Considering making a change?
Finding the right next platform for you isn’t something you should have to do alone — especially not while staying on top of everything at your current firm and making time for family and friends.
That’s where a legal recruiter comes in.
Recruiters can be an excellent resource for rainmakers looking for a career change, helping you narrow down your search parameters, connect with key players in the legal job market, and develop or refine your business plan.
However, the first step in finding your exact right perfect-fit law firm is finding your exact right perfect-fit legal recruiter.
Trying to work with a recruiter who isn’t putting your best interests first can be a frustrating waste of time and energy. So, interview them to ensure that they put you first, rather than themselves or law firms. If you are happy with the answers, you are talking to the right recruiter.
If you’re considering working with a legal recruiter, here are the top five questions we think you should ask (and the answers you should look for).
How do you identify candidate needs?
Many lawyers are deeply unhappy with their work. In fact, the American Bar Association’s National Task Force on Lawyer Wellbeing found that lawyers suffer much higher rates of depression and anxiety than the general population.
In our experience, their discontent is often due to being at the wrong firm. But that doesn’t mean that the firm is terrible; it means that the fit is wrong.
The experience for any individual partner can be very different from one firm to the next. You need a firm that supports you and empowers you in what you want to do with your clients and career.
So you need a recruiter that does the work to understand your needs. They should have a set process allowing them to get to know you. This can feel like work; we talk with candidates at length about the things that are on their “wish list” and have candidates complete a comprehensive business plan, which can take a couple of hours. But it is a small amount of work in exchange for a life you love.
A recruiter can’t find the right fit if they don’t understand your needs. So, when talking to any recruiter, ensure their approach starts with your needs. At Gillman Strategic Group, your needs are central to everything we do.
How do you prioritize me over the firm?
You deserve a recruiter that puts you first.
There is nothing wrong with recruiters having relationships with firms or helping firms fill positions. We have close relationships with many firms, and they do call us to ask “if we know somebody who may be interested…”
Our contacts understand one fundamental aspect of our approach: We are “candidate-facing,” not “firm-facing.”
Candidate versus firm-facing is an important distinction. You want your needs, wishes, and desires to be front and center; once that is clear, you can search for the right firm.
There are many different types of firms and an almost infinite variety of work situations. The “happiness challenge” is to find the right one for you, not shoehorn you into the next available position.
At Gillman Strategic Group, we have built our entire practice around making candidates happy. We prioritize you by understanding your needs and searching for firms based on your needs rather than the other way around.
Whether you work with us or not, you should work with a candidate-facing recruiter.
Who pays you?
One problem with recruiters or advisors who claim to be candidate-facing is that they send you a bill.
You should not pay a recruiter, whether they prioritize you, the firm, or your cat: the firms pay.
Keep this in mind: firms are happy to pay a fee for a great new partner who brings a book of business to them or fills an expertise need.
The firm increases its revenue and profit by adding you to its partnership, so recruiter fees are just a cost of doing business.
So, be sure you know exactly how they get paid. At Gillman Strategic Group, the firms pay us money; you pay us by being happy.
What will you do for me?
You are busy. You have clients to work with, meetings to have, hours to bill, and confidentiality to maintain. You don’t have time to vet firms.
So you need a recruiter who does the leg work. They should not interview you, adjust your resume and make an introduction. They should support you in every step of the process.
At Gillman Strategic Group, we are as involved as you want. The way we work is to do everything for you except go to the interview. If we could figure out a way to interview for you, we’d probably offer it.
But you will likely always want to get to know your future partners yourself.
The rest, though: from finding firms to negotiating your deal, we are with you every step of the way.
How do you ensure confidentiality?
You must manage your search carefully. If the wrong people find out about your search at the wrong time, you can end up losing clients and alienating partners.
Your recruiter should treat your identity carefully and make every effort to keep information about your search as private as possible.
At Gillman Strategic Group, we do this by managing the process for you. We vet firms and have initial conversations, so you don’t have to. We share information about you to gauge interest before we share who you are. Confidentiality is essential to our candidates, and we take it very seriously.
The Gillman Strategic Group’s approach to recruiting
We always put candidates first, have a straightforward process to understand your needs, and do as much for you as possible while maintaining confidentiality and collecting our fee from the firm.
That is how we work.
I started my business to give lawyers the support they deserve in finding happiness in their careers. I was tired of recruiters who treated lawyers like a paycheck rather than human beings looking for a better situation.
Our process almost always leads to multiple firm options for our candidates, so that the hardest decision is choosing between great opportunities.
And we are with you every step of the way; we’ll help you ensure you get your exact perfect fit firm opportunity.
I’d love to work with you. But, whether you work with us or not, be sure you find a recruiter that supports you the way you deserve to be supported.
What do you hear more? Let’s talk! Schedule a call here.