A. Harrison Barnes - Best Legal Recruiter - BCGSearch.com

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Harrison Barnes Managing Director
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23410 Civic Center Way, Suite E-10, Malibu, CA, 90265
p 213-895-7300  |  f 213-895-7306  |  toll-free 800-298-6440

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Juris Doctor, University of Virginia Law School
Bachelor of Arts, University of Chicago

Harrison Barnes is one of the world’s most successful, respected and sought-after legal recruiters. With thousands of placements under his belt, contacts in every echelon of the legal world, an uncanny ability to draw out the best in his candidates, and a tireless drive to not quit, Mr. Barnes is the guy you go to when you need a legal job. He truly is an example of what an outstanding legal recruiter should be.

He founded BCG Attorney Search in 2000 after his own experience with recruiters left him disillusioned. Fifteen years later, BCG is a leader in the industry with offices throughout the country. BCG’s number one core value is “We Must Get Attorneys Jobs” and the company averages more than one placement a day. Mr. Barnes and his BCG team place more attorneys in law firm jobs than any other recruiting firm in the world.

Mr. Barnes is so devoted to his mission that along with BCG Attorney Search he has created a network of over 500 technologically-advanced and research-based companies and websites geared toward helping lawyers and professionals find jobs. His companies collectively comprise the largest legal career company in the world and include LawCrossing, a job board that has been twice-listed on the Inc. 500; Hound, a job site that aggregates employer listings and was recognized by PC Magazine as one of the world’s top 20 job sites; and Legal Authority, a career marketing firm for attorneys.

A prolific author on everything related to getting a job as an attorney and succeeding in the legal profession, Mr. Barnes writes a daily career-advice blog that circulates to 800,000 readers. He and his companies also publish a host of books, including BCG's Guide to America's Top 50 Law Schools; BCG’s Comprehensive Guide for Law Firm Partners; BCG’s Guide to Practice Areas; Attorney Resume Secrets Revealed; and The Perfect Legal Job Search Book.

Mr. Barnes went to college at the University of Chicago, where he earned his B.A. in Public Policy Studies and was awarded multiple academic honors. He attended law school at the University of Virginia, where he was an editor of the Virginia Law Review and managing editor of the Journal of Law and Politics. At Chicago, Mr. Barnes co-taught a college-level class on race and society.

After law school, Mr. Barnes clerked for United States District Judge Robert H. Cleland in Bay City, Michigan. Then he headed to Los Angeles and worked as a litigation associate at both Quinn Emanuel Urquart Oliver & Sullivan and Dewey Ballantine. He also taught professional responsibility at Whittier Law School, an experience that ultimately inspired him to elevate the ethical standards of the recruiting profession by implementing BCG’s Code of Conduct.

While at Dewey, Mr. Barnes found himself at a career crossroads. He turned to several legal recruiting firms to help him consider career options and find a new job. But he was dismayed to realize that these firms did not seem to care about him or his future, could not identify even a fraction of the leads Mr. Barnes found on his own, and would not return phone calls. They also sent out letters and candidate materials riddled with typos and inaccurate information. Mr. Barnes felt he – and other attorneys who had worked so hard and had so much to offer – deserved better. So he founded Barrister Consulting Group (now called BCG Attorney Search) and found his calling as a legal recruiter.

Mr. Barnes has true passion for helping attorneys get jobs. Even more, he genuinely wants to help his candidates find fulfillment in every aspect of their lives. He spends a great deal of time helping clients figure out what career path makes the most sense for them from both a professional and personal standpoint. Mr. Barnes believes that his job is to advocate for his attorney-clients with the same zeal and tenacity that his clients advocate for their clients. He works tirelessly – leaving no stone unturned or angle unconsidered – until each and every candidate secures the job that best matches his or her unique skills, experiences and mindset.

Through Mr. Barnes’ leadership, BCG has set itself apart from other recruiting firms. For one thing, BCG specializes in law firm placements and does not handle in-house or contract assignments. BCG recruiters devote all their energy to mastering law firms and have unparalleled expertise in, and connections with, law firms of all kinds and sizes throughout the world. There is simply no other recruiting firm anywhere that knows law firms like BCG.

Because Mr. Barnes demands excellence in everything he does, he hires recruiters who have similar expectations of themselves and their work product. Most BCG recruiters are attorneys with degrees from top-tier schools and either worked as lawyers or recruiters in premiere firms such as SNR Denton, Baker & McKenzie, Goodwin Procter, Paul Hastings, Latham & Watkins, Skadden Arps, Kirkland & Ellis, King & Spalding, and others.

The BCG culture is marked by collegiality and a sense of purpose. The common goal is getting attorneys jobs and Mr. Barnes personally mentors each new hire. Recruiters participate in weekly roundtables to exchange information and benefit from frequent coaching and evaluation sessions. They stay active in the legal community by writing articles, meeting with law firms and attending networking events. Each year, the recruiters reconnect, brainstorm, and hone skills at the week long BCG College.

But not even the most dedicated recruiter can do it alone, and that’s why the company employs hundreds of professional researchers, writers, designers and proofreaders who work behind the scenes to make sure BCG candidates have the competitive edge when it comes to their job searches. BCG has a data scientist on staff whose job it is to follow legal market trends. The company has over 100 researchers who comb through every law firm employment possibility in every market across the globe. Staff writers, designers and proofreaders ensure that each cover letter and candidate package lands on the hiring partner’s desk in the most thorough, compelling, and flawless manner possible.

Thanks to Mr. Barnes’ high expectations and commitment to creating the infrastructure necessary for world-class job searches, as a BCG client you will never worry that your recruiter will miss an opportunity, fail to return your phone call promptly, treat you with disrespect, or send out your materials with typos.

In addition to his other professional activities, Mr. Barnes is a frequent lecturer on recruiting issues and has been retained as an expert witness in court cases involving the legal market. Many law schools use Mr. Barnes’ writings in classes for their students. For example, Professor William Henderson, the Indiana University School of Law professor who was named National Jurist Magazine’s 2015 most influential person, has used Mr. Barnes’ articles about law firms as part of the curriculum for his law school classes.

Mr. Barnes has always had a knack for helping people assimilate into different environments, overcome obstacles and achieve success. He had to do it himself as the son of a single, working mother growing up in the Detroit area. Though far from wealthy or privileged, Mr. Barnes attended the Cranbrook Schools, an elite preparatory school in Michigan. In the summers, he paved asphalt to pay for college, and he learned how to fit in and excel in that environment too.

Mr. Barnes’ mother spent her career as an investigator for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. He watched her fight for people that were discriminated against, fired and unemployable due to their race, sexual orientation, gender, handicaps, social class and other handicaps. Seeing first-hand the ways people were held back in society by others preconceptions of them, but how fighting for them could make a difference, this instilled in a desire in Mr. Barnes to fight for the underdog.

Whether it is a partner with $3-million in business trying to move into a firm that requires $5-million, or someone without the “right” law school or other credentials trying to move into a better firm, Mr. Barnes has an innate desire to fight for people who are trying to better themselves and become something more. He understands the social dynamics entailed with “not quite” being good enough—because he has witnessed this and grew up surrounded by and part of this—and he fights tirelessly for people trying to better themselves.

When you become part of BCG Attorney Search, you quickly see how Mr. Barnes will try instill in you the need to become something more, not be held back and be the person you were meant to be. BCG Attorney Search is a different type of attorney recruiting firm. It is one of substance and one that wants you to be everything that you are capable of being. It is about awakening the power that is within you so that the good and power inside of you can come out and make you everything you were meant to be.

Eventually, Mr. Barnes started a paving contracting business and hired his workers from the inner city and from drug rehabilitation centers. He enjoyed mentoring these men who sought to “repave their lives” as much as he enjoyed running the company. Still today, a highpoint of Mr. Barnes’ recruiting work is helping people get back on their feet and negotiate the complex and daunting world of law firms. Nothing brings a smile to Mr. Barnes’ face like watching a candidate succeed in law and in life!

In his free time, Mr. Barnes surrounds himself with positive activities, energies and influences. He practices Kundalini yoga and has studied yoga with masters in India. He has been business associates with world-renowned motivational speaker Tony Robbins and was the former Chief Technology Officer at Business Breakthroughs International (BBI). BBI was a business consulting and strategy firm founded by Tony Robbins and Mr. Barnes' late friend and mentor Chet Holmes. Holmes and Robbins are considered two of the most influential business coaches in the world. BBI offered a full range of business services for owners and executives at every level. In addition, Mr. Barnes has spoken at Tony Robbins events and written business books.

A dedicated athlete, Mr. Barnes runs eight miles a day and also swims in his pool and the ocean. He enjoys traveling and reading business and history books.

Mr. Barnes is married to Claudia Barnes, an intellectual property attorney he met when she came to BCG as a candidate. Mrs. Barnes is now BCG’s manager and a dedicated legal recruiter in her own right. The couple has three daughters, a Labrador retriever, a hyacinth macaw parrot and a tortoise. They live in Malibu, California.

Articles Contributed

Legal Career Advice

Legal Job Interviews/Offers

Getting a Legal Job

Being the Best Attorney

About Legal Recruiters

About BCG Attorney Search

Employer Resources

Sales and Goal Setting

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  • Harrison,

    ''I really appreciate your daily columns. After being stressed out about being unemployed since February, I just accepted a wonderful offer that I am really excited about by following your advice. Thank you so much, and I want you to know that your efforts have a concrete effect on people's lives.''

    - S. A.
  • Dear Harrison,

    Thank you for your email below, which is extremely helpful.

    I didn't expect that you can be so kind as to show me the right path for the start of my career. This attests to the high ethinical standard and professionalism of you and your firm. I will try to spread the good words about your firm among my peers in my future career and hopefully we can cooperate somewhere down the road.

    Thank you again.


  • Good information for these in uncertain times you might need when the unthinkable happens and you are now unemployed. Respect the process, it matters. In law school the professors called "the process" "…learning to think like a lawyer…"

  • Your essays show a rare level of maturity, insight and professionalism that is missing too often from the business of law. Thanks for sharing them.

    -Shelley Ewalt
  • Exceedingly good life information for everyone.

    -Thomas J. Kesoilts
  • You've got great stories. Thank you for sharing them, they're really helpful, not just for my law search, but for life and dealing with people.


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