How a Good Legal Recruiter Finds the Best in You and Communicates It to Employers: How to Define Your Unique Selling Proposition |

How a Good Legal Recruiter Finds the Best in You and Communicates It to Employers: How to Define Your Unique Selling Proposition


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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.

Summary: How does a good recruiter get their candidates differentiated? By creating a Unique Selling Proposition – or USP. Here’s how they do it.
Even though you may be a good candidate, it is also extremely important that you are differentiated from other candidates. Good recruiters distinguish their candidates from all the rest. A really exceptional recruiter makes their candidates special in the eyes of law firms.
Good Legal Recruiting and Your Unique Selling Proposition

You should always work with recruiters who understand this.

That is why using a recruiter is the single most effective way to get a job if the legal recruiter is good at their work. When a good legal recruiter is involved, the candidate can get many more interviews and job offers than they would if they sent themselves to firms on their own or used an average legal recruiter.

Through our presentation and packaging of our candidates, we have the ability to make our candidates stand out and get more offers.

Every Candidate Needs a Strong Unique Selling Proposition

How does a good recruiter get their candidates differentiated? By creating a Unique Selling Proposition - or USP.
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

A USP is that distinct and appealing idea that sets you favorably apart from every other candidate who is approaching the law firm either on their own or through another recruiting firm. The long-term successes our recruiters achieve for their candidates will, ultimately, be helped or hurt by the USP they decide upon for each candidate. See: The Kick Ass Marketing Secret of The Most Successful Job Applicants and Employees.

This is what good legal recruiting is all about.

The possibilities for building a USP are unlimited. It is best, however, to adopt a USP that dynamically addresses an obvious void other candidates for the position may have that a recruiter's candidate can honestly fill. Beware: It's actually counter-productive for a recruiter to adopt a USP if their candidate will not appear to fulfill the promise once they interview.

Most candidates represented on their own or through other recruiters don't have a USP, only a "me too," rudderless, nondescript, unappealing cover letter that feeds solely upon the sheer momentum of the law firm with an opening. There's nothing unique; there's nothing distinct. They promise no great value, benefit, or service - just "hire x candidate" for no justifiable, rational reason other than the candidate attended a good law school or has experience from a given law firm.

It's no surprise then that most recruiters, lacking the ability to attach a compelling USP to their candidates, merely get by. Their failure rate is high, their recruiters are apathetic and grasp at every straw, and they get only a small share of the potential business. But other than a recruiter's pedigree or the firm they worked for, why should any legal recruiter be in business or even practicing our profession if they fail to market their candidates in any appealing way, with unique features and abilities? Would you want to patronize a recruiting firm that's just "there," with no unique benefit, no ability to market your unique strengths, no especially comforting counsel, and no persuasive talents? Or would you prefer a firm that makes you appear to be a superstar fulfilling the law firm's hiring needs, the one with the most jobs, the best recruiters and recruiters who actually CARE about the work that they are doing, and the one that represents the "Rolls Royce" of attorneys?
With each candidate we represent, we reduce their USP to its sinewy bare essence.

Try it. With paper and pen, prepare a one-paragraph statement of your USP.

The USP is the hardest thing to write and generally goes into the summary section of our letters. It is the most important part of the letter. At first, you will have trouble expressing it tightly and specifically. It may take two or three paragraphs or more. That's okay.

Our recruiters ruthlessly edit away the generalities, and tenaciously focus on the crispest, clearest, most specific promise the candidate could possibly hold out. Then, they rework it and hack away the excess verbiage or hazy statements until they have a clearly defined, clearly apparent USP a law firm can immediately seize upon. And then, they integrate this USP into each paragraph of the letter, repeat it when they speak with law firms about their candidate, and drill this into their candidates as something they should talk about in interviews.

However, remember this axiom: You will not appeal to everybody. In fact, certain USPs are designed to appeal to only one segment of law firms. There is a vast gulf between law firms, and any USP probably can't reach them all. To our recruiters we ask, "Which do you want to stake out as your candidate's market niche?"

Our recruiters also analyze the market potential of various USP positions in terms of interviews and offers.

Immediately following a placement, we try to call or visit the law firms. During this follow-up effort, we do our best to see to it that the law firm feels important and special, and that they are "resold" on the value of the hire they just made. We repeat the candidate's USP and remind the law firm how it helped them make their hiring decision. We reassure law firms about their wise decisions, and show how the same USP that served them this time will be there to serve them in the future.

Good marketing requires that you give law firms rational reasons for their emotional hiring decision. There is a formula for success, and the USP related effectively by recruiters is truly an integral part of that formula.
See What Other Candidates Are Saying: Testimonials and Reviews
See: You Need to Be Able to Close

What separates the best legal recruiters from the rest? Find out in this related article.


Click here to contact Harrison

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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