“The most memorable placements are the life changing ones. The times when I’ve tripled an attorney’s salary or placed them in a position where they were able to move closer to their end goal – whether it’s the city they’re in, becoming partner of a firm or working at a specific company – I like knowing I had a hand in changing someone’s life.”
Born and raised in New York City to a family of immigrant entrepreneurs, Katherine Loanzon was born to make dreams come true. She spent her childhood summers at her family’s Chinese bakery in New York’s Chinatown, a family business her grandfather started when he emigrated from southern China. Today, Katherine is a Managing Director at Kinney Recruiting, where she matches attorneys to law firm and in-house opportunities in New York and nationwide. “I really enjoy providing career advice that will genuinely advance an attorney’s career. In this industry, you can’t help every attorney who comes to you. Not all advice is something that an attorney will be open to receiving initially, but I always try my best to guide them so that they eventually end up in a position that will fulfill their needs and aspirations.”
After graduating from high school, Katherine attended New York University where she earned her BA in Romance Languages. Her studies, partnered with a melting-pot backdrop of New York City, sparked her wanderlust and she soon set off to study abroad, living in Spain and Italy. Shortly after graduating, she applied for law school and simultaneously earned a certificate that allowed her to teach English as a second language to recent immigrants in New York City. With that in her pocket, Katherine moved to Tokyo where she taught English to Japanese university students before heading home for law school. “Growing up in an entrepreneurial environment, I felt that going to law school would give me skills to navigate the professional world. It would teach me how to think analytically and generally navigate the legal system – useful tools to add to my toolkit. My parents were very encouraging because they not-so-secretly wanted to have a lawyer in the family, which was useful because we had a family business. While English is my first language, I grew up in a household where Cantonese and English were spoken interchangeably, so I saw the value in the strong communication skills law school can give you. My family’s encouragement sparked my interest in law, but it was the life skills that drew me to it.” She returned to New York City and went on to receive her JD from City University of New York School of Law and become a litigator at a small litigation firm.
In 2008, Katherine decided to temporarily trade litigation for lullabies, and she and her husband started a family. Shortly after her daughters were born, she began her solo practice where she advised startups and food businesses. In true full-circle style, Katherine even helped build a bakery in the West Village from scratch. After seven years of solo practice, Katherine debated returning to a law firm environment and mentioned that idea to a legal recruiter she had met. “I told him that I really enjoyed the hustle required of soloing but I no longer wanted to be in an environment where I was always looking for a way to one-up opposing counsel or have adversarial relationships. I wanted to be an advisor, and I had developed a passion for it.” Seeing something in Katherine she hadn’t yet seen in herself, the recruiter responded with, “I’ve got a better idea, consider recruiting!”
That interaction turned Katherine toward recruiting, a career she hadn’t really considered and didn’t know much about. “I had this perception that the only time I would come across a legal recruiter was in a job posting and I didn’t really know what a career in recruiting looked like. It seemed so foreign to me as a profession because no one had ever mentioned how you actually become one. That’s when he finally pulled back the curtain and explained that, just like in every other job, you have to learn how to do it and that there are companies that will train you and teach you the basics. So that’s what I did.” Shortly after that fateful phone call, Katherine joined a New York legal recruitment agency, where she was an Attorney Search Director and Division Director. Being a top recruiter, and a natural at that, she was quickly promoted to a senior role in her office.
In 2018, Katherine joined Kinney Recruiting, and she hasn’t looked back. Kinney Recruiting’s market-leading infrastructure and global connections allow her to advise a diverse range of candidates and make her a part of a solid team of recruiters all working towards the same end goal – matching excellent candidates with excellent firms. Katherine is currently working with one of her favorite clients to find a corporate associate who wants to be part of a family-centered work environment, where attorneys and staff don’t compromise their family life for their clients. “One of my favorite clients is not an AmLaw firm, it’s a boutique firm with a special culture specific to New York City. The firm appreciates people with grit and a down-to-earth attitude. The attorneys there successfully service their clients, while also being able to devote time to their families, and this is something I see practiced from top-level management.” You can check that job out here.
“I think the key to being a good recruiter is being a good listener.” Katherine believes that attorneys should always stay curious and that the best firms are those that really listen to the needs of their attorneys. Katherine is a member of The Asian American Bar Association of New York, AABANY, an organization that is close to her heart. Not only did she meet her husband there, but she’s been involved with the organization since she was a law student. “I’ve been a part of AABANY for almost 20 years. It’s volunteer based, so whenever they ask me to help in their mentorship program or be a part of their panels, I always say ‘yes’. It’s my way of giving back to the community and helping advance junior attorneys’ careers. I’ve made very good friends through AABANY and getting involved has always been a great experience. People don’t forget the goodwill that you’ve built, how you’ve made them feel or how you’ve been able to help them.” This explains why Katherine’s advice to candidates is to start building relationships early. “Begin networking early in your career, not actually when you think you’ll need it, because relationships take years to build, as does credibility. Be open-minded and humble and form genuine connections with people. You never know where they will take you.”
With scores of placements made at Kinney Recruiting so far, Katherine isn’t slowing down anytime soon. And we probably couldn’t slow her down even if we tried. Katherine is in a city that she loves, doing a job that she loves: helping other attorneys find jobs they can love. That’s a whole lot of love.
If you would like to get in contact with Katherine, you can reach her at: email@example.com
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