Junior Associates with Extraordinary Credentials Don't Necessarily Need Law Firm Experience | BCGSearch.com

Junior Associates with Extraordinary Credentials Don't Necessarily Need Law Firm Experience

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All law firms want to hire litigators with top, top credentials. All of them, even mid-sized and smaller law firms. Litigation is one of the most credentials conscious practice areas, period. There are a lot of litigators out there in the job market, but not all of them meet firm expectations. Firms want to hire litigators who went to top law schools, did well at those schools, were active in student organizations that taught trial advocacy skills (moot court, mock trial, student attorney clinics), participated in law review, and preferably had a clerkship after law school. Lateral candidates who meet these criteria are hard to find and competition to hire them is fierce.
Junior Associates with Extraordinary Credentials Don't Necessarily Need Law Firm Experience

Generally speaking, firms also want to hire lateral candidates who have law firm experience, either during law school or after graduating (if the candidate didn't go the clerkship route). There are some exceptions to this rule, but the candidate needs a good story to explain why they have no law firm experience. For example, a candidate may have spent both summers interning for judges because they knew they wanted to clerk after law school and thought it would give them a competitive advantage and/or great reference for clerkship applications. Or, the candidate decided to study for an additional degree, and spent their summers taking courses in another academic program.

Here, the candidate's experience checked all the boxes except one. He'd gone to a Top 10 law school, participated in all the right activities, and summered at an Am Law firm, receiving an offer to join the firm after law school graduation. However, this candidate wanted to get trial experience quickly after graduating from law school. On the advice of a law school professor, he applied for a position with the Attorney General's Honors Program, which is recognized as the premier entry level recruitment program for government attorneys. This program is as or more selective than hiring at top law firms. And it promises attorneys early hands-on litigation experience that they may not receive at a major law firm.
This candidate loved working as a government attorney but always knew he eventually wanted to join a law firm. His commitment to the honors program was for two years. However, due to a family illness he decided to leave the program early and move home to be closer to family. This candidate had extraordinary credentials, so we decided to reach out to all the top law firms in his desired location, even firms that did not have current job openings. One of these firms recognized this candidate's potential and interviewed him as soon as possible. They met an exceptionally driven junior litigator with an outstanding educational and professional background. On top of that, he was a great personality fit for the firm who had a long-term commitment to the practice of law. They made him an above market offer and helped him relocate as soon as he finished his on-going projects for the honors program. He has enjoyed his experience since joining the firm and continues to grow as an attorney.
A few of take-aways from this case study: 1) Law firms want to hire litigators with top credentials so associates should do whatever they can to strengthen their resumes, both in law school and after graduating; 2) Law firms will consider government attorneys, if they are in a prestigious role and have not worked for the government too long. Generally, if candidates want to make a lateral move to a law firm, they should only work for the government for a couple of years; 3) Firms prefer lateral candidates who have a compelling reason for making a move, and a relocation to be closer to family is a great reason to seek a new job.
This search demonstrates that law firm partners jump at the chance to hire associates with top credentials, even when they take a non-traditional career path.

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog, HarrisonBarnes.com, and BCGSearch.com, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

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.
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