Answer: Because it is one of the best ways to make sure you land the best possible position!
When you begin working with a BCG legal placement professional, you will notice that he or she will send you – on a regular basis – lists of firms to consider as part of your job search. These lists can be lengthy and might have firms or locations that surprise you. Do not worry! These lists are not random or careless. They are highly curated and part of BCG’s modern, intelligent, and proven system for getting attorneys jobs.
Legal job searching is a numbers game, and one of the best ways to ensure success is to embrace the process and approve as many firms as possible.
Legal Job Searching is a Numbers Game
Look at the case studies of candidates who successfully found jobs with BCG. You will notice that many of these case studies mention that the candidates approved all or most of the firms sent to them by their BCG legal placement professional. This is no coincidence. It is a tough market out there, with lots of competition and lots of random variables involved in whether any given firm will hire any given candidate at any given time.
Attorneys who are serious about their job searches play the odds and make sure they are introduced to as many matches as possible. These candidates know that the greater the pool of firms they apply to, the greater the chance they will get noticed by a firm that is looking for that attorney’s unique mix of skills, experiences, and characteristics. This leads to a greater chance of getting interviews (giving both the firm and the attorney the best chance to do a deep dive into the suitability of the fit) and a greater chance of getting hired.
If you were in the market for a life partner or major investment like a house or car, would you limit yourself to just a few possibilities? Doubtful. You would keep scrolling, meeting, viewing, and test driving until you found the right one. Being overly cautious and reticent about who can see your resume is counterproductive to the goal of getting the best new position you can. This is your life and career we are talking about!
What is the worst that can happen? You approve a firm, go on an interview, and decide you do not like that firm. Ok, no big deal, then you and the firm go your separate ways. But what if you are caught off guard and realize after spending time at that firm and learning about what it has to offer that you are quite excited about the opportunity being presented? At BCG, we have many stories where a candidate approved a firm they had never heard of or was on the fence about. They went with the process and ended up happily accepting an offer with that firm. You need to keep an open mind and embrace the process.
Moreover, you need to remember that the legal job search process is confidential, so approving a lot of firms does not mean that anything will get back to your current firm. It also does not mean that you are somehow a “less worthy” candidate. Just the opposite! The best candidates know that putting themselves out there in a dignified, yet proactive manner reflects their value and an investment in their futures and the mark they will leave on the profession.
Legal Recruiters Versus Legal Placement Professionals
It may help understand that there is a difference between legal recruiters (not BCG) and legal placement professionals (BCG). People often use these terms interchangeably, but they are different. A legal recruiter is someone who works on behalf of a firm to fill a specific position. You know you are dealing with a recruiter when you get a call or an email about a particular position with a specific firm. The recruiter is working the contacts in their database, intending to find a candidate that fits the bill to send back to the firm. The recruiter has little or no interest in the candidate beyond the limited job order the recruiter is trying to fill.
On the other hand, a legal placement professional is working with a candidate to help that candidate find a job. A legal placement professional is finding a placement to fit a candidate as opposed to finding a candidate to fit a job order. A legal placement professional is interested in individual candidates and in learning as much as possible about those candidates so that he or she can best figure out where that candidate fits in the universe of law firms.
Firm Lists as Part of BCG’s Intelligent Candidate-Centered Legal Placement System
There is nothing wrong with legal recruiting, of course. Still, it is not the central mission of what BCG Attorney Search does, and it is not the framework by which BCG makes most of its placements. BCG’s legal placement system is centered around candidates. Because we have such a large national presence on the Internet and otherwise, candidates come to BCG to get new positions. While we can only work with a fraction of those candidates – those with very strong overall qualifications or who have unique skills that make them marketable, once selected, we commit to a candidate. We go “all in” for that candidate. We use all the tools in our toolkit, and one of them is compiling extensive firm lists for our candidates.
While the attorneys we work with are spending their days studying the law and becoming experts in their practice areas, BCG legal placement professionals study the legal market and the various firms in it and become experts in that. We are aided in this effort by cutting-edge technology and a large team of fantastic, dedicated, and insightful behind-the-scenes researchers who are constantly (daily and even hourly) sending us new information, data, analytics, firms, and job openings to keep us current with what is going on in the market.
Equally important is the candidate intelligence we are gathering about our candidates. To determine what our candidates are looking for, we need to know as much as possible about them and what they can bring to the table. Besides gathering up all the paper deliverables like a resume, transcript, representative matter list/deal sheet, and writing sample(s), we like to have extensive conversations with our candidates and have them fill out questionnaires. We understand that we are not placing widgets! We are placing real people with unique experiences and incredible but possibly overlooked talents. We want to give our candidates the most comprehensive array of possibilities to evaluate and consider. We want to ensure that the firms we send them to have as complete and textured a picture as possible about those candidates and what they have to offer.
We use all of this market intelligence and candidate intelligence to put together lists of firms for our candidates. These lists of firms might include those that are large and small, a boutique with specialty practices, those with openings, and those without openings. We also include firms we have worked with before, firms we have not worked with yet, established firms, growing firms, firms with leading practices, firms with developing practices, firms in big markets, firms in small markets, and even firms in markets in other parts of the country or world. All firms that land on a candidate’s lists have in common that they are the product of an advanced and intelligent system that leads to placements.
Next time you get that firm list from your BCG legal placement professional, don’t worry so much. Go ahead and approve! Just make sure there are no firms on there that you have already reached out to on your own or that you have a conflict with for one reason or another. Rest assured, your job search is moving forward as it should – the product of a modern, intelligent, and proven system. Just click and approve and go on with your day, keeping your focus where it should be, on being the best lawyer you can be. We’ll take care of everything else, and one of these days, the legal job search odds are going to favor you.