When it comes to recruiting, law firms get as much out of their efforts as they put into them. As a result, is it a surprise to hear partners complain that their firms are not attracting as much top talent as they once did.
The current reality is that fewer law firm leaders or rainmaking partners make the time to participate in recruitment efforts. Although senior partners can remember the days when marquee partners came to their law school campuses to recruit, most high profile partners today are too busy managing important client relationships to market their star status on law school campuses.
Law firms need to recognize that this choice negatively impacts their ability to hire the best talent. When firms send a senior associate or a first-year partner instead of a leading, senior partner to a recruiting event, they give applicants the impression that their firm does not take recruiting star talent seriously. This, in turn, causes prospective hires to question how much personalized attention the firm will invest in their professional growth and development. It also begs the question, when it comes to recruiting, whose job is it anyway?
When law firms get large enough, they delegate their recruiting efforts to administrators who plan and organize events as well as develop important relationships with law school faculty members and career services center personnel. Unfortunately, the administrators' ability to make an impact is undercut when star partners don't show up at recruiting events. When this happens, a second choice replacement is sent to represent the firm. While any presence is better than none at all, recruiting efforts that don't include senior or high profile partners will not help a firm win the war for talent.