiting understand the particular attributes required of an in-house counsel. As a result, they know how to identify and select potential candidates based on the particular needs of companies. Legal recruiting firms that also service law firms, place contract attorneys, paralegal, secretaries etc., are generally not as focused, nor as knowledgeable about this particular niche market, and therefore not as well-equipped to find and select the right candidates.
A legal recruiting firm focused on in-house attorney recruiting can mobilize all of its efforts and resources for the sole purpose of identifying candidates that best meet your particular needs. Rather than spread resources and legal recruiters’ efforts over several areas, a specialized legal recruiting firm that focuses exclusively on the in-house legal market will provide you with the most effective and efficient search services available.
3. Look at Their Methodology.
You should expect a legal recruiting firm to do more than simply review resumes and send out rejection letters.
Screening the correct and "true attorney" for your position is critical. What is the background of the legal recruiters who will be identifying and screening these potential candidates. Are they attorneys themselves? How well do they understand the market? The industry? What kind of screening methods do they use?
Hiring mistakes can be extremely expensive, and ensuring that your legal recruiting firm has the talent and methodology to effectively screen and select the right candidates is crucial.
4. Look at Their References and Results.
A legal recruiting firm reluctant to provide references automatically raises a red flag.
If a company has interviewed two equally good legal recruiting firms for a particular search, the next obvious step is to contact at least a couple of references. Keep this in mind: not all legal recruiting firms are alike, and therefore references should be treated accordingly.
Be sure to take into consideration how long the legal recruiting firm has been in business, and what level of success it has achieved. You cannot equally compare a legal recruiting firm that has been in business for twenty years over one that has been in business for five, or one with a hundred recruiters versus one with less than ten.
In this business, older and bigger does not necessarily mean better. In fact, smaller legal recruiting firms can typically provide more competitive rates, a higher level of personal service, and often more effective overall results. Smaller legal recruiting firms represent fewer clients, and therefore focus on delivering cost-effective and successful results to ensure repeat business.
When considering a recruiting firm, beware of legal recruiting firms that have extensive experience representing companies in your industry. While they may dazzle you with their extensive client roster, industry experience, and large teams of legal recruiters, this sort of success may actually work against your best interest.
Legal recruiting firms with long client lists come with limitations. They are more likely to be representing several clients at once on similar searches. As a result, client preferences become inevitable, and that may not be good news for you. If you were conducting a general counsel search on behalf of your long-time client who is paying significantly more than a new client in the same city or industry also conducting a general counsel search, to whom would you present your best candidates? As a client you should expect to be presented with the best candidates, without having to compete internally with other company clients. Unfortunately, that is often not the case, especially when the recruiting firm is very large, and works on simultaneous search assignments.
These same legal recruiting firms are also more likely to be bound by non-solicitation agreements, preventing them from contacting attorneys from these very same companies you would probably want to recruit from. In other words, if they are acting ethically, they may be victims of their own success, and be severely restricted from contacting and presenting all qualified candidates to your company because of client conflicts.
Selecting the "right" legal recruiting firm for your attorney search can be a challenging process. However, by considering these various factors you should be able to narrow down your choices to recruiting firms that are better positioned to provide you with the results you are looking for.