Submitting on your own is, of course, another possibility. Submitting directly to very small firms, for example plaintiff-side Labor & Employment firms, is actually often a good idea, because these sorts of firms often don’t use recruiters (although they sometimes do!). In the case of Big Law firms, I only suggest submitting to Big Law firms on your own if a) your recruiter does not have an established relationship with the particular firm and b) you are a top, top candidate (think, Harvard Law School, 2-6 years out of law school, federal clerkship, currently at a Big Law firm, etc.). If you are not this type of top candidate and are submitting on your own, you may find yourself taking the time to draft endless cover letters, to tweak your resume for each open position, and submitting into a black hole, never to hear back.
In particular, if there is something a bit clunky about your background – you are not 2-6 years out of law school, you did not go to a top law school or undergraduate school and get strong grades there, or you are not currently at a Big Law firm or a reputable mid-sized firm – it can be especially advantageous for you to use a recruiter. Recruiters are generally the way to go for the following reasons:
- We have access to all open firm positions within your geographic area of interest and your practice area.
- We can apply you broadly, doing the heavy lifting for you.
- We have strong relationships with Recruiting Managers and Hiring Partners, and this can help to get your materials to the front of the pile.
- We can follow up with firms repeatedly once we do submit you, and get you the inside scoop on where your application is in the process.
- Once you do get an offer, we can negotiate on your behalf in terms of base salary, benefits, relocation package, etc.
Even if you are hesitant about using a recruiter, it’s a good idea to find a recruiter whose background you like (ideally someone who went to law school and practiced law in the past), and speak with us to get an idea of what sorts of positions we are recruiting for and which geographic areas we focus on. If it’s a match, you may find yourself coming back to your recruiter in the future for all of your lateral law firm searches!
See the following articles for more information:
- The Danger of Getting Legal Jobs Through Friends
- Should I Submit My Materials Through a Friend?
- Should I Submit My Legal Resume Through a Friend in the Law Firm?
- What Should I Do If a Recruiter Sent My Resume to a Firm without My Consent?
- Keep Your Story Simple as an Attorney
- Attorney Resume and Cover Letter Advice
- What is the Best Way to Get My Attorney Resume and Cover Letter Noticed by Law Firms?
- I’ve Heard of People Making Different Versions of Their Resume – Is This a Good Idea?
- How Should I Prepare My Resume If I’m Getting Ready for a Law Firm Job Search?