For almost two decades, Kinney Recruiting has been a premier international legal recruitment agency and home to some of the most respected legal recruiters in the world. This week Daniel Roark, Jessica Chin Somers, and Jack Hopper tackle your burning questions, starting with what makes a good legal recruiter. If you have any questions, would like to know more about how legal recruiting works or want our take on the market, email email@example.com and we will get back to you with our take!
Question: What makes a good legal recruiter? What can a new recruiter do to be successful?
Daniel Roark: Recruiting is a unique industry in that there is very limited training, educational requirements, certification processes, governance, industry oversight etc. It is a career that encompasses sales, consultancy, subject matter expertise, technology, and good old-fashioned gabbery. As such, new recruiters dive straight into the “doing” part of the job with oftentimes little oversight and unclear directives. And this sink-or-swim environment is also very much integral to the job – to make a market out of communication, information, and old-fashioned effort. My tangible advice to new recruiters is three-fold: 1). Shadow more experienced recruiters whenever the opportunities present themselves. Just as associates learn at the feet of partners about how to interact with clients, handle crisis, assess risk, communicate effectively (both formally and informally), etc, a new recruiter can learn the myriad soft skills required by this profession by learning from more experienced recruiters. 2). Shrink the market into bite-sized, achievable goals. New recruiters generally don’t have a pipeline of candidates, client relationships or deep market knowledge, and they face pressure move quickly since the sales cycle of our business is so long (several months can pass before a new recruiter closes a deal and receives a fee). So, initially, new recruiters should focus their efforts on one or a very few job leads they are excited about and can own until these position(s) are filled. This strategy requires knowing the opportunity inside and out, recruiting and vetting every possible candidate within contact, and working the job until it is filled. 3) Structure your days. It’s easy to run down useless rabbit trails, just as in the practice of law. Bottom line: recruiters are measured by the deals they close. We are not rewarded for how many hours we work, how many phone calls we make, how many conversations/meetings we take, or how many industry articles we read, even though these activities are critical to long-term success. But working on a schedule with fixed tasks and deliverables (e.g., making a set number of phone calls a day) is a suggested way for recruiters to structure the sometimes amorphous nature of our profession. Many new recruiters wash out because they fully embrace the freedom of a commissions-based career without organizing their days around the sometimes-boring, but essential tasks required to be successful.
Question: I’m curious to know what the market is right now for laterals in Biglaw, specifically tax. Can someone lateral from an accounting firm into Biglaw?
Jessica Chin Somers: There is always a need for good tax lawyers in Biglaw, especially tax lawyers with law firm experience and good JD and LLM grades. However, because tax is a niche practice, it is not as easy to get many offers. Some tax practices really want candidates with specific types of tax experience (for example, securitization tax or bankruptcy tax) and so they will wait forever for the right candidate. Some transactional practices have a strong preference against tax planning candidates. The best thing to do is connect with us and let us keep a pulse on the market for you, so when there is a suitable opening, we’ll make sure you get in front of the decisionmakers.
Question: How’s the Biglaw lateral market looking?
Jack Hopper: While it is difficult to generalize about the Biglaw market as a whole, we have not noticed any dramatic down turn in hiring in Biglaw as of October 2022. Yes, there are areas that have experienced a slowdown – capital markets for one, and certain firms “overhired” during 2021 in corporate, M&A specifically – but there are other sectors that remain strong or that are “heating up” – real estate, litigation and bankruptcy for instance. Some firms have implemented a hiring freeze, but this has certainly not been a market trend. The takeaway is that for the “best and brightest” candidates, while such perks as huge signing bonuses like we saw in 2021 may not be the norm, opportunities abound.
Have a question of your own? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you with our take!