What Happens When You Allow Others to Control Your Access to Information?

In October of 2000, there was a massive crash in the legal market, and everything came to a standstill. The financing and hopes of countless Internet startups went away, and the crash walloped the legal market. At the time, I was working primarily with large law firms around the country. These law firms stopped hiring and started laying off attorneys, and these attorneys were unable to find positions. I started speaking with attorneys and hearing all sorts of sad stories and found it very distressing.

At BCG Attorney Search, I had a massive database I spent a year developing. In Los Angeles alone, it consisted of over 2,500 law firms; however, out of these 2,500 law firms, only about 20 of them were my clients. What this meant was if someone came to me looking for a position, all I could do was help them look at these 20 law firms. Two decades later, my company had over 150 employees, and hundreds of these law firms are my clients – but back then, we were less than ten people and only had a few clients.
Instinctively, it did not make sense to me that the size of my contact list should limit people. Many of these 2,500 law firms were excellent firms and had all sorts of practice areas. However, these firms were mostly "absent" from the search of most candidates who used me because I did not have relationships with them at the time.

As one layoff and horror story after another started to pour in, I became angrier and angrier. Many of these attorneys had gone to excellent schools, worked in respectable law firms, and had a history of achievement that was suddenly held back by the economy. These attorneys were trying everything to get jobs—employment websites, networking, recruiters, and more—and they were not having any luck. I started seeing people leave the practice of law and go into alternative careers. Some attorneys packed up and left the cities they were in and moved home.