When it comes to law, the job market is different than it is for other professions. After leaving law school, many graduates will have jobs lined up or firms who are interested in their expertise. But for others, it may not be as easy. recruiters are a big part of a law firms hiring process, and it is often the recruiter who will match a junior associate with a law firm that fits their needs.
As for seasoned lawyers looking to make a change, the way a recruiter handles you and your job search changes drastically. We spoke with Craig Hassenbein, who focuses on permanent legal placements at The Goodkind Group to better understand how recruiters handle lawyers, from junior and mid-level to partners.
Junior to Mid-Level Associates
Anyone in the junior to mid-level associate base of two to five years are prime candidates and are usually in very strong demand. They have probably come out of great law schools and got their first two years of experience under their belt. They have had their training taken care of, and now they are practicing attorneys. If a firm is looking to hire a lateral associate, they want someone with two to five years out of law school. Because of this, we take a bit of a different approach from someone who has been doing this for a long time and can bring a lot of seasoned experience and knowledge in.
When we are dealing at the associate level, at the more junior level, we handle the process differently because a firm is usually looking for something very specific. If they want a third-year associate that does ‘A, B, and C’, then, you need to present someone who does ‘A, B, and C’, regardless of their experience, age or level.
As far as the more senior level, you are dealing with established attorneys who are bringing over their practice and many years of experience in practice. In order to relate to those attorneys, it is essentially important for recruiters to have an understanding of what they are looking for, and and overall knowledge of what is going on in this marketplace. If we are talking about an attorney that is talking about their practice, and some sensitivities related to their practice, and what they would potentially need in the transition, it is important to be able to know what is happening and be able to speak and really provide counsel in that regard.
When you are dealing at the partner level, it is a bit more consultative. It is about learning what someone is looking for then seeing if you can make introductions that may be worth their time. It is where one of our clients will come to us and say, “We need a partner to do this, or that”. It is usually more of an open-minded conversation on both sides. As in, “If I can present you with someone that is more established, that has a history of originating business and a significant client list, is that someone you would want to speak with?” Usually, that is the way instruction like that takes place. It is sort of two different business models, in essence, when you are working at the more junior level rather than the more senior level. As a recruiter, you have to be comfortable toggling between those two.
Primarily, Craig works with major firms that are looking for top talent, and will find attorney candidates coming from top law schools with the highest of academic credentials to place them in some high-level associate, senior associate jobs and partner roles. If you are an attorney looking for a new job, or a law firm looking for new associates or partners, contact The Goodkind Group. You can contact us at 212-378-0700 or visit our website to learn more about our services.