When Should You Use, or Not Use, a Legal Recruiter to Find a Permanent Law Firm Position as an Associate or Partner | BCGSearch.com

When Should You Use, or Not Use, a Legal Recruiter to Find a Permanent Law Firm Position as an Associate or Partner

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My name is Harrison Barnes. I am the Founder of BCG Attorney Search and have been in the legal placement profession for over two decades. I have personally made thousands of placements and take this profession extremely seriously. What I am about to share with you is the product of tens of thousands of hours of learning, trial and error, and decades of experience. I am still learning every single day, but this is what I know now.
 
 

It is my job to get you a job, and I have set up BCG Attorney Search and other companies I run. If you take the time to review what I am saying here, it is likely to change the course of your career and life for the better. I very much want to help you.

A. The Six Criteria You Need to Meet to Work with BCG Attorney Search in Your Job Search: Why You Should Be Working with BCG Attorney Search if You Have These Qualifications

1. BCG Attorney Search Only Requires You Meet These Six Criteria to Work with Them

You can almost always benefit from using BCG Attorney Search to find permanent law firm positions if you:


  1. Are currently employed full-time by a law firm as an associate or partner;
  2. Have stability working in a law firm in a (single) primary practice area (or a few related practice areas);
  3. Are a United States citizen with a JD degree in the United States;
  4. Are admitted to the bar (or can waive in) to the state where you want to work;
  5. Have between one and six years of experience as an associate working in a law firm or,
  6. If you have more than six years of experience,
    1. have a portable business that is 3 to 4 times the amount of money you expect a law firm to pay you,
    2. be specialized in a hard-to-find, in-demand practice area in the market you seeking a position in.

2. You Should Certainly Work with BCG Attorney Search If You Meet These Six Criteria

If you meet these six requirements, it is in your best interest to work with BCG Attorney Search – law firms of all sizes engage us to find people like you.
We want to help you, can, and will. We can get you more and better jobs if you follow our system, and you will benefit from using us. There is no charge for our service, and we want to help you and can do so.

You will get more interviews and jobs working through us than you would if you searched on your own. Because you are a good candidate, law firms will take your applications seriously, and most expect you to have an agent like BCG Attorney Search and are more comfortable if you do. They feel more comfortable hiring through agents just as you feel more comfortable buying a house, or similar activity, using an agent to ask questions, assist with information and act as an intermediary. You should definitely be using a recruiter, and it will drastically potentiate the results you get. Read Testimonials Here

If you fulfill these six requirements (which most career law firm associates and partners do), law firms can make a lot of money from you, and recruiting firms like BCG Attorney Search are hired to find and deliver people just like you. We want to work with you, and we have clients all over the United States likely to be interested in you.

Unlike other legal recruiters, we do not care where you went to law school or what your practice area is. We are experts in what law firms want and finding and delivering the people they want. We have worked with hundreds of thousands of attorneys, do nothing but law firm placements, and are the best in the world at what we do. Our firm has gotten thousands of jobs for attorneys from every law school and practice area. We make more placements most weeks than most recruiters make all year because we understand you, law firms, and the market and are committed to what we do.
 

We hope you meet these criteria!

If you do, we will do whatever we can to help you—and put the entire weight of our company behind you. If you follow our advice and stick with it, you will succeed with us if you truly want to find another law firm position. If you do not meet these criteria, we will do everything in our power to educate you and make you marketable through us. If we cannot make you marketable through us (keep reading), we will show, teach and get you positions with you applying on your own– we care about this profession and you.

There are hundreds of reasons you should use a legal recruiter if you meet these criteria. BCG Attorney Search is asked to find attorneys like you, works exclusively with hundreds of law firms seeking people like you, knows how to package your experience to make you marketable, researches jobs and firms for you, interfaces with law firms for you, prepares and submits your applications and follows up on them, is constantly searching for new positions for you, makes recommendations of firms you would never hear of, prepares you for and schedules your interviews, provides you with information about the firms you are applying to, negotiates you the salary and gives you the credibility that comes through our name (law firms know we have done this screening).

Law firm recruiting departments also pay more attention to applicants coming through BCG Attorney Search because they know we understand what they are looking for, there are fewer risks associated with hiring our candidates, and it is less work for them. Compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars (or millions) you will generate for the firm if you are the right sort of candidate, our fees are a non-issue for almost every law firm. Many law firms hire almost all of their attorneys through us because they know we understand what they are looking for and make money with our hires (and often lose it when they hire on their own).

If we cannot help you as your agent, we can help you in other ways. Yearly we help tens of thousands of attorneys conduct searches on their own – and we can help you with that, too (we can help you apply on your own, tell you about other resources, prepare you for interviews, and more--but we cannot represent you directly in your search).
 

3. What Happens When You Do Not Meet These Criteria and Work with BCG Attorney Search and We Represent You Anyway

As the Founder of BCG Attorney Search, I have a huge heart. I want to help everyone and always have. We have profound respect for attorneys, the legal profession, and people who try hard to lift themselves up by going to law school, following the rules, and going out in the world like you have to make a difference for clients needing assistance. The few people who helped me in my life made a profound difference in my future and changed me. I want to pay it forward for you as well—but there are limits to what I can do at BCG Attorney Search (as your agent). For me, it is about seeing your potential, believing in you, and wanting to help – regardless of the cost to us, financially or otherwise. If you are familiar with me, you know that I believe in you and want nothing more than to help you.

However, when I represent candidates who do not meet these six criteria this is what happens:

  • Law firms get mad at us, hurting our relationship with them (and our ability to place future attorneys with them). They send nasty notes, talk negatively about us and make our employees feel horrible. They call on the phone and say rude things to us and are upset. They make us follow special procedures before sending anyone to them to avoid seeing people they do not want. It creates problems for us all. They do not understand we are trying to help people—they are mad because they are paying clients, and we are not giving them what we want. They do not care; we are trying to help and believe in you. Instead, they think we do not know what we are doing, do not understand them, and are wasting their time.
  • Candidates get mad at us because law firms will not hire them through us when they can find attorneys who meet these qualifications. Candidates call us, send mean notes, make our employees feel bad, and we risk our reputation in the market. They also spend longer finding positions than they otherwise would because law firms are not nearly interested in them unless their background meets these criteria. Candidates believe we do not know what we are doing, do not have good contacts, are wasting their time, are not marketing them properly, and are not effective companies. These candidates talk to others, hurt our reputation, and more.
  • We lose time, money, and law firm relationships, candidates are angry with us, and our employees are also frustrated. We spend money trying to help people we cannot. This provides less money for finding jobs, building relationships, and hiring more people and puts our existence at risk. We try our best to help everyone, but it is not worth it when law firms, candidates, and our employees are upset. We often help people we should not because we are moved by their stories or remember the rare exceptions when we placed someone without the correct criteria—but this exercise most often does not do us any good. It is unfortunate it works this way, but we are not in business to upset people, and it makes no sense for us to proactively put ourselves in a position where we are upsetting our law firm clients, candidates, and own employees. We are not in business to make people upset or throw away money.

Law firms want to make money off of you, and if you do not meet these six criteria, they will be concerned they cannot do so (I will explain why below).

See: Why Attorneys Need to be Exploited to Succeed

We also cannot invest our time and money in you because law firms will not pay us to hire you—and you will not give our service good reviews when we do not help you.

We have tools and resources to help you get a position if we cannot do so as your agent at BCG Attorney Search, but we cannot help you as recruiters and placement agents interfacing with the law firm on your behalf. Our Number One Core Value is WE MUST GET ATTORNEY JOBS, and we want to help you – not just the way you may expect.

As explained below, the ten reasons you should not use a legal recruiter, what to do about it, and how we can still help you. The advice I am giving you below has helped hundreds of thousands of attorneys find employment, reshape their backgrounds and find success. This will help you too.
  • have a portable business that is 3 to 4 times the amount of money you expect a law firm to pay you, or
  • be specialized in a hard-to-find, in-demand practice area in the market you seeking a position in.
These reasons can be broken down into The Ten Reasons You Should Not Be Using a Legal Recruiter (as your direct agent) to find a law firm position:

  1. You should not be using a legal recruiter to find permanent law firm positions if you are unemployed.
  2. You should not be using a legal recruiter if you are not currently working at a law firm.
  3. If you are not a full-time associate or partner, you should not be using a legal recruiter.
  4. You should not use a legal recruiter to find a permanent law firm position if you are not a United States Citizen or do not have a US JD.
  5. If you do not have employment stability working in a law firm, you should not be using a legal recruiter.
  6. You should not use a legal recruiter if you do not primarily work in a single, primary practice area (or a few related practice areas).
  7. You should not use a legal recruiter if you do not have between one to six years of experience working in a law firm.
  8. Senior attorneys with more than six years of experience and no business should not use a legal recruiter unless they meet certain extenuating circumstances.
  9. A senior attorney with more than six years of experience who are not highly specialized or in a very in-demand practice area should not be using a legal recruiter.
  10. If you are not admitted to the bar (or can waive in, or otherwise get readily admitted) to the state where you want to work, you should not be using a legal recruiter.

1. You should not be using a legal recruiter to find permanent law firm positions if you are unemployed.

If you are not currently employed full-time somewhere, you are not marketable through a recruiter in most instances. If you are not working full-time somewhere, you likely should not be using a recruiter either.
 
A. You should not use a legal recruiter to find a permanent law firm position if you are unemployed.
Not being employed creates a presumption you were fired for performance issues (or otherwise), had personality conflicts, quit because you could not get along with others, were worried about getting fired and quit, do not want to work, do not need to work and multiple other reasons that frighten law firms.

BCG Attorney Search places attorneys who took maternity leave, were fired, and are unemployed and under other circumstances on a regular basis. However, law firms will only hire you if you are unemployed if they have outstanding, rare, hard-to-find skills in the market and reasons for being unemployed that do not bring into question your performance or commitment. We will work with you and can benefit certain unemployed attorneys – but there is a risk to you and us of working with you because your background draws suspicion and doubts in law firms.

When choosing between an employed and unemployed attorney, almost all law firms will choose the employed attorneys because there are fewer risks. You are a massive risk if you are unemployed (or never employed).

If you are unemployed, the law firm assumes this was your fault. In their experience, most unemployed attorneys create problems at their new employer or have performance issues. Unless you are outstanding and they could otherwise not ordinarily find someone like you, law firms certainly are not interested in engaging an outside agency to find an unemployed attorney and paying the agency a fee.

If I am unemployed, what can I do?
 
  • Make sure you have an outstanding explanation for why you are unemployed. If you are not working, you need to be able to convince law firms that this was through no fault of your own, you do great work, work hard, are a team player, and want more than anything to work. If you were fired, you need to understand how to frame an explanation that makes it look like this had nothing to do with you. If you are having difficulty coming up with an explanation, you can review the following resources on BCG Attorney Search.
  • Use LawCrossing for Your Search. LawCrossing monitors law firms, in-house, government, public interest, and other employers for positions. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing posts positions at no cost to employers and proactively go out and find positions. Because LawCrossing works for you and not employers, LawCrossing gives you complete access to the market.
  • Educate yourself using BCG Attorney Search’s career resources that discuss unemployment.

       
  • Attend Harrison Barnes’ weekly webinars and subscribe to our podcast. I hold weekly webinars followed by Q&A every Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can register here.
  • Update your resume with BCG Attorney Search every six months as your background changes. You can always update your resume here. We want to work with you and will if your experience changes!
 
B. You should not use a legal recruiter if you are working part-time.
If you are working part-time, law firms believe (1) you do not want to, (2) the law firm does not have enough work that it wants to give you (due to the quality of your work), or (3) you have other priorities. Law firms prefer to hire people that are engaged and committed. Law firms make money when you do good work, work lots of hours, and through yourself into your job—the more hours the better. Attorneys who do not work full-time are unlikely to advance in their next firm and become liabilities—they will be unavailable when the firm gets busy and prioritize their personal life over the firm. Law firms want to hire attorneys whose priority is the firm and not their own lives.
 
  • Make sure you have an outstanding explanation for why you are not employed full-time. If you are not working full-time, you need an answer that makes it look like you are committed to full-time employment. This explanation should preferably highlight that you are good at practicing law, have been well-received, are a team player, are committed, and want to work full time. This information should be in your cover letter and something you should be prepared to discuss in your interviews. Your answer needs to be convincing and turn this negative into a positive. Why Law Firms Are Hiring More and More Staff Attorneys: Should You Work as a Staff Attorney?
     
  • Use LawCrossing for Your Search. LawCrossing monitors law firms, in-house, government, public interest, and other employers for positions. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing posts positions at no cost to employers and proactively go out and find positions. Because LawCrossing works for you and not employers, LawCrossing gives you complete access to the market.
  • Educate yourself using BCG Attorney Search’s career resources that discuss working part-time.

       
  • Attend Harrison Barnes’ weekly webinars and subscribe to our podcast. I hold weekly webinars followed by Q&A every Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can register here.
     
  • Update your resume with BCG Attorney Search every six months as your background changes. You can always update your resume here. We want to work with you and will if your experience changes!
 
C. If I am not currently employed full-time, what actions should I take?
  • Make sure you have an outstanding explanation for why you are not employed full-time. If you are not working full-time, you need an answer that makes it look like you are committed to full-time employment. This explanation should preferably highlight that you are good at practicing law, have been well-received, are a team player, are committed, and want to work full time. This information should be in your cover letter and something you should be prepared to discuss in your interviews. Your answer needs to be convincing and turn this negative into a positive. Why Law Firms Are Hiring More and More Staff Attorneys: Should You Work as a Staff Attorney?
     
  • Make sure you have an outstanding explanation for why you are unemployed. If you are not working, you need to be able to convince law firms that this was through no fault of your own, you do great work, work hard, are a team player, and want more than anything to work. If you were fired, you need to understand how to frame an explanation that makes it look like this had nothing to do with you. If you are having difficulty coming up with an explanation, you can review the following resources on BCG Attorney Search.
     
  • Use LawCrossing for Your Search. LawCrossing monitors law firms, in-house, government, public interest, and other employers for positions. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing posts positions at no cost to employers and proactively go out and find positions. Because LawCrossing works for you and not employers, LawCrossing gives you complete access to the market.
  • Educate yourself using BCG Attorney Search’s career resources that discuss unemployment.

       
  • Attend Harrison Barnes’ weekly webinars and subscribe to our podcast. I hold weekly webinars followed by Q&A every Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can register here.
     
  • Update your resume with BCG Attorney Search every six months as your background changes. You can always update your resume here. We want to work with you and will if your experience changes!
 
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2. You should not be using a legal recruiter if you are not currently working at a law firm.

Law firms want to hire lateral attorneys coming from the same practice setting. If you are coming from in-house, the government, academia, currently in law school (or recently graduated), or otherwise, you are a risk. You either worked in a law firm and did not like doing so, were uncommitted to it, or never worked in one. Regardless, if this is the case, you are too risky. Law firms prefer to hire people coming directly from law firms. Practice settings other than law firms have different expectations for their attorneys, and in most cases, expectations are less than what law firms have. While there are some exceptions to this rule (such as federal judicial law clerks), in most cases, law firms prefer to hire attorneys from peer law firms rather than clerkships. Even if you are coming out of a prestigious clerkship with a federal judge, all things considered, most law firms would prefer to hire an attorney coming from a prestigious law firm than the clerk. The clerk is not a proven, trained commodity for the law firm, and someone coming from a good firm is.
 
A. If I am not currently working in a law firm, what other options do I have?
  • Craft an explanation for law firms of why your experience qualifies you to work in a law firm. You need to come up with explanations that discuss why your experience qualifies you to work inside of a law firm.
     
  • Use LawCrossing for Your Search. LawCrossing monitors law firms, in-house, government, public interest, and other employers for positions. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing posts positions at no cost to employers and proactively go out and find positions. Because LawCrossing works for you and not employers, LawCrossing gives you complete access to the market.
  • Educate yourself using BCG Attorney Search’s career resources that discuss not currently working at a law firm.

       
  • Attend Harrison Barnes’ weekly webinars and subscribe to our podcast. I hold weekly webinars followed by Q&A every Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can register here.
     
  • Update your resume with BCG Attorney Search every six months as your background changes. You can always update your resume here. We want to work with you and will if your experience changes!
 
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3. If you are not a full-time associate or partner, you should not be using a legal recruiter.

If you have a title in a law firm other than a full-time associate, or partner, most law firms will not be interested in you for full-time positions. If you are a staff attorney, contract attorney, paralegal, clerk, or another title than an attorney, law firms will presume you either did not want a titled position or were not offered one. Law firms will choose people currently working as associates or partners over someone with other titles. While counsel attorneys are sometimes marketable as well, this position connotes an interest in not trying to be a partner or committing at the same level.
 
A. If I have a title other than an associate or partner, what other options do I have?
  • Ensure you have a good explanation to offer firms about why you have a title other than an associate or partner. If you have a different title, law firms should believe that you want to be an associate or a partner and that there are reasons you have another title. Law firms want motivated people to be associates and partners who desire titles and merit titles and are willing to work full-time. Sample titles: Account Representative, Assistant Clerk, Assistant Defender, Case Clerk, Chief in-house counsel, Chief of Litigation, Claim Representative, Clinic Law Student.
     
  • Apply to other firms hiring people not working full-time (if you are not working full-time). If you are working part-time and seeking a position, you can also try applying to part-time positions in law firms. You can find a list of part-time jobs here. Contract Staff Attorney Jobs
     
  • Use LawCrossing for Your Search. LawCrossing monitors law firms, in-house, government, public interest, and other employers for positions. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing posts positions at no cost to employers and proactively go out and find positions. Because LawCrossing works for you and not employers, LawCrossing gives you complete access to the market.
  • Educate yourself using BCG Attorney Search’s career resources that discuss not being a full-time associate or partner.

       
  • Attend Harrison Barnes’ weekly webinars and subscribe to our podcast. I hold weekly webinars followed by Q&A every Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can register here.
     
  • Update your resume with BCG Attorney Search every six months as your background changes. You can always update your resume here. We want to work with you and will if your experience changes!
 
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4. If you do not have employment stability working in a law firm, you should not be using a legal recruiter.ou should not use a legal recruiter to find a permanent law firm position if you are not a United States Citizen, or do not have a US JD.

Hiring foreign attorneys is too much of a risk for attorneys. Not only do they need visas to meet all sorts of expensive requirements, but they are also unlikely to stick around and often have experience in a different legal system. Regardless if the attorney is admitted to a bar or received an LLM, they are too much of a risk to hire compared to US citizens. If you are not a United States citizen with a JD degree, you should not be using a legal recruiter.
 
A. If I am not a United States citizen or have a JD degree outside of the United States, what other options do I have?
If you get an LLM, there are some law firms that will hire you as an associate once you pass the bar. There are also other law firms that hire you in temporary roles as well.
 
  • US law firms do not hire foreign attorneys because they are worried about them leaving, the expense and hassle of visas, and whether or not their experience is compatible with the law firm’s work.
     
See: LLM (Master of Law) in USA: An Overview, How Valuable Is an LLM in Increasing Marketability?, Find a Position in The USA as a Foreign Attorney

To convince a US law firm to hire you, you need to be prepared to explain:

1. Why you are likely to stay.
2. Why the law firm should invest in you.
3. Why your experience is compatible with what the firm needs.

Law firms will take a risk on you (and do) if they believe you are likely to stick around, will be trainable and commit more than US associates and not need a lot of hand-holding. Law firms take risks in practice areas with many turnovers (primarily corporate-related practice areas). If you appear to the firm like a wise investment, they may hire you if they believe (1) you will commit and (2) you are unlikely to leave.
 
  • Use LawCrossing for Your Search. LawCrossing monitors law firms, in-house, government, public interest, and other employers for positions. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing posts positions at no cost to employers and proactively go out and find positions. Because LawCrossing works for you and not employers, LawCrossing gives you complete access to the market.
  • Educate yourself using BCG Attorney Search’s career resources that discuss not being a United States citizen or having a JD degree outside of the United States.

       
  • Attend Harrison Barnes’ weekly webinars and subscribe to our podcast. I hold weekly webinars followed by Q&A every Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can register here.
     
  • Update your resume with BCG Attorney Search every six months as your background changes. You can always update your resume here. We want to work with you and will if your experience changes!

5. Stability means that you are committed to working in a law firm, in a given market, in a given practice area, and it looks like you will try and settle down and make it work wherever you go. If you do not have employment stability working in a law firm, you should not be using a legal recruiter.

If you look like you move a lot or will move in the future, the law firm will be much less interested in you than they would be in an attorney with stability. Switching locations, practice settings, employers, gaps on your resume, frequent moves, and otherwise looking unstable will make you unmarketable to most law firms. If you look like you do not have stability, law firms will hire someone who does.

See: How Does Stability Make You Highly Marketable, Will You Do The Job Long Term, Why You Should Never Take Jobs If You're Not 'All In', The Five Reasons Law Firms and Legal Employers Do Not Hire You After an Interview
 
A. If I do not have employment stability working in a law firm, what other options do I have?
       
  • Attend Harrison Barnes’ weekly webinars and subscribe to our podcast. I hold weekly webinars followed by Q&A every Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can register here.
     
  • Update your resume with BCG Attorney Search every six months as your background changes. You can always update your resume here. We want to work with you and will if your experience changes!
 
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6. You should not use a legal recruiter if you do not primarily work in a single, primary practice area.

When hiring laterally, law firms hire specialists, not generalists or people who do a lot of different practice areas. The more specialized you are, the better—ideally, law firms see this specialization throughout their career. If you have experience in several practice areas or do not look committed on paper to a single area, the law firm will choose someone committed to a single area. If you have experience in several practice areas and are not an expert in at least one of them, law firms will believe you do not have the depth of expertise to serve their clients (most of whom want to hire specialists). They will also question your commitment to working for them because you are happy to do work in various practice areas.

See: How to Select the Right Practice Area and Position Your Resume for Success in Your Legal Job Search, How to Find Your Ideal Practice Area
 
A. If I do not work in a single, primary practice area, what other options do I have?
  • Make sure you have an excellent explanation to offer firms about why you want to commit to a single practice area, modify your resume to emphasize experience in a single practice area, and deemphasize your other experience. If you are a generalist or have experience in multiple practice areas, law firms will believe you are a jack of all trades and a master of none. To convince law firms that you are interested in working as a specialist, you need to frame your experience as all leading to wanting to be a specialist and give the firm you want to work there so that you can specialize. You also need to do what you can to play down aspects of your resume that speak about different practice areas and not the area you are trying to get a position in.
     
  • Use LawCrossing for Your Search. LawCrossing monitors law firms, in-house, government, public interest, and other employers for positions. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing posts positions at no cost to employers and proactively go out and find positions. Because LawCrossing works for you and not employers, LawCrossing gives you complete access to the market.
  • Educate yourself using BCG Attorney Search’s career resources that discuss about people who do not work in a single, primary practice area.

       
  • Attend my weekly webinars and subscribe to my podcast. I hold weekly webinars followed by Q&A every Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can register here.
     
  • Update your resume with BCG Attorney Search every six months as your background changes. You can always update your resume here. We want to work with you and will if your experience changes!
 
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7. You should not use a legal recruiter if you do not have between one to six years of experience working in a law firm.

Law firms are only interested in lateral attorneys with experience, do not hire law students, and rarely hire attorneys with less than one year of experience. Attorneys with more than six years of experience are more difficult to market unless they have a portable business or are in rare, hard-to-find practice areas. They do not hire law students or recent graduates with no post-bar exam experience from legal placement agencies.

See: How Much Attention Should Attorneys Pay to the Level of Experience a Law Firm is Seeking in Job Postings?
 
A. If I do not have between one and six years of experience working in a law firm, what other options do I have?
  • If you are not in the one to six years of experience range, you need to be prepared to explain why the law firm can benefit from hiring you. If you have less than one year of experience or have never had a position, you need to sell law firms on your enthusiasm and eagerness to work. Suppose you have less than one year of experience and work in a law firm after the bar. In that case, you need to be prepared to explain any extenuating circumstances leading you to search for a position early in your career. These could be issues in your firm, a move for family reasons, or other reasons (hopefully) beyond your control. See: The Kick-Ass Marketing Secret of the Most Successful Job Applicants and Employees
     
  • Use LawCrossing for Your Search. LawCrossing monitors law firms, in-house, government, public interest, and other employers for positions. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing posts positions at no cost to employers and proactively go out and find positions. Because LawCrossing works for you and not employers, LawCrossing gives you complete access to the market.
  • Educate yourself using BCG Attorney Search’s career resources that discuss not having between one and six years of experience working in a law firm.

   
  • Attend my weekly webinars and subscribe to my podcast. I hold weekly webinars followed by Q&A every Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can register here.
     
  • Update your resume with BCG Attorney Search every six months as your background changes. You can always update your resume here. We want to work with you and will if your experience changes!
 
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8. Senior attorneys with more than six years of experience and no business should not use a legal recruiter unless they meet certain extenuating circumstances.

If the attorney has more than six years of experience and no business, they should be at a firm where they expect to make partners or have a shot at doing so. When attorneys get more senior, they also cost more, and the billing rates law firms charge clients for them increase. If the attorney is not partner material, they will likely seek jobs in other practice settings (or in-house). When senior attorneys look for jobs, there is a presumption they did not add enough value to their previous employer (though hours and quality of work) and were unwelcome in their firm. Senior attorneys failing at one firm are potential liabilities to the new firm because they could undermine the system and create issues. Also, senior attorneys often are "set in their ways" and may not be able to adapt to the culture or how the new firm operates. Finally, as attorneys get more experience, many lose their sense of optimism and drive and do not work as hard, and become cynical and pessimistic.

See: The Reasons Most Attorneys with 5+ Years of Law Firm Experience Are in Serious Trouble, The 7 Steps Attorneys with 5+ Years of Law Firm Experience Must Take to Save Their Legal Careers
 
A. If I have more than six years of experience and no business, what other options do I have?
  • If you have more than six years of experience, you must demonstrate that you have or can generate business quickly. If you do not have a business, the law firm will most often want to know why and see a plan that indicates you will get business. If you do have a portable business, law firms will want to see proof that you have had a business and have been able to maintain it for a long time.
     
  • Use LawCrossing for Your Search. LawCrossing monitors law firms, in-house, government, public interest, and other employers for positions. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing posts positions at no cost to employers and proactively go out and find positions. Because LawCrossing works for you and not employers, LawCrossing gives you complete access to the market.
  • Educate yourself using BCG Attorney Search’s career resources that discuss have more than six years of experience and no business.

       
  • Attend Harrison Barnes’ weekly webinars and subscribe to our podcast. I hold weekly webinars followed by Q&A every Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can register here.
     
  • Update your resume with BCG Attorney Search every six months as your background changes. You can always update your resume here. We want to work with you and will if your experience changes!
 
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9. A senior attorney with more than six years of experience who are not highly specialized or in a very in-demand practice area should not be using a legal recruiter.

If an attorney has more than six years of experience in a practice area that is not highly specialized or very active at the moment, they will not be marketable. Law firms hire specialists and not generalists. Many times, an attorney with more than six years of experience may not be marketable in one area of the country but is marketable in another. For example, there are thousands of securities attorneys in New York City but very few in markets like upstate New York, Detroit, and others. Just because you are senior and do not have a business does not mean that you are not marketable – it just may mean you are not marketable in specific markets.
 
A. If I have more than six years of experience and am not highly specialized or in a very in-demand practice area, what should I do?
  • If you have more than six years of experience and no business, you need to demonstrate that you have extensive experience in an in-demand, busy practice area and are willing to put your head down and work hard. If you are in an in-demand practice area, you need to demonstrate your expertise, that you are eager to work hard, and that the risks of hiring you as a senior attorney are justified.
     
  • Use LawCrossing for Your Search. LawCrossing monitors law firms, in-house, government, public interest, and other employers for positions. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing posts positions at no cost to employers and proactively go out and find positions. Because LawCrossing works for you and not employers, LawCrossing gives you complete access to the market.
  • Educate yourself using BCG Attorney Search’s career resources that discuss about having more than six years of experience and not highly specialized or in a very in-demand practice area.

       
  • Attend Harrison Barnes’ weekly webinars and subscribe to our podcast. I hold weekly webinars followed by Q&A every Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can register here.
     
  • Update your resume with BCG Attorney Search every six months as your background changes. You can always update your resume here. We want to work with you and will if your experience changes!
 
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10. If you are not admitted to the bar (or can waive in, or otherwise get readily admitted) to the state where you want to work, you should not be using a legal recruiter.

Law firms will not hire you are not admitted to the bar. Some states (such as Washington, DC) are comparatively simple to waive into. In particular, law firms in California and Florida will rarely hire you at the lateral level unless you are admitted to the bar. Since so many experienced attorneys fail the bar exam in these states, law firms prefer to hire people already admitted to the bar.

See: What is Bar Reciprocity and Which States Allow You to Waive Into the Bar?
 
A. If I am not admitted to the bar or cannot easily waive in, what other options do I have?
  • If you are not admitted to the bar in the state you are trying to work, you need to demonstrate that you are committed to doing so and will be short. If you are applying to law firms in markets like California and Florida and do not have the bar exam, signing up to take the bar, or even taking it before applying, is the best bet. You should be trying to waive the bar when applying to firms in states where you are not admitted. In many instances, law firms are in markets where it is difficult to pass the bar before finalizing their employment offers—but not always.
     
  • Use LawCrossing for Your Search. LawCrossing monitors law firms, in-house, government, public interest, and other employers for positions. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing posts positions at no cost to employers and proactively go out and find positions. Because LawCrossing works for you and not employers, LawCrossing gives you complete access to the market.
  • Educate yourself using BCG Attorney Search’s career resources that discuss about not being admitted to the bar or cannot easily waive in.

   
  • Attend Harrison Barnes’ weekly webinars and subscribe to our podcast. I hold weekly webinars followed by Q&A every Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can register here.
     
  • Update your resume with BCG Attorney Search every six months as your background changes. You can always update your resume here. We want to work with you and will if your experience changes!
 
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See More Tips Below:
 
  • Do an extensive search and apply to many firms in your market without openings. If you are the only applicant to a firm and the firm has no other applicants, you will have a much better chance of getting positions because if they have work, they may take a chance on you. After all, it is easier than spending time searching for a new attorney.
    See: How to Rapidly Get Law Firm Offers (Even When Firms Have No Openings)
     
  • Apply to firms that are not on the "radar" of other attorneys looking for positions. This means applying to firms that no one is heard of, that are not listed in directories, and may require research to find. These law firms likely do not receive a lot of applicants.
    See: How BCG Attorney Search Finds Legal Job Openings for its Candidates
     
  • Apply to firms just as soon as they have openings. Law firms hire from the first applicants. If you are among the first applicants, the law firm is more likely to hire you than if you apply later.
    See: What Happens When You Work with a BCG Attorney Search Legal Placement Professional?
     
  • Apply to firms in other markets with jobs. Larger markets (Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Houston, and so forth) have many more people to choose from when they have openings. You are often much better off applying to markets where there are not enough attorneys and applicants for jobs. Law firms in larger markets often have plenty of people to choose from.
    See: Breaking Into a Smaller Market  
     
  • Apply to firms in other markets without jobs. Just because you are not having luck in your own market does not mean you will not be able to find positions in other markets.
    See: Unemployed and Looking to Increase Marketability  
     
  • Apply to firms at a lower prestige level than you would otherwise be capable of getting a position with. If you apply to firms at a lower prestige level than people with your credentials typically apply to, you should do much better than if you try and put yourself in competition with people with the same, or better, credentials than yourself.
    See: Whether Most Attorneys Consider Prestige or Salary More Important
     
  • Apply to positions in your current practice setting, or different practice settings. If you apply to employers in different practice settings (government, public interest, in-house, academia, alternative legal careers), you are likely to experience success.
    See: Finding Your Area of the Law–the How and When!

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and a successful legal recruiter. He 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.

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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