How to Market Your Law Firm to Potential Lateral Hires | \n

How to Market Your Law Firm to Potential Lateral Hires


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Marketing is now part and parcel of what it means to be successful with lateral recruitment, especially in a marketplace where the most coveted prospects want to know why they should join your law firm and not the one down the street. Consequently, it's up to you to devise ways to communicate your firm's uniqueness. In order to effectively market your firm, you must first develop a plan to:
How to Market Your Law Firm to Potential Lateral Hires
  • Identify what you're trying to sell to attract talent.
  • Define and segment your markets, so you can go after the kinds of people who would be attracted to your firm.
  • Develop an image and message that will stand out to prospects.
  • Select the proper media to deliver your firm's message.
  • Develop a budget.
  • Benchmark and measure successes.
To get started:
  • Think about your recruiting/marketing plan. A well-crafted marketing plan should include:
  • Long term goals, such as improving retention rates, increasing diversity, etc.
  • Objectives, which are usually short-term and measurable, such as having a specific percentage of students from the top 10 law schools.
  • Activities, which concern who will do what by when, and estimating costs.
  • Do your homework. This means conducting research to prepare your firm's means of differentiation. BCG Attorney Search points out that there are many places you can look for information, including:
  • Web sites, local publications, and industry surveys.
  • Focus groups where prospects offer insights on why they did or did not choose your firm.
  • One-on-one interviews with partners.
  • Alumni contacts.
  • Dare to be different. There are three primary strategies for differentiation: 1. Price. 2. Niche. 3. Other distinctions particular to your firm, perhaps based on environment, training, culture, or the like.
  • Develop a recruiting message and overall image, or evaluate the one you have in place. The more focused the better, BCG Attorney Search says. Instead of saying, "We do all the same things the other guys do," focus on what you do better. Or what you do that they don't. Work with your marketing department, so your message is savvy and directed at prospects," and use your message or image consistently in all your marketing media. If your firm has a brand, make sure this, too, is consistent. Branding your recruiting efforts and should make your firm instantly recognizable to talent.
  • Understand what your "buyers" value. Students actually have a two-part decision process. The first part involves a quick evaluation of where they want to live, and the second focuses on the nature of the firm and what makes it distinct. Consequently, If you're using your brochure to talk about your city, you probably don't have to. Find out what prospects generally are looking for when they pick up your materials or log on to your law firm's Web site.
  • Emphasize your firm's individual strengths. Too many law firms send the same old, generalized message to prospects and get lost in the shuffle as a result. Again, it's all about differentiation. And remember, don't say your firm offers or values things that it doesn't. "You have what you have. Students get the message just by looking at the order in which you put things in your [recruiting] materials. If you say, 'pro bono is important/ but put one little line on the last page, they'll get that it's not important.
  • Let your best qualities shine. If your research reveals too many less-than-positive attributes, you may have to consider repositioning the firm. You can change people's perceptions. It's not that hard, so long as [the characterization is] based on real information. But if you're saying, 'We're not a sweatshop/ and the summer associates are going back to school and saying, 'You can't believe the hours these people work/ then you've got a problem.
  • Be prepared to stand behind your claims of differentiation. You must be able to prove whatever you emphasize to prospects. Offer examples of firm policies, drill partner/ interviewers on how to help sell the firm's brand, and discuss the firm's uniqueness in recruiting materials. Remember, too, that it's essential to get members of your team on the same page. Attorney/interviewers, career services offices, summer associates, and firm alumni can make or break your efforts.
  • Target your audience through phone calls, letters, dinners, invitations to meet with your partners, etc.
  • Develop your budget. Although many firms start here, the budget should be the final step in the process. "You should be walking through your marketing program, figuring out what it is you want to do, and then you can figure out what it's going to cost."
  • To quantify results, look back to your original objectives. If, for instance, your objective was to improve the quality of new hires, then you must have a means of measurement—perhaps aggregate GPA, law school status, law review participation, new hire diversity, turnover, or the like. Whatever it was you challenged yourself to do at the start, you'll need to put in place ways to measure it.
Interested in Learning More About Legal Hiring? Read the Definitive Guide:

How to Hire a Legal Recruiter for Your Law Firm: How Law Firms Recruit Attorneys Using Legal Recruiters

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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