Unfortunately, I’m often not the first recruiter the candidates I work with have talked to. They’ve almost always had experiences throughout their careers with recruiters trying to pressure them into taking roles that aren’t a good fit because they suit the recruiter’s needs rather than the candidate’s needs. 

If this sounds familiar and you are considering making a lateral move, how do you choose a recruiter? Should you even use one? Why not do it yourself? 

In this post, I explain why you should use a recruiter and help you determine whether the recruiter you’re using (or planning to use or have used) has your best interests at heart. 

So why use a recruiter anyway? 

I get it. You know lawyers, you know firms, and you know how to negotiate. 

Do you really need someone to find other firms and negotiate on your behalf? 

Here’s why you might: 

You may know law firms, but there are hundreds of firms out there that you don’t know. The only firms you are familiar with are the ones you’ve encountered in your career or through your network.

We know firms. We’ve assessed, tested, placed candidates, and talked to firms for years. They may say they support their lawyers, but we know whether it’s true. 

Since this is all we do, our list extends into the far reaches of the legal profession. Do you want to represent underwater basket weavers? We can find the firm. (Okay, maybe not underwater basket weavers, but you get the point). 

And when it comes to understanding the culture in detail and negotiating the best deal, we can go places you can’t. We can ask if they wear pink on Wednesdays or allow fish in the breakroom microwave. Some things may sound petty coming from you, but we can ask anything, and you can always distance yourself from our questions. 

The same thing goes for negotiation. You probably aren’t going to get a helicopter for your commute. We can ask, though, and you’ll always be able to say your recruiter went rogue. 

We also know what’s reasonable and what’s not. We’ve been paying attention to the legal market while you’ve been solving client problems. That’s how we know helicopters are unlikely—but working from home? Marketing dollars? More associates? Origination credit? There’s a lot more we can ask for. 

The question you should ask is whether the recruiter is representing you

Your lateral partner recruiter should get paid the same no matter where you end up. 

So they should never pressure you into one situation or another. If you are with a recruiter who sends you to 20 firms and pressures you to make a decision, you are with the wrong recruiter. 

Making one list may be easier for them, but this is your career and life. Nobody should pressure you to move. You should feel supported, not pressured. 

I’m so passionate about this that I’m clear with my team that even if we go through a long list of firms, if your best option is to stay where you are, you should stay. We don’t pressure you to move. 

There are a lot more than 20 firms out there. If your perfect firm isn’t in the first 20, you should move on to the next 20. 

(As an aside, that rarely happens to us because we listen. We have a stellar track record of finding a strong list of potential firms the first time around.) 

Is your recruiter listening to your needs? 

If you told your recruiter that you need a bigger marketing budget and they showed you an offer with $10,000 for marketing, they didn’t listen. 

If you want to stop the apology tour and they promote a firm that works ridiculous hours and never stops for anything, they didn’t listen. 

When you talk to recruiters, ask them to repeat your needs back to you, can they? (Actually, they should do this without you even having to ask, but if they don’t, ask). 

You need, you deserve, a recruiter that listens. 

Ask your recruiter why they propose each firm

We are very specific with our recommendations. We look carefully at your needs and what the firms have to offer and suggest a match. 

We don’t always get it right the first time, but we can always explain why we chose the firms we did. This lets you adjust our course and ensure we’re looking for the right things. 

So, ask your recruiter why they chose the firms they chose. Why do they think a firm is a good fit for you? Does that explanation make sense? Do they listen when you explain that you need something different? 

If not, find another recruiter. 

See, the lateral partner recruiting process is about you.

Lateral partner recruiting is about making lateral partners, you, happy in their careers. The firm shouldn’t matter; there are no positions that we’re filling; the process is about matching your needs with what a firm offers. 

You should never feel pressured to move and always feel heard and supported. That’s the only way to ensure you get the results you want from the change you are about to make. 

Contact me here if you are unsure and want to talk to someone who will listen. I’m available and here to support you. 

No matter whom you work with, I want you to find your exact right perfect fit firm.