Maintaining Control Over Your Job Search |

Maintaining Control Over Your Job Search


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It can be very difficult to conduct an organized and coordinated job search, especially if you are doing so as an attorney while continuing to manage a significant workload with ever-changing deadlines, especially when travel for interviews is involved. Using a legal recruiter can help ease the burden, because a good recruiter will do a lot of the legwork for you, such as writing an excellent cover letter, proactively reaching out to law firms, keeping track of responses and maintaining follow-up communications until a decision has been reached on your candidacy.
Maintaining Control Over Your Job Search

It is incredibly important, however, to make sure that you always maintain control of your own job search, and specifically to keep track of where your resume has been sent. What I recommend when you are beginning your search is to create a spreadsheet to keep track of where you have submitted your resume, either directly or through a recruiter. If you are submitting your own resume, a spreadsheet will help you keep track of where you should be following up and when to inquire about the status of your candidacy (I typically recommend following up with a brief email every 2-3 weeks that reiterates your interest in the firm, provides any relevant updates such as significant changes to your experience, competing interviews and/or offers from other firms, etc.).
If you are working with a recruiter, a spreadsheet will help you keep track of where you have already applied so that you can better focus your job search and avoid the issue of duplicate submissions. A good recruiter will always get your permission before submitting you to a particular firm, both to ensure that the firm is a good fit for what you are looking for, but more importantly so that you know who has already seen your resume. This is the way I do things because I think it just makes sense and is much more professional, but I am always surprised at the number of candidates I speak with who find this approach to be different and/or refreshing based on their past experiences with other recruiters.
Unfortunately, I have had a number of instances where I have informed a candidate about an opportunity at a particular firm and gotten their permission to submit their resume only to have us find out that a prior recruiter they had worked with had already sent the resume to the firm without the candidate’s permission. This is problematic for a number of reasons, primarily because a duplicate submission demonstrates a lack of organization and clear communication (both of which are essential traits for an attorney hoping to land a job at a good law firm), but also because law firms do not want to deal with any fee disputes between competing recruiting agencies. Either way, it is not good for the candidate’s prospects, and I care that my candidates do as well as possible in their job search.

If you care about being focused, coordinated, and professional in your job search (and you should – it’s your career, after all!), then it is paramount that you keep track of the firms to which you have submitted your resume. And of course, if you are going to use a recruiter, you should take care to pick one who will communicate openly and honestly and allow you to maintain control over your job search. If you don’t know where to find one, my colleagues and I may have a suggestion…

Learn why attorneys usually fail law firm phone-screening interviews in this article:

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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