Skeptical Partner Considers Working with a Recruiter |

Skeptical Partner Considers Working with a Recruiter


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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.


I am a partner at a mid to large size firm. I have done well and have a decent book of portable business. I frequently receive calls from headhunters trying to move me to another firm. Generally I avoid these calls. I am busy, happy with my firm, and I not into take the risk of moving my practice. I see little difference between my firm and the opportunities being pitched by the headhunters who call. However, given the current economic situation and the difficulty my firm has had recruiting in related practice areas, I am reviewing my situation. I know a lot of people at various firms in my area of expertise. What would the benefit to me be of spending time working with a recruiter? It's my impression that for the most part, you are just out to make a buck with little thought or understanding of what might motivate me to be more open minded.
Skeptical partner considers working with a recruiter


There are different styles to recruiting, just as there are in the practice in law. I don't object when someone refers to me as a ''headhunter'' but I see a distinction between a headhunter and a professional recruiter. At BCG Attorney Search, we fall into the latter category. A professional recruiter usually calls for one of two reasons, either of which might be helpful to your success in the short or long term:
Number One- Ours is a relationship driven business. We make calls to introduce ourselves and get to know a little about you so that over time we can develop a positive relationship with you. As your practice matures and the market changes or develops, we will have an established rapport with you. By investing in learning about you as an individual and as an attorney, we learn about your practice, personality, and the strengths and weaknesses of your current platform. This information allows us to identify and alert you to opportunities that you might have an interest in as we work with clients in executing their strategic growth plans. Many attorneys take the time to speak to us for a few minutes from time to time, particularly when they like the demeanor of an individual recruiter or are impressed by how much they know about a practice discipline or the competition. I am sure you've noticed there are a range of styles out there and you may find yourself opening up more to one person than another, which is a good indicator of who to seek out or spend a few minutes chatting with. By developing a relationship with a couple of recruiters that you like, you can stay on top of the market, get information about what is going on at other firms, and stay informed. When you take stock at various points in your career of your practice and goals, you will have established a level of trust over time that can come in handy at some point.

Number Two- Ours is a relationship driven business. We often have ties to particular clients and work closely with them. Frequently when we sit down with a client at the beginning of a search, we discuss what sorts of traits and skills a client is seeking in building or developing a practice area. For clients with whom we have developed a strong relationship, we often do targeted searches. This means we are entrusted by the client to convey more substantive information about a firm or practice to a handpicked list of pre-identified prospective candidates. If you receive one of these calls, it means that we conducted research for the client and have sat down together to discuss the profiles of select attorneys. The client has already expressed interest in speaking with you and directed us to contact you at their request. If you take no other recruiter calls, should you a recruiter indicate they are calling on behalf of a particular client at the firm's bequest, take the call. It's nice to be wanted and this is a great opportunity to take an inventory of your present situation. It offers you a chance to compare where you are to another platform in depth. You may talk to the firm pursuing you and decide to move or you may ''re-choose'' your current firm. At a minimum you will learn some interesting things about another practice or firm and/or make some new contacts in your practice industry that could be useful at another point in your practice or career.

Regarding your comment that we are in it to ''make a buck'', yes this is how we earn our living and obviously there is a financial profit if you make a lateral move. But not all of us are mercenary in our efforts. Those of us who are in recruiting for the long haul take look at our work in a bigger picture, and just like any sort of business development, we approach it with a service oriented mentality because our reputation and credibility on the line. Those two things are extremely important to success in any field, so it is in our interests to work towards a positive outcome for our candidates and clients and for them to have a favorable experience working with us. Much of our business comes from referrals or additional opportunities clients give us to work on searches and just like attorneys we want a lasting relationship with our candidates and clients.

A professional recruiter can be an outstanding resource to any attorney. When the timing is right, we provide a wealth of information and insight into various firms. We act as your advocate and counselor in researching and comparing practices to find the one that has the elements that have the keys need for your success and work to thoroughly identify firms whose platforms will support the attainment of your goals. You never know whether an opportunity may be transformational in terms of elevating your practice unless you listen and talk with those recruiters that present themselves with knowledge and professionalism.

See the following articles for more information:
    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,, 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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