The Recruiter-Law Firm Relationship |

The Recruiter-Law Firm Relationship


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The first and most important step of the legal-recruiting process, building long-term client relationships with law firms, is too often ignored or underestimated by many recruiters. Strong relationships are what allow a firm to trust a recruiter with its hiring decisions and are actually critical to any recruiter's effectiveness. Building this trust is far more rewarding than making an individual deal or placement, although it often takes much more effort and consideration for the client's needs. To this end, a good recruiter must always look to deepen its business relationships into partnerships and take into account whether an attorney he/she represents will benefit that attorney's partners as much as that attorney's placement will benefit his/her own interests.
The recruiter-law firm relationship

The trusted recruiter is a direct extension of a law firm, and the success of that firm must be the first consideration when submitting any candidates to enter its hiring process. By recognizing that a firm stands or falls on the quality of its lawyers, the recruiter reinforces the quality and scale of its relationships by also understanding that this same rule applies regarding the quality of his/her services and the reputation of the search firm that he/she represents.

In the reality of today's economy, a recruiter must recognize and understand the law firm's hesitation to explore legal-search firms for its hiring needs. A pivotal element of any recruiter's success is to understand that his/her growth is tied in with his/her clients' growth. The day of moving one lateral from one firm to the next is, in essence, a thing of the past. The industry has changed dramatically, and so have economics. Firms today are not merely interested in filling a position, but also in shaping a more productive legal structure for the future. At the end of the day, a recruiter's overall fulfillment should be the ability to say that he/she made a substantial enhancement in the careers of his/her candidates by assisting their clients in building a great firm that is able to attract, develop, excite, and retain exceptional lawyers to better serve its clients.

An important aspect is how a recruiter sets him/herself apart from the competition. What can one say to a particular client that has not already been said by his/her competitor?

Forget about cookies, a fancy fruit basket, or candy. The single-greatest factor driving effective client relationships, including sales effectiveness, is the level of trust in the relationship. In order to achieve this, a recruiter must recognize the ability to strengthen his/her client-relationship skills without necessarily focusing on the sale. Office Administrators and Managing Partners are totally put off by a recruiter who lacks passion, confidence, expertise, and knowledge about his/her profession and who merely approaches the business with thoughts of a "sale" or a "placement."

In order to establish the foundation and platform for a long-term relationship, a recruiter must first establish trust. A true and loyal client is one who believes in you (the recruiter) and who ultimately believes that you have an interest in the firm's overall success. A recruiter must understand the Office Administrator, Recruiting Coordinator, or Managing Partner as a person as well as a client. By sharing with your client appropriate information about one's own personal and professional backgrounds, the recruiter places both the client and the recruiter on common ground. In doing so, the client recognizes not only the recruiter's understanding and appreciation for the intricacies of the legal market in which we operate, the firm's culture, and overall practice, but an understanding of the recruiter as a person as well. In cultivating and nurturing this relationship, the firm will ultimately see that making the right hiring decisions is clearly vital to the firm's future and that it now has a new member of its legal family to assist it in fulfilling that objective.

Building professional client relationships that add value to the firm can lead to long-term, profitable, and personal relationships and an expansion of the firm's business and that of the recruiter and/or search firm. This competency involves building a solid, mutually respectful partnership, delivering service that exceeds the expectations of the client and building and expanding both business and personal long-term relationships.

Remember one thing: The recruiter with the best relationship will get that firm's business over and over again! Extraordinary success is only as far away as the kind of investments you make in your relationships with your clients. Remember that the legal arena is small, but your reputation is far greater. For every investment you make in any potential relationship, that investment with that one client may lead to future referrals to other firms, increased value in the eyes of your client, retained searches or possibly exclusives, and finally, increased revenue.

See the following articles for more information:

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,, and, 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

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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