Second Year Associate Looking for a Firm he Could Call Home |

Second Year Associate Looking for a Firm he Could Call Home

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Second Year Associate Looking for a Firm he Could Call Home This candidate came as a surprise. He was a litigator at an AmLaw 100 firm in New York City and was in no danger of being laid-off, despite being Corona Virus times. At first I suspected that perhaps he was being worked into the ground as is often the case when you are a junior associate at a top law firm in New York City. However, this was also not the case. This was a candidate who just felt he wasn't getting enough substantive experience at the firm and was getting impatient with his lack of development as a young associate.

I explained to this candidate that going to another top law firm was going to be a fairly similar experience but perhaps the culture would be more focused on developing young associates. After all, while you are certainly going to work hard at all the top firms, not all firms are the same with respect to how they view attorney development. Some firms pride themselves on teaching aspiring attorneys how to both develop litigation skills as well as how to develop business, something that becomes key later on in your career advancement. I also explained to this candidate that looking at smaller firms and perhaps firms outside of New York, would be smart with respect to getting hired sooner rather than later and finding a firm that would allow him to get in on the action and have him going to court as a second or third year. This was a candidate who was a true litigator at heart; he wanted to be in on the "front lines" so to speak and was tired of what he described as mundane paper pushing that he was currently doing at his job.

This candidate had excellent undergraduate grades (summa cum laude) but not at a particularly top university but a good one nonetheless. He also had stellar grades (cum laude) in law school but again at not a particularly noteworthy law school. However, throughout his academic career he had shown that he could excel in school and that he always aimed to be at the top of his class. I believe this made him a top candidate since law firms pay a lot of attention to law school grades, especially at the junior level. But perhaps what made this candidate most appealing was that he wasn't concerned with the name of the firm or prestige, nor too concerned with salary. He just wanted to become the best lawyer possible.

Within a week of submitting him to multiple firms he almost immediately got an interview with a great firm but a much smaller firm than the one he was currently at and it was a firm that was outside of New York City. At first the candidate was concerned that he was too young to be going to the suburbs and that his social life, including dating life might suffer outside of New York City. But I persuaded the candidate that if anything his dating and social life might improve outside of New York City where no one has time for anyone.

Ultimately, he took the interview and despite it being COVID, where hiring has taken much longer than normal, he was asked for a second round interview and another writing sample. A few weeks later he was offered a position. This candidate did not seem to be super excited when I told him about the offer (which in this market as a second year with little experience is actually quite a feat). I was sure he was going to turn it down. I told him that this was very impressive and after having spoken with the firm, I told him I knew they really wanted him there and wanted him to get front line experience as soon as possible, which is what he had ultimately told me was very important to him. He later told me that it wasn't that he was indifferent about the offer, but that he was in disbelief since he really thought he wasn't going to get the job.

What is clear from this candidate's experience is that the firm was able to see that he genuinely cared about practicing law and developing his litigation skills. This candidate was willing to take a significant pay cut, move out of New York City and go to a much smaller firm all because he knew that this firm would ultimately be a place he could see himself at 10, 15, 20 years down the road. This associate knew he didn't want to stay at his current firm and knew he wanted a firm where he saw a future and so he took some short term sacrifices for what will undoubtedly be a long and prosperous career at his new firm.

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,, and, 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
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