What Law Firms Look for When Hiring Associates, Partners and Law Students: The Only Three Questions they Are Asking When they Decide Who to Hire You

When a law firm evaluates your resume and [hopefully] interviews you they are only concerned with three things.
  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Do you want to do the job?
  3. Will you commit to the job?
Ultimately, everything comes down to these three questions. If you convince an employer that the answer to these three questions is "YES", then you can get any job that you apply for. If the answer to two of them is "YES", you might get the job. Most attorneys never get all three answers as "YES", and that is why it is so difficult to get jobs in competitive law firms. In fact, these three questions are really all that a law firm is asking when it reviews your resume and talks to you.
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

It AMAZES ME that so few attorneys understand the importance of these three questions. Very few attorneys understand just how important these three questions are, and they continually blow their job searches all the time because they do not understand them. If you are an unemployed attorney, you are unemployed because these questions are being answered improperly.

Regardless of your background, understanding how to frame yourself in response to these three questions is the key to succeeding in any job search. It is the key to longevity in the legal profession and getting started in the first place.
  1. Can You Do The Job?

One of the most frustrating things for me in working with candidates is when I speak with people who have the skills to do a certain job, but I know will never be able to do the job.

Many people can do the work the job requires, but very few people can truly do the job. People come to me all the time stating they have the experience or skills to do a certain type of job. This does not mean that they can do the job.

Doing the job means you (a) fit in, (b) are willing to play by the rules of the employer, (c) have the background to do the work the firm needs done and (d) are willing to do everything the job requires.