A job search is an important life event and we are dedicated to making the process as painless and successful as possible for you. Since 1999, we have placed thousands of attorneys and changed countless lives and careers for the better. To achieve our mission of finding attorneys the best jobs for them, we follow a rigorous process that requires our candidates be serviced with the highest levels of professionalism and have access to the most relevant information possible.
Attorneys who come to BCG go through an intensive vetting process to ensure we are only working with candidates we feel we can place with the world’s top law firms. Once we determine a candidate has the requisite marketable skills, we assign that candidate a personal legal placement professional (“LPP”). Our reputation requires that we work with only the most exceptional attorneys, and in general we work with less than 1% of the attorneys who contact us. We are very proud to be representing our candidates and we put the full resources of our entire company (and network of companies) behind each one in order to ensure success.
At the outset, it is important to understand that BCG Attorney Search is a legal placement firm and not a legal recruiting firm. We use the term “legal placement professional” (LPP) and not “recruiter” to describe who we are, as the LPP term more accurately conveys the professionalism and integrity of the work we do.
This difference—and it is significant—mandates that our candidates be treated in a way that provides a level of care and professionalism that far exceeds that given by a typical legal recruiter. Primarily, our objective is to work with our candidates for as long as it takes for them to find their next positions—providing guidance encouragement, counseling, and nonbiased advice along the way.
How important is it to you that a legal placement firm shows that they care about you? Share your answer below.
If you are not familiar with the differences between legal recruiters and legal placement professionals, please review the following article here:
Here are the steps that occur when a candidate begins working with BCG Attorney Search.
- Candidate Gets Assigned an LPP and Legal Placement Team
- LPP’s are Generally Assigned Based on Perceived “Fit” with a Given Candidate
Candidates are generally assigned LPPs in the areas of the country where the candidates are currently working or to which they want to relocate. The LPP will generally be assigned based on BCG’s perception of whether or not such LPP is likely to understand a given candidate and whether the two of parties seem like they will work well together. We try and choose the LPP who will be the best “fit” for each candidate.
- Candidates Are Assigned a “Team” That Works with the Candidate’s LPP Each Week to Advance the Candidacy
It cannot be underestimated that when a candidate works with BCG Attorney Search, that candidate gets the full support of an entire team. Unlike recruiting firms, where a candidate might be reliant on the “whims” and recruiting style of one “legal recruiter” (who could have any number of issues that interfere with effective recruiting), BCG Attorney Search candidates have their LPPs as well as their legal placement teams (“LPT”). Legal Placement Teams consist of at least four individuals and these seasoned and dedicated LPT members offer suggestions, share information, track progress, and make sure the LPP is “in the game” constantly. This difference is significant and meaningful. By constantly making sure our candidates are moving forward in their searches, we are able to get profoundly better results than more common “recruiters” at other placement firms.
Additionally, BCG Attorney Search founder Harrison Barnes keeps tabs on all candidates in the BCG system. He has his own candidates, but he also monitors the progress of each candidate within the system, and candidates regularly hear from him—personally—throughout the process. He holds weekly meetings and brainstorming sessions and discusses the progress of each candidate with each LPP. Mr. Barnes participates in each candidate’s job search in other ways too, such as by sending emails and informative articles. Mr. Barnes is not the only member of the BCG family who keeps tabs of candidate progress—and candidates should expect to hear from others in the firm with information on jobs, career advice, life guidance and more. At BCG we take a proactive role in our candidate’s lives and careers and take every search extremely seriously. We very much want our candidates to succeed—it is very important to us.
How does knowing your legal placement firm wants you to succeed make a difference for you? Share your answer in the comments below.
What Working with a Placement Team Means
Here are some of the ways in which working with a Legal Placement Team as well as a Legal Placement Professional enhance and strengthen a candidate’s job search:
- Each week every candidate file is discussed and reviewed by a manager of BCG Attorney Search.
- In addition, each week, Harrison Barnes, the Founder of BCG Attorney Search, holds several group calls with three LPPs to discuss their candidates—how things are progressing, what are the problems, what new strategies might be employed, and so forth. These calls involve the input of multiple LPPs and the same three LPPs are never on the call. The LPPs are different each week so that each LPP in our firm gets more perspective from all other LPPs.
- Once a week, all of our LPPs are on a call that goes over individual candidates, strategies and market trends.
- Once a week, all of the managers of BCG Attorney Search get on a call and discuss the individual placement professionals and their candidates.
- Additionally, we have over 125 other employees engaged in supportive roles that can make all the difference in one of our candidates finding and securing the best job for him or her. These critical “behind-the-scenes” workers reach out to law firms, perform technical work, and more. This behind the scenes work, together with BCG’s technological sophistication and infrastructure innovations, far outpaces the work or capacity of any other legal placement firm in the world.
All hospitals in the United States hold what are called weekly “Mortality and Morbidity Conferences.” These conferences are mandatory, confidential by law, and surgeons and doctors are required to attend. In these meetings, doctors go over mistakes made in patient care (including fatal mistakes), with the objective that everyone can learn from these mistakes and improve in the future. The meetings are non-punitive in nature because the goal is to raise the standard of care as opposed to meting out punishment:
For more information, please see:
Physicians are in their profession to save lives and welcome criticism and oversight of their work because it enables them to become better healthcare providers. These conferences are mandatory for doctors in hospitals all over the world. BCG has adopted a version of this protocol, as we believe that discussing and learning from mistakes will help us become more effective legal placement professionals for our candidates.
Here is what we believe at BCG Attorney Search:
- We believe our profession is a higher calling where we also are capable of saving lives and careers.
- We believe that we all make mistakes in our care of our attorney candidates and need to learn from those mistakes.
- We believe we could all benefit from reviewing our candidates each week together.
- We believe that if we were candidates we would want a group of people who were educated about each other’s successful approaches and mistakes.
- We believe we can accomplish great things if we are all consistently learning from each other.
What do you think of BCG Attorney Search’s approach to legal placement? Share your thoughts below.
For an interesting perspective on our approach, please review the following article:
- We Always Recommend That Our Candidates Work with More Than One LPP and Look at Multiple Regions Wherever Possible
Candidates are generally assigned LPPs in the areas of the country where those candidates are located. Candidates who are interested in multiple areas (but did not indicate this when they initially submitted materials) should let their LPP’s know as soon as possible. There are a myriad of benefits of looking for jobs in multiple markets and we strongly encourage it as an effective job search (and even career-transforming) strategy.
In order to make sure our LPPs are experts in their individual markets, our placement professionals are assigned to cover limited markets. It may be necessary for you to work with more than one placement professional (or several) to cover the regions you are interested in. Looking at positions in more than one region can profoundly enhance your marketability and is generally the best way to get exposed to the full market.
Candidates should generally look at more regions rather than fewer. Looking at more than one region will dramatically increase the effectiveness of a search in most cases. Many attorneys shortchange their careers by not looking at multiple regions. You need to do this.
Please review this important article about looking at multiple markets:
The LPT will generally offer suggestions to the LPP about the most effective way to enhance a candidate’s marketability. If there are issues that appear to need work with a resume, for example, then this will be flagged. If there are certain firms that are growing nationally—and may not have openings in a given practice area—this will be addressed as well.
How has looking in multiple areas affected your job search? Share your thoughts below.
- Candidates Must Fill Out Candidate Questionnaires
To begin a job search in the most robust way possible, we need information from our candidates. Candidates receive our questionnaire early on in the process and we request that they complete it in a diligent, expeditious, and thorough manner so our team can get to know their candidates as deeply as possible. The more information a candidate includes in their questionnaire the better.
- The entire search process is always about the candidate and what is important to the candidate. We need to understand this because we are always serving our candidates.
- We use the information provided by candidates on the questionnaire to personalize and humanize candidates to law firms. The search business is a very personal one and the more we can get law firms to bond with a particular candidate the better off the candidate will be.
- This information will allow us to emphasize a candidate’s strengths and minimize his or her weaknesses to the extent that we can.
Using a talented LPP (who has access to good information) will generally dramatically improve the success rate of a search because we can say things about a candidate that would not look as good coming from a candidate directly. For example, we can highlight a candidate’s strengths and show what makes that candidate unique. To the extent a candidate has overcome adversity, or persevered in the face of difficulties, we can highlight this for employers. In addition, unique factors of a candidate’s background may assist in the identifying of places that are likely to be good fits in the market and avoid ones that are not.
Because we are specialists in high-level legal placement, we have the ability to understand the sorts of law firms that are the best fits for different attorneys. Every law firm, like every attorney, has a unique personality and culture. Knowing what a candidate does and does not want in a search is an important step for us in identifying the firms that are likely to be the best fits for that candidate. We want to understand where each of our candidates is coming from, take our candidate’s side and do everything we can to assist our candidates in achieving their goals. It is important that we are able to understand and personalize our candidates as much as possible.
What do you think about using a questionnaire to help in your job search? Share your thoughts below.
For more information, see the following article:
How a Good Legal Recruiter Finds the Best in You and Communicates It to Employers: How to Define Your Unique Selling Proposition
- The Candidate’s LPP Will Review the Candidate’s Resume and Current Market Conditions
Prior to the initial meeting, the LPP will review the candidate’s resume and the market and see what sort of positions—or suggestions for firms—the LPP believes will be good fits (if any). LPPs review candidate questionnaires very closely. LPP’s also will review suggestions from the LPT about appropriate next steps. Candidate resumes and backgrounds are generally reviewed on the first day of candidate contact with a BCG manager.
Here is what the LPP will have reviewed prior to an initial call with a candidate:
- current openings for attorneys in the candidate’s practice area,
- past openings for attorneys in the candidate’s practice area, and,
- openings that are strongest in the candidate’s practice area and location.
IMPORTANT: In most cases, it is important that a new candidate speak with his or her LPP immediately. The LPP may have an individual opening that is time-sensitive and should be conveyed to the candidate without delay (the firm could be interviewing, for example). In addition, the market could be particularly “hot” in the candidate’s practice area. There is a tremendous advantage to applying to firms when they first have openings. If a candidate contacted us in response to an opening online, the odds are good that this position is something the firm may be actively interviewing people for at the moment.
What are some ways you can make sure your resume is ready to submit to law firms? Share your thoughts below.
For more information on attorney resumes, see the following:
Attorney Resume and Cover Letter Resources
- Candidate Will Have His or Her Initial Call/Meeting with His or Her LPP
The purpose of the initial LPP call is to (1) ensure the LPP understands the candidate’s professional and personal goals and, if appropriate, (2) discuss a career strategy, and (3) identify next steps.
- We Want to First Understand Our Candidates’ Professional and Personal Goals
It is important to understand that a candidate’s relationship with his or her LPP is about teamwork. Many attorneys become lifelong friends and confidants with their LPPs. While we are in no way hinting that this level of bonding is necessary, the quality of the relationship will translate into the quality of the representation. This is only natural and based in human behavior.
- LPPs do not play games or hide information. The BCG corporate culture demands full transparency.
- We are always on the side of our candidates and the search is under the candidates’ your control. We are a “candidate focused” organization and our loyalty is to our candidates.
- Our LPPs are hired, closely watched, and coached to ensure that good, friendly and close relationships develop.
- When possible, we want candidate relationships with LPPs to be a transformative experience.
We bring this up because the perception of legal recruiters in the market is of disinterested workers trying to get and push resumes, without regard to genuine efforts to get to know and help the candidates who come to them. We very much want a relationship with each candidate we work with that lasts throughout the candidate’s entire career. We want to be the one our candidate comes back to the next time he or she is thinking of making a move. We want to be the one our candidate refers to friends and colleagues who find themselves in career ruts.
During the initial call, the LPP will discuss long and short-term goals. Most attorneys have short and/or long-terms goals for their careers that may involve
- staying in their current law firms,
- going in-house,
- moving to a larger market, or,
- moving to a smaller market.
Some attorneys may be motivated by
- making more money,
- being in a more prestigious firm,
- having a connection with coworkers,
- having more independence,
- being a big fish in a small pond,
- being a small fish in a big pond,
- being in a firm with less work, or
- being in a firm with more work.
Regardless of what a candidate is seeking, it is important that the candidate convey this to the LPP on or prior to the initial call. No candidate should ever feel afraid to disclose anything whatsoever to us—because everything we learn we can use to work with that candidate and advance that candidate’s career. For example:
- A candidate may have had issues at a previous firm and, if that is the case, we will need to understand what happened so we can decide how to position the candidate for success at another firm.
- Some people may be in a rush to get positions due to their current law firms downsizing.
- Other attorneys may have all the time in the world to look for a position and still others may only move for a certain, very rare, opportunity.
The most important thing that we can do at our initial meeting is to understand our candidates and what they are looking for. We have heard it all before, so there is no need to be shy—the best approach is to be honest and disclose the truth of what is occurring. The more we can understand and empathize with a candidate’s situation the more we can help that candidate get to where he or she wants and deserves to go. We are on our candidate’s side and on the same team.
What are some goals that you have for your legal career? Share your goals in the comments below.
- Based on a Candidate’s Professional Goals and Needs, We Discuss a Career Strategy with That Candidate
Our goal is to identify an effective strategy in coordination with our candidates. We may make a number of recommendations based on what we think works best for a candidate’s long-term interest.
Some of the most common recommendations that may apply include:
- Stay at current firm. We will frequently recommend that attorneys stay at their current firms in a variety of circumstances.
- It is common for many attorneys to be highly overcompensated in large law firms and under no pressure to leave. We frequently speak with partners making $1.5 to over $3-million in large law firms with no business who are interested in moving firms. In these sorts of circumstances, unless the firm is experiencing problems or their positions are at risk, we counsel these attorneys to try and stay right where they are. Counsel and senior associate attorneys making large incomes are often counseled to stay where they are—or look at a very limited subset of similar opportunities (if available)—instead of doing a more formal search.
- Attorneys in niche practice areas in small markets without a lot of opportunity at other large, highly paid firms will often be advised to stay where they are.
- If an attorney has moved numerous times in the past, we will often counsel that attorney to stay at the current firm and try to make it work before moving again.
- There are reasons for switching firms that often make no sense and we counsel attorneys to stay at their current firms in those cases as well. An attorney generally needs to have reasons for moving that make sense.
- Attorneys with limited books of business interested in moving to a larger law firm are often counseled to stay where they are at before moving.
As career advisors, we have no interest in hurting the careers of attorneys, or in getting our candidates positions in which they are likely to be unhappy. An attorney should only be moving to a different firm if he or she is likely to improve his or her situation by doing so. In a great many cases, it may make sense for our candidates to stay at their current law firms. Our corporate culture and goals depend on doing something positive for every attorney we encounter. We are career advisors and not salespeople.
- Look at larger, more sophisticated firms. Many of the attorneys we work with are selected by us because they show promise to be highly productive additions to larger or more sophisticated law firms. Attorneys who are excelling at their current firms and are “outgrowing” their firms, or have additional ambition to excel at larger firms, are the exact sorts of attorneys—at both the partner and associate levels—that the best law firms are interested in. Many attorneys get tired, frustrated and “give up” early in their careers. (In fact, the majority of associates in the largest law firms lose their “fight” within 5 years.) If a candidate still has fight and energy—and is excelling at a less prestigious or sophisticated law firm, then we will recommend that the candidate look at larger and more sophisticated firms.
- Read Top 10 Ways Attorneys Can Move to a Better Law Firm and Get a Better Attorney Job for more information.
- Look at smaller firms. An attorney may be benefitted by looking at smaller law firms for a variety of reasons:
- To be in a position to get business. Most smaller law firms have lower billing rates than large law firms and fewer clients. This means that an attorney will have a better chance of being able to bring in clients who can afford the rates. When an attorney has business the attorney is in control of his or her career. Having business is extremely important for attorneys, and larger law firms typically provide a better platform for getting business.
- To be in a less competitive environment. Most large law firms are not necessarily the most welcoming places. Large law firms are extremely competitive, and the attorneys working in them often feel alienated and under tremendous pressure to bill more hours, get business and more. Many smaller firms are more cordial, less competitive and composed of attorneys who value a work-life balance.
- To be a big fish in a small pond. If an attorney has outstanding qualifications and experience, that attorney may want to be in an environment where his or her background is more highly valued than it would be at larger law firms.
- Look at similar firms. Attorneys often have an interest in looking at law firms that are similar to the ones that they are currently at—albeit, firms that may be slightly more prestigious or less prestigious than the one they are at. The majority of attorneys tend to look at firms that are similar to the firm they are at and are moving for a variety of reasons.
- Look in larger markets. It is common for attorneys to be limited by the markets they are in because the markets may not have the sorts of opportunities the attorney is interested in. Every attorney is unique and has different skills and talents to offer.
- We will often recommend that attorneys look in larger markets when there are few opportunities in the attorney’s current market or firm.
- The attorney may also want more sophisticated work that can only be found in a larger market.
- The attorney may want a higher salary.
- The attorney may feel that he or she is a better fit for the culture of a different city.
- See Why Every Attorney Should Look at Multiple Legal Markets When Doing a Job Search for more information.
- Look in smaller markets. Just as attorneys move to smaller firms for more opportunities—or less competition—attorneys often move to smaller markets for the same reasons. In addition, attorneys often become very limited in the opportunities that are available to them in larger markets such as New York, for example. When attorneys in New York get senior and do not have business, many decide to relocate to smaller markets where their skills are highly in demand.
- See The Benefits to Living and Working in a Smaller Market for more information.
- Do a limited search. A limited search of one, to just a few firms, makes sense for attorneys looking for a very specific type of opportunity. In the case of a limited search, the attorney will only look at very specific opportunities very clearly matching exactly what the attorney is seeking.
- Do a moderate search. Many attorneys will do a moderate search that looks at a variety of firms with openings and strong practice areas that match them. This is the most common sort of search that attorneys looking for new positions will do. A moderate search will ensure that the attorney is in the running for current openings at the most logical places for the attorney to potentially be working. A moderate search will tend to look at firms of various sizes in geographic markets where the attorney may or may not have a connection.
- Do an “all out” search. An all-out search is common for attorneys who are unemployed, under time pressure to relocate (because they are losing a job, moving to join a significant other, at a firm experiencing problems, or very unhappy at their current firm, for example). An all-out search will look at a wide variety of law firms in many geographic areas. The goal is to find the attorney a position as quickly as possible.
What career strategy do you think fits you best? Share your thoughts below.
- We Will Identify Next Steps
If appropriate, we will conclude that it makes sense for a candidate to investigate the market. In many cases, we will recommend that a candidate spend more time at his or her current firm to get more experience, or not move at all. Because we are LPPs and not legal recruiters, we recommend attorneys stay right where they are several times in a typical day.
During the initial call between a candidate and his or her LPP, or after the call, we will identify the law firms that we believe are most appropriate for the candidate based on the candidate’s career objectives discussed above. We will use a variety of our proprietary sources to put together a list of the places that we believe are the very best fits for what the candidate is seeking. We will look at our current openings, firms that are growing in the candidate’s practice area, firms that have had lots of openings for attorneys with the candidate’s background in the past, and more firms. We will remove all of the firms the candidate has already applied to or worked at in the past. We will also rank the firms that we believe are more likely to be good fits for the candidate.
- See How to Easily Determine the Best Attorneys and Law Firms: The Five Prestige Levels of Attorneys and Law Firms for more information.
There are countless ways for us to do a search and identify law firms that are appropriate. Understanding the mechanics of this is important and will guide a given candidate’s search.
- Resume and Cover Letter Submission. This is the most common type of search and something that we always recommend. This is the only way to ensure that a firm reviews a candidate’s materials and sees them. Resumes need to be reviewed by the firm, and when they see a candidate’s resume it is always forwarded to the correct people.
A NOTE ABOUT CONFIDENTIALITY:
Some people worry that if a law firm sees their resume this information will not be held in confidence. Nothing could be further from the truth. Law firms know that if they disturb your confidentiality word will get around and they will get a bad reputation in the market. This simply does not occur. It is bad form and if someone does this to another attorney they themselves get a horrible name in the legal community. Looking for a position is extremely common— most partners in major law firms are speaking to legal recruiters at least once every few months to understand what is going on. Not only will no one disturb your confidentiality at law firms, but most major law firms receive hundreds of applications for most positions. The idea that they would pick one person out of the hat to disturb confidentiality is nonsensical and does not occur.
- Dummy Blind Submission. This is something that involves the recruiter emailing a bunch of law firms and saying something to the effect of: “Would you be interested in a 3rd year corporate attorney who went to a top 25 law school?” This labor saving approach that legal recruiters like to follow rarely guarantees the relevant candidate will be seriously reviewed and is often dismissed as “junk mail” by law firm recruiting coordinators. If the legal recruiter knows what he or she is doing and has access to large amounts of research, the recruiter never needs to do anything like this.
- We send our candidates a list of firms that are custom selected for that candidate based on our understanding of the candidate and what the candidate is seeking. The list of firms that we send to a candidate will be in an email and also in a candidate’s online account. If we have a candidate’s cell phone number, we will text a short message requesting the candidate to review the list. Unless a candidate’s LPP says otherwise, each candidate will be responsible for approving the list of firms.
- Candidates review the list of firms. Once candidates have the list of firms, they should always review them. It is important not to “overthink” these lists. They are generally selected for a variety of reasons that the LPP, the LPT and/or manager use to determine the best fits for a given candidate. Trusting the process is generally the most effective way to get a great position.
IMPORTANT: Please review this article about the importance of getting exposed to as many opportunities as possible when doing a search:
The Worst Piece of Attorney Job Search Advice Ever
- Candidates should approve the firms they are interested in and exclude those they are not interested in. Once a candidate receives the list of firms, the candidate needs to approve the firms that might work and eliminate those that will not work. We send the list for approval shortly after speaking with a candidate. Candidates are in control of the process at all times. During the search, a candidate will be able to login and see the status of his or her search and what is going on with each firm.
How do you decide which firms you approve of and which ones you don’t approve of? Share your thoughts below.
- Once We Send a Candidate a List of Firms, We Also Email Important Reading Material to Be Reviewed
Along with a list of firms, we also send our candidates important material to assist with the search.
- We will send information about the steps we follow with your candidacy.
- We will send “our interview guide”/or “guide to lateral movement as a partner.”
- We will send a guide about the difference between legal recruiting and placement.
- We will send other important guides and articles culled for individual candidates from our vast trove of legal search and legal career success materials.
IMPORTANT: Throughout the years, we have seen that many attorneys—partners, associates and others—actually end up sabotaging their candidacies by either not understanding what we do as LPPs or by not interviewing properly. Much of what occurs when people do not get the level of success they could in their searches is due to misunderstandings (1) between LPPs and candidates and (2) candidates and law firms.
As intermediaries, our goal is to make sure that we make our candidates much more successful than they would be without our involvement. The mark of any successful intermediary is to lessen the amount of misunderstandings on both sides.
What are some other ways you can prepare for your legal job search? Share your thoughts below in the comments.
- The LPP Will Prepare the Candidate’s Materials
Prior to contacting law firms on behalf of a candidate, we will prepare the candidate’s application materials to present to law firms. Here are some points about the materials that are important to understand.
- These materials will generally be tailored to the firms and cities to which a candidate is applying. For example, a candidate may have reasons for wanting to work in a smaller firm, larger firm, or a firm with a particularly strong reputation in the candidate’s practice area. We generally tailor the applications materials to the firms and regions that meet the candidate’s goals.
- We will describe a candidate’s practice area(s) as appropriate for each firm. In order to make sure that a candidate looks appropriate for the law firms being approached, we will tailor a description of a candidate’s practice area in general, or more specific terms. For example, if an attorney is a real estate attorney and corporate attorney applying for a corporate job, we will do a description of the work in a manner that emphasizes the corporate background compared to the real estate work.
- In coordination with discussion with a candidate’s LPT, we will strategize the best way to portray the candidacy and reasons for moving. This is an important skill and something that can make or break a search, so we take it very seriously. As discussed above, it is important that any candidate has solid reasons for moving that make a lot of sense to law firms. If the reasons do not appear to make a lot of sense, law firms may not be interested in that candidate.
- We will use the profile completed by the candidate, as well as mandatory notes from our telephone call with the candidate, to personalize the candidate in a well-written presentation. Personalizing a candidate is extremely important to the process. In an age where most LPPs simply email resumes around, our ability to personalize our candidates to law firms drastically improves the chances our candidates will get recognized, asked to go in for interviews, and made offers.
- Prior to any profile going out, we engage in a rigorous process to ensure a candidate’s resume looks as good as it can and our work product is as good as it can be. We employ in-house proofreaders and writers who review our LPPs work product carefully to make sure that it is as good as it can be. We realize that our work product reflects on our candidates and we want to ensure that we make the best and most professional presentation possible on behalf of our candidates.
- We prepare written profiles of our candidates and distribute them to law firms in a formal letter, by fax and also by email. Submitting candidate materials in three different ways guarantees the law firms see them and helps our candidates stand out. The initial submission via email is tracked and we confirm it is opened. We then send a fax to our contacts inside the law firm, which is then generally delivered to them by a law firm messenger. We then send a letter along with our candidate’s resume and other useful materials, all of which is printed on professional stationary and delivered a few days later. This approach gets our candidates’ applications seen and not missed and is something that virtually no other legal placement firm does. We have found that the substantial investment of time and expense on our ends produces far superior results to the alternative.
- We prepare an online profile of our candidates for law firms to view. Behind a private password-protected area only accessible to law firms, we will prepare an online summary of our candidate’s background for law firms to review. We can track the law firms that view this and how many times they do so. This helps us gauge their interest in a given candidate and know how aggressively we need to follow up on applications.
How can you make your profile more complete by communicating with your LPP during this process? Share your thoughts below.
- The LPP Will Begin Following Up and Calling and Reaching Out to Employers
Within a few days of submission to law firms, a candidate’s LPP will begin contacting hiring personnel inside of law firms and following up. Law firms will start calling and asking questions about such matters as:
- What are the candidate’s salary requirements?
- Why are you interested in this candidate?
- Is the candidate flexible as to class year?
When we get these sorts of calls and have these sorts of conversations, it provides us an additional opportunity to try and give the law firms additional information that helps move things forward. Our corporate strategy has always been to try and engage the law firms in conversations and get as much information as we possibly can.
In the course of our daily conversations with law firms about candidates, they also provide us additional information that is helpful:
- We like your candidate but need someone with [this] different type of experience.
- We are about ready to make someone else an offer.
- We have another opening we would like to tell you about.
Each step of the way is a useful intelligence-gathering operation where we learn new information that can assist us in our candidate’s search. Every conversation is an opportunity to learn more, bond more, and advance the case of our candidate.
There is tremendous competition for each position that any candidate applies to. Our objective is to make sure that we can get our candidates into the firm and make as compelling arguments as we can for our candidates with our law firm contacts.
In most instances, these arguments are better made on the phone; however, it is not always possible to get through to decision-makers inside of law firms immediately. Many firms have intentionally put up “guards” who mediate between those making decisions and those who pass on decisions. Some law firm recruiting departments do not answer the phone. Many firms are actually overwhelmed with the number of calls and applications coming in.
FUN FACT ABOUT LAW FIRM GATEKEEPERS/RECRUITING COORDINATORS
In the mid-1980s, when attorneys started moving firms (before then attorneys tended to stay at the same firm their entire careers), law firms started noticing two things: (1) hiring partners were not billing many hours or getting much done, and (2) they also tended to leave the firms they were at quickly. Hiring partners were fielding calls from LPPs and attorneys seeking jobs all day and this made getting work done difficult. In addition, because they were constantly speaking with LPPs, one thing led to another and the LPPs would invariably draw the hiring partners away. Realizing the ridiculousness of putting hiring partners in charge of the process, law firms started recruiting departments and started making everyone go through recruiting coordinators when they were interested in working at the firm.
Because all we do are law firm placements and have been doing this for such an extended period of time, we know people in every significant law firm and have placed attorneys in just about every significant American law firm (probably every one of them). Because we have such a large presence in the market, we deal with most major law firms each week and this gives us unprecedented access to decision makers and helps our candidates a great deal. While we certainly deal with a large number of recruiting coordinators in the course of our work, many of the people we placed years ago are now the hiring partners in their firms.
We call, email and make contact with the employers as soon as we possibly can.
What does reaching out to law firms using multiple methods do for your job search? Share your thoughts and comments below.
- See Do Recruiters Just Mass Mail Resumes? for more information.
- We Begin Providing Candidates Access to New Jobs Each Morning as They Become Available
As new jobs become available each day, we send our candidates new firms each morning that fit what they looking for. If these positions seem a good match, a candidate should tell his or her LPP immediately. Many of our openings are exclusive and responding quickly will secure a place at the very beginning of the line—you will often be the only applicant the firm will see. If the candidate is a good fit, the law firm will generally bring the candidate in, interview the candidate, be happy and make the candidate an offer. These are the easiest sorts of positions to get. In many instances, there may be only one candidate for the position.
IMPORTANT: Candidates who are interested in the positions we send each morning should respond immediately to that effect. Such candidates will likely be the first people to apply.
We aggressively contact employers and look for new positions each day and make sure that these positions are entered into our database just as soon as we get them. We want to make sure that our candidates have access to the entire market.
We have a team of over 100 people in our firm and on our payroll responsible for getting positions from employers. Due to this, we generally have as many as 5x as many jobs as most traditional firms in our space. As a ubiquitous presence in the legal market, we are contacted daily by legal employers with scores of positions.
- See How to Select the Best Legal Recruiter and Maximize the Effectiveness of Working with One for more information.
Besides being one of the first to apply, what else can reviewing new jobs sent to you do for your job search? Share your answer below.
- Once a Week, the LPP Will Send His or Her Candidates New Positions
Each week, LPPs do a comprehensive review of their files—this is a requirement of working for BCG Attorney Search as a LPP—and they will send candidates new positions. (Candidates who have worked with legal recruiters before know that many simply forget about candidates once they submit them to a few firms. Not so at BCG Attorney Search.)
This comprehensive review entails reviewing current new openings that might be a fit for a candidate, making sure that the candidate is making progress in his or her search, and studying what is happening in the market specific to the candidate’s practice area. The candidate then reviews and approves the list.
The weekly review of our candidates’ progress and ensuring we identify new firms distinguishes us from other placement firms and ensures that our candidates are always moving forward with their job searches. Once someone is accepted as our candidate, our objective is to always keep them moving forward and exposed to the market. This is one of the main differences between “recruiting” and placement. Our candidates are under our care and protection.
IMPORTANT: Candidates must make sure they immediately respond to LPP calls and emails about the new positions. The positions will be sent via email and often text.
Besides reviewing new positions, what are some other ways you can help keep your job search marching forward? Share your answer below.
Browse the Current Attorney Jobs We Are Recruiting for on BCG Attorney Search
- Candidates Receive a Formal Report from Their LPPs Each Week
Each week, LPPs send their candidates a formal report that contains all of the firms that we are marketing the candidate to, the candidate’s status with each (pass, interview, offer, and so forth) and also an article of the week. We want to keep our candidates updated on the search progress every step of the way so our candidates know exactly what is going on. People who work with us are never in the dark and always on top of their candidacy.
While other placement firms do not go to such lengths to keep candidates updated on the market and status with firms, we do so in order to show our candidates where things stand. Unlike getting a position in law school, moving as a lateral attorney is rarely as easy as any attorney would like it to be. By constantly reminding our candidates of where they stand in the market, we show our candidates the necessity of sticking with the market. It also motivates us to keep up our game at all times and ensure no one slips through the cracks.
IMPORTANT: Candidates can check their status with law firms at any time by logging into their account at BCG Attorney Search.
The legal market is interesting and often unpredictable. Some people receive an offer from the first firm they interview with and others receive offers after several interviews—some people need to “fine tune” their approaches. Some people get several interviews and some just a few. All searches are specific to the attorneys, their locations, their practice areas, and their circumstances.
No candidate should ever get either overconfident or under confident. Not taking the first offer to come along is often dangerous if an attorney is in a very slow practice area or slow market. Most often, not getting interviews and offers for an extended period of time is not a reason to lose confidence either. It is always a reflection of the market and not of any given candidate. No candidate can change the market, and the only way to get a position is to keep pushing forward.
How can reviewing your formal report help keep you motivated in your legal job search? Share your thoughts below.
- We Will Send Our Candidates an Article of the Week
In addition to a status report, we will also send our candidates a weekly article of the week. We want to continually educate our candidates in various matters relevant to job searching and provide insight on how to improve a career and search. A relationship with BCG Attorney Search is a relationship with a company that wants to develop its candidates and deeply cares that its candidates make significant progress in their lives and in the legal profession.
Attorneys that take the time to learn about their careers typically do the best in their searches. It is important to have perspective and understand what is going on inside of law firms, in the legal market, and in the heads of attorneys. It is what happens inside attorneys’ heads that most often creates the most issues in their searches for new positions and happiness in the legal profession.
Read the current article of the week at the BCG Attorney Search website.
- We Also Send a Formal Report to Law Firms Every Two Weeks
In addition to calling and emailing law firms about our candidates, every two weeks we send a formal report to law firms showing them the attorneys who are pending with them. We provide the law firms additional biographical information about these candidates and continually keep them apprised of the status of our candidates. Our objective is always to get law firms to reach a decision on our candidates and this ensures that we are continually reminding law firms of our candidates in a formal fashion.
If a law firm believes a candidate is unqualified for them, or does not have a need for such candidate, they will very quickly “pass” on the candidacy.
If a candidate is “under review” with a firm for an extended period of time, there could be a variety of reasons for this.
- The law firm may be interviewing other candidates and waiting to see what plays out with them.
- The law firm may not want to reject the candidate because they may not want to upset the candidate and potentially hire the candidate later.
- The law firm may have a poor recruiting department that only responds in the “affirmative” if they are interested in seeing a candidate.
For more information about law firms and choosing one, see this article:
- Which Type of Law Firm Is Best for You and Your Career: Main Offices of Large National Firms, Branch Offices of Large National Firms, Midsized Firms, Boutiques, or Newer Fast-Growing Firms?
The following steps generally occur as a candidate gets interviews:
- As a candidate gets interviews, the LPP will contact the candidate to schedule them.
- If a candidate is travelling from some distance, the LPP will confirm whether or not the law firm is paying for travel expenses and/or assisting with arrangements.
- Prior to each interview, the LPP will generally do an “interview prep call.” Here, the LPP will go over the reasons a candidate should tell a firm that he or she is moving, discuss the culture of the firm, and make sure that the candidate is prepared to answer questions. These calls typically last about 30 minutes before each interview.
- When the law firms provide this information (most do), we will provide the candidate the name(s) of the people the candidate will be speaking with. We will discuss an appropriate strategy for each of the people.
- We will generally call and/or text the candidate the morning of the interview to wish the candidate “good luck.”
- After the interview, we will do an “interview debriefing call” to discuss how things went.
- After we have spoken with the candidate, we will contact the law firm to see how things went. If the candidate liked the candidate, we will make them aware of this fact as well.
A few law firms can make hiring decisions after an initial interview—and it is increasingly common. Some law firms will do a screening interview and then a half day or (less common) full day of interviews. A few law firms even do multiple days of interviews.
In your opinion, what is the best way to prepare for a law firm interview? Share your answer in the comments below.
At some point in this process—if we have done our job well, our candidate will get one or more offers. When a candidate receives an offer, we will immediately discuss it with the candidate and the firm. If the candidate has gotten far enough with a law firm that he or she has received an offer, the odds are that both the firm and the candidate like each other a great deal and the offer will be accepted. In contrast, things do not always work out, in which case we will turn down the offer.
Unless you are a partner, or going to work in a smaller, to midsized law firm, most offers are not negotiable because law firms pay associates on a lockstep basis. Many offers are negotiable, though. Law firms will often negotiate starting bonuses, bar stipends, year-end bonuses, salary, class year, years until partnership and more.
Sports stars, famous actors and others all use “agents” when they are looking for positions because it is much easier to negotiate through an agent than alone. When someone negotiates on his or her own it often does not look good to the future employer and an agent can defuse the situation on both sides.
If the law firm is an appropriate size, a candidate can often negotiate the offer with them and we will advise a candidate if we think it is a good idea.
What are some ways you can think of that having an agent negotiate an offer for you would be helpful for you? Share your thoughts below.
Once a candidate has accepted an offer, we will assist the candidate with making the transition to the new firm and the particulars surrounding moving. There is always a lot of legwork involved after someone gets a position. We are there for our candidates every step of the way.
- Contact Throughout the Process
Our LPPs and our entire team are readily available by phone and email to answer any questions a candidate may have. All of our LPPs are full time and are generally available to speak with a candidate on the candidate’s schedule. We are reachable for any and all candidate concerns.
Why is constant communication so important in the legal placement process? Share your thoughts below.
BCG Attorney Search exists to serve attorneys! We have a process in place to assist attorneys in job searches and transitions, and we believe—and commit each day to ensuring—that it is the most effective such process in the world.
What do you think makes BCG Attorney Search’s recruiting process so effective?
What do you think about BCG Attorney Search’s recruiting process?
Share your answers to the above questions in the comments below.
Harrison Barnes is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and a successful legal recruiter. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. His firm BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys. BCG Attorney Search works with attorneys to dramatically improve their careers by leaving no stone unturned in job searches and bringing out the very best in them. Harrison has placed the leaders of the nation’s top law firms, and countless associates who have gone on to lead the nation’s top law firms. There are very few firms Harrison has not made placements with. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placements attract millions of reads each year. He coaches and consults with law firms about how to dramatically improve their recruiting and retention efforts. His company LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.
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 www.BCGSearch.com.