Why Do It Yourself? | BCGSearch.com

Why Do It Yourself?


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BCG Attorney Search is a legal placement firm and not a legal recruiting firm. There is a huge difference. Read more about this here.

The do-it-yourself home-improvement craze is spreading. From painting to flooring, more and more people are embracing the idea that they can do it themselves. Since we're in the business of career improvement, so to speak, we wondered whether there is a renewed interest in do-it-yourself job hunting. In other words, does it pay to handle your own job search?
Why do it yourself?

As an initial matter, recruiting firms cannot be responsive to each and every lawyer. For example, independent recruiters do not handle entry-level searches; that type of recruiting is often done directly at the law school level. Depending on a lawyer's background and the goals for his/her search, his/her resume may or may not be attractive to recruiting searches. For an individual who has the type of background that is well suited to one or more positions handled by a recruiting firm, then there are few, if any, times when it would benefit that lawyer to do it him/herself when it comes time to apply to firms.
One of the most important functions of a good recruiter is to serve as a consultant. As you approach the job market, isn't information the single most important resource? On your own, how do you know who is looking? How do you know whether you will be considered? If you have some information that certain firms are looking, where are they in the hiring process? It is important to understand that there are nuances in the job market that can affect a job search in subtle or dramatic ways. Although through contacts, friends, and colleagues, it is often possible to glean some information about one or two firms that may prove interesting, do you understand the market as a whole? A good recruiter explains the entire playing field, not just one or two players.

Having access to all the information an informed recruiter has (recruiters at BCG update themselves daily on breaking legal news, firm personnel transitions, and relevant business trends) in and of itself mandates using a recruiter. Later, we will also illustrate why most firms prefer to use recruiters for their candidate searches, even though there is a fee involved. The easiest way to address the "DIY" question from the job seeker's side is to give examples of situations where candidates may understandably believe that they are better off handling their own job searches. That is rarely the case, however.

Example 1: You know your dream firm. The single-biggest mistake we see is candidates who approach their ideal employers at the wrong time. Why does it matter? It matters because in most circumstances, if the firm is not interested in a lawyer with your experience, credentials, and level of expertise, they will reject (or disregard) your resume. Furthermore, you may have just wasted your shot at interviewing with that firm. Some firms (not necessarily all), once they reject a candidate, will not reconsider that candidate. I encourage you to think about that for a minute. If you approach a firm on your own before understanding whether that firm has a need for someone with your background, you may be rejected. If it does need someone with your expertise at a later date, it will have a record that you have already been rejected. Thus, the difference may have only been timing. A good recruiter will submit you only when you have a good shot at getting an interview. A really good recruiter will be able to use his/her insight and contacts to arrange to submit you at a time when the consideration you receive will be optimal.

Example 2: You know your target audience. Many lawyers rationalize that they know they only want to work for a 10- to 20-person firm that practices a certain type of law. Knowing the universe of firms that fit that demographic in his/her city, the lawyer will simply target those firms on his/her own. The problem? In addition to the timing problem described above, which cannot be understated, you may miss out on opportunities. When a lawyer targets firms based on demographic information, he/she may miss out on firms that are outside of that demographic, but that would be excellent places for him/her. I hear that lawyers want to go to smaller environments or mid-sized firms or white-shoe firms. I always investigate why it is they perceive that those types of environments suit them. More compensation or more responsibility? More flexibility or better opportunities for business development? The point is that generalizations are just that, and with a recruiter, you may very well discover that your job is with a firm that you wouldn't have initially considered.

Example 3: You know that if you could just explain to the firm how much you wanted the job, it would interview you. Although a smashing resume with on-point experience is a great start, explaining the motivations behind approaching a particular firm or explaining anomalies in your background may make the difference in whether or not you get an interview. In the overwhelming majority of cases, a lawyer isn't in a position to advocate his/her own case to a firm. In fact, it may be difficult for a candidate to even follow up and get a status on his/her candidacy. Recruiters are different. BCG is happy to report relationships with firms that are based on providing information on our candidates and advocating for them. Firms and recruiters often have relationships that are based, in part, on making sure that the firm is properly considering and recruiting the right types of lawyers for their jobs. Simply put, most firms do not have relationships with individuals who approach them for jobs. We heard a story about a large firm that held a reception for young lawyers in order to tell these lawyers about how great it was to work there. When many of these attendees applied, they received no response of any kind. No phone calls were returned. This firm works with BCG and makes decisions on their candidates generally within a two-week period.

Why is it, then, that firms seem to be more responsive to recruiters when recruiters cost them money? It's actually a fairly straightforward answer: Good recruiters provide value to law firms, which is well worth recruiting fees for any particular hire. One firm recently gave BCG two jobs and informed us that there were only two other recruiters they would trust with the searches. One of the benefits, the firm told us, is it knew it would only receive quality candidates. Therefore, recruiters streamline the hiring process so that firms are not paying internal personnel to filter through resumes received from other sources.

Some firms do receive resumes from sources outside recruiters, of course. Even so, BCG recently met with one hiring coordinator who showed us her laptop. She said that she had 160 resumes from attorneys who had applied on their own and she had only a 40-minute break to consider all of them. She could recite almost from memory, however, the applicants through BCG. Which candidates are getting the best consideration in that instance?

There are at least two more examples demonstrating the utility of recruiters to the hiring process. One large New York firm contacted our office to let us know that even though it was removing a particular job from its webpage's recruiting section, it was still active. The hiring partner, however, was discouraged by the caliber of attorneys applying for the position and wanted only those pre-screened by recruiters. In another instance, a boutique firm contacted BCG to handle a search, even though the webpage clearly stated that it did not want to be contacted by recruiters.

None of this is to suggest that it's impossible to get a job without a recruiter. That is certainly not the case. However, given the above examples, consider whether you would benefit from the consulting, the contacts, and the consideration of a recruiting firm such as BCG.

How much do legal recruiters make? Learn the answer in this related article.
See What Other Candidates Are Saying: Testimonials and Reviews
BCG Attorney Search is looking for driven recruiters to join our team. BCG Attorney Search covers the entire United States, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. We offer first-rate training and coaching, pay top of market commissions, pay our recruiters as employees and not independent contractors, and offer medical insurance and other benefits. Additionally, BCG is the best known brand in the industry and is part of a 200+ employee legal employment company. We offer a supportive cooperative atmosphere and provide you with everything you need to be the most effective recruiter possible (continually updated internal job database, massive advertising support, incredible back office support, and many other perks designed to ensure you match every possible candidate with every available position).

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog, HarrisonBarnes.com, and BCGSearch.com, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit www.BCGSearch.com.

Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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