When A Law Firm Considers Who It Wants To Interview And Hire - Multiple People Ask, Do We Like This Attorney?
[00:00:00] Today's webinar is one of the most important, in terms of the questions, that law firms ask, when they're hiring you. And, I did wanna share this real briefly. This is the, the five most important things that, that law firms are asking whenever they're hiring you. and I talk about this pretty much in. webinar. This is of course, today is about the fifth one is whether or not we like you, but it's, can you do the job, which is essentially asking, do you have the qualifications and do you have the experience to do the work? can you be managed, which means, do you look like you'll follow instructions and do the things that you're asked to do, will you do the job long term? Do we believe that you'll stick around? if you're, offered the job and the fourth one is, do you want the job, meaning people are more likely to hire you if you really want the job, as opposed if you don't and then the fifth one of course is, do we like you, which is what this one, is about today. and so that's what we're gonna be talking about. And, this is actually, a lot more than, just liking you. it's really about, fitting in with a culture it's about, it's about kind of everything that's going on behind the scenes when people are made offers when [00:01:00] people join firms.
And it's an important thing to consider also is it's also the most, subjective meaning, it's not so much based on, your qualities it's based on more, the feeling you give people when they interview you, when they talk to you, whether or not they feel like you'll support them, whether or not they actually wanna spend time with you and like you and people, by the way, hire people that are most like them. it doesn't matter necessarily. what your background is, but they hire people. There's just certain personality types. Some people are very, detail oriented. Some people are very enthusiastic. Some people are, so everyone has different types of personalities and people tend to, wanna bring people in that they feel, share personalities and so forth similar to them.
So that's what we're gonna be talking about today. And, when people look at your resume, there's a lot of questions, that come up. one of them is, the, when they ask is really gonna depend on, understanding. how, to be liked by law firms and also, a lot of other factors, that are involved.
And, a lot of times what happens is most, most law firms, by the way, it's very interesting, [00:02:00] there's weaknesses and the hiring process. So people will always get into certain law firms that don't have the qualifications to work there. people, that shouldn't be hired are always hired.
And, the main reason for that is because law firms are often hiring the most likable candidates. And, and ultimately that's what happens. People with better qualifications are ignored. Resumes that come through, people that they like, are given preference. all sorts of things are happening, behind the scenes. And, almost, all higher discussions that I participated in where I'm talking to law firms and they're choosing between, multiple people. there's almost always something that happened in the hiring process where, someone really decided that they liked the person somehow, interviewing was able to make a connection with someone. Often the person that they made a connection where there's not someone you would not think is the most important person in the hiring process. And then that person suddenly, became, an advocate for that person. And then, and managed to convince other people, that it's the right choice.
And I've seen that play out, an incredible number of [00:03:00] times and it could. About things that are just, you, the connection made, is often what makes a difference. And it's also by the way, how people are advanced to partnership positions and other things as well by making a connection, but a strong advocate will typically downplay the attorney's weaknesses.
So if there's objections to the person for one reason or another, that advocate can downplay them. they'll often talk about the person's strengths and how those strengths are gonna compliment what the firm needs. And they'll often provide, very compelling reasons for, hiring that person, over another person as well.
And, I've seen this happen, countless times. and, and the reason it happens is just because someone is able to make a connection.
Sometimes it's multiple people, but someone is able to make a connection with that candidate and then becomes their advocate. And, I had an experience, very early, in my placement career, that I've never forgotten. and I'll talk about it now. When I placed an attorney in, Los Angeles and he had very good qualifications, very interesting, but he wasn't getting interviews. He fixed a few things in his resume and all of a sudden everything changed, but after six months [00:04:00] or so, he was very unhappy at the firm. he called me and wanted to meet for lunch, and I met with him and, and he told me that he was unhappy and, didn't have any work. the partner, he was hard to work for, had moved to another firm and, wanted to know if I would help him get a new position. And, at the time, I believed that I, because I had placed him at the firm, that, I couldn't work with him.
And I was, I don't know that I was under an obligation to not work with him, but I just felt, that, if I helped him go to another firm that would be undermining, one of my clients. And so I, I told him that I didn't wanna, I felt like I couldn't help him, move firms because I had placed him at that firm.
And, and that wouldn't be nice to them and he was upset and, he started crying and, and I was surprised cuz he was a, not the kind of guy you'd expect to start crying. and but then he went back to the firm and told them what happened that, they hired him and this partner had left and then, I was the only person that had helped him get a job and he couldn't get a, he hadn't gotten a job before he started working with me and then I got him a job and and it wasn't fair that I wasn't helping him.
And, I didn't expect to hear anything else about that. I heard that from the firm later, by the way, he didn't tell me this, but, a [00:05:00] few days later the firm called me. and, they had, resurrected, some people that I had sent them, several months previously and said they wanted to interview them. then the recruiting coordinator at the firms that I was a new favorite recruiter and they wanted do everything. They could, they connect with me and helped me grow. the recruiting firm was just pretty young at that point. And then in rapid succession, they just immediately hired four candidates for me. and, the firm's recruiting coordinator told me they were prioritizing applicants for me because they knew they could trust me, which I guess they didn't was, rare in the business. And, and then in two cases, they said that the same attorneys I had submitted to them had previously applied work weeks earlier on their own, but they were gonna honor my submission and not the submission of the candidates applying on their. and, and then in a couple other cases out of these people that they hired people that were questionable, in terms of whether or not they might have had their qualifications to work at this firm. One woman was, I don't know, maybe 15 years out and, had only worked in house. It just was a very unusual hire.
And this is a, top firm, like a very highly regarded firm. And, so I was very surprised. and, but I constantly saw this sort of thing when I was recruiting. and, in the first recruiter I ever [00:06:00] hired when I was very, just had been doing the job only a couple months, asked me if I could pay him a commission fraternities hired at another particular at another firm, regardless of whether or not they came through him because he had a contact there.
And I asked him who it was, and he told me it was a hiring partner. And, the hiring partner was his significant other, and they lived together and, and I didn't think much of it, but I, but, but I started responding to the job orders of the firm. Every time there was one and, agreed to pay him a small commission.
And, it ended up being an incredible business decision. We, would make hundreds of thousands of dollars in placements at this firm. And, and they hired pretty much used me exclusively for all their openings. And I became their preferred recruiter and they hired and found reasons to hire my candidates instead of those applying directly or through other recruiters for years, it was, For at least a decade.
And, and it was really something. And, and once this firm interviewed someone that came through me, they almost always hired them. And a lot of times there were things wrong with the attorneys. they were people that, and this was another very good firm. I there were people that you wouldn't think [00:07:00] would get jobs there, but they did get jobs.
And, one attorney. had never worked in a law firm and didn't, he'd only worked as a solo practitioner. other attorneys had often been outta work for years and didn't seem that committed. but the law firm still hired every one of these people. and it was an excellent firm, and it could have done better, but it valued that relationship.
And, this was a long time ago and, and, and, but it was, it really taught me the importance of these sorts of connections and connections do matter. And your ability to be liked by other people matters the ability of the person that's talking to others. can, make a huge difference.
It really does. It's, the power of your relationship with people inside the firm, whether it's the recruiter's relationship, sometimes, but also your relationship can make is a huge difference. And, and, law firms often overlook, much better applicants and make the wrong hiring decisions, but they make them based on, some sort of connection. for years, I was dealing with a firm in the Midwest that would never interview [00:08:00] hire candidates. I was sending them, I didn't understand what was going on. I called up to hiring partner, and asked him why. And he told me that he was friends with a recruiter who sent him, all of his candidates and hired all his people.
And he hired only people through this recruiter, which I thought was, it's very similar to the situation that I was dealing with when I was on the benefiting end of that. And it didn't sound like, a sound hiring process. it actually seemed a little bit harmful to the law firm and, candidates who were applying through this connection. and then I started asking around about this attorney and, I found out he had, some drug problems and, he'd been spiraling outta control for a few years. and then, I was introduced to the head of the firm, and, and eventually, was able to build, a good relationship.
But, the point is that a lot of, there's a lot of the sort of favor tips. I it's not that. Anything to, to get upset about, but, there's a lot of favoritism and, and firms will often hire based on that favoritism and, and, and they soft often will empower certain people inside the firms.
And there's nothing again wrong with that. That's the firm's prerogative to hire the kind of people they want. but they'll hire people, that are coming through people with connections. And the people [00:09:00] that are connected to those inside of law firms and so forth are, it's, it can make a, these relationships can make a big difference.
And, and I'm not being critical of it. I don't know, there. it can increase the trust between people are tribal and nature. So they want to hire people that they know. at one point I, I looked around our company and I was in a meeting and, I realized that, I was in a room of 10 people and everyone had come through someone else that I trusted in light. so it's just, that's how a lot of things work and it works in our business. it works in, it works in, the hiring business. So people will hire you, based on connection, and liking people. many times, the person recommending you, will penalize you. So recommenders are people that are, that you're meeting along the hiring process.
They're often people that may seem insignificant. They could. someone that shows up that's, maybe an assistant or something has given you tours are picking you up at each interview and taking you another interview. They could be someone that makes a simple phone call to you. At the beginning of the process.
You don't know who they are or they introduce themselves and they [00:10:00] say they work in the recruiting department, or they could be a associate. They could be, they could be, all sorts of people that may, and usually they're the person you least expect that has the most power. you will meet, hiring partners and things and powerful partners.
And they certainly have say, but they're often going to listen to their staff. recommenders may often, penalize people and, and you don't know, many times who they are. And, they can, often undermine diversity. They can promote diversity, they can, they, they can do all sorts of things, but, the law firm often, will be hiring, people, someone that is really behind the scenes and you don't, realize that, that they have so much how much control they have, they will, often. place hiring authority in one person's hands and can begin the hiring process. sometimes they, they will, avoid getting a variety of resumes into different jobs, not advertise, jobs, widely. There's all sorts of things that can happen again. I'm not being critical of this.
And I'm just telling you that, there's people inside of a lot of law firms that are, very, connected many times, and, and really driving the [00:11:00] driving things. And you don't always know who they are. I always come across, law firms, in my work, that, I know that there's something a little strange going on because, sometimes they will, they're, there's favoritism and connections.
They will, you just don't know how things are working and, and you have to be. very careful. It's not to say that again, the law firms aren't doing anything wrong. I don't think there's anything wrong, but you have to realize that people there's people inside the process that, you know, could, could influence things.
And at the beginning of my career, this was a long time ago. I worked with a well known Los Angeles firm, and they only had offices in Los Angeles. And over six months I'd sent them lots of people at an interview even try to connect with, and this was not, it wasn't a great firm. when I say it's still around, but it was, it was a firm that was pretty much service local Los Angeles businesses.
And. Wasn't a national firm. It was a kind of a smaller firm. And, and I was sending candidates to the firm cause I liked the firm and I knew people there, that I liked. And, I was sending candidates to the firm that, ended up, getting positions, with much better firm. [00:12:00] they would get positions.
The best firms in Los Angeles, and then they wouldn't get interviews of this firm. And I thought that was a little strange and I didn't understand it. And one day I called the person, that was in the recruiting department of the firm in charge of hiring, to have a chat with them. And I asked them how they were doing and they told me they'd just gotten back from vacation and I spoke with them for several minutes.
And then, and then, and again, this was a long time ago. they told me they, been taken to on this NS vacation and a, a recruiter. they knew in Los Angeles. And, and so the whole thing suddenly made perfect sense to me. I understood that this recruiter was, very close to them and.
Creating sort of a relationship where things were, they were steering business their way and so forth. and it was hurting the law firm. The law firm, had a, his history of kind of making those kind of decisions, not just about this, but other things unrelated to recruiting. And, and so it created, something.
Now I ended up getting people hired at the firm, by establishing a very good relationship, with this person and sending gifts and things. And, but at the same time, I realized, that, that what was happening in this firm, was really [00:13:00] being driven by, a relationship and, with, an outside recruiter. another thing to think about, the, in terms of how. a way to get a law firm to like you is, for the law firm to believe that, there's something very scarce about you. And, and when the law firm believes you're, there's something very scarce. what that means is they, the law firm, believes that it may not have the opportunity to hire another attorney like this in the future. it's a rule of supply and demand. And if the law firm, doesn't see a specific type of attorney like this very often, they're gonna respond and be interested in that person, when that type of person comes along. scarcity as a whole, marketing type of thing, but it works very. and, and I've made lots and lots of placements and gotten lots and lots of people, jobs by, emphasizing, the scarcity of certain attorneys.
The attorney could be, it doesn't really matter the practice area, but if the law firm, believes that the person scarce, then they're going to, at least for that firm, they're more likely to hire them. One way to, to work this process is it could be someone outstanding credentials and. And [00:14:00] small markets that the law firm can easily find.
So one of the easiest ways for anyone to get a position is if you, have great qualifications and you're in a, a market where there's not a lot of opportunities or there's a recession, or you're not getting, jobs, it's just to apply to markets where there's not a lot of people applying to jobs. it's very easy to, to get a position. If you're from a large market to relocate to a smaller market, there will be a feeding frenzy, for you. if you do that, or if you apply to markets where there's not a lot of attorneys or people don't necessarily wanna live. you can do very well. So that's, one way to get, it could be if you have a lot of business, that's another thing, that can help as well. it could be, if you're in your niche practice area, that's very, rare. There's all sorts of practice areas out there. If you have, very well defined experience that, will get the law firm, very interested as well. so diff there's lots and lots of practice areas, but, the more, niche, your practice area, the better, and, and often the law firms will literally hire you, sight unseen, meaning they don't, they won't meet you.
I've seen people get hired, in a phone. Like without even meeting, when they're in bearing these [00:15:00] practice areas so that, that can work as well. and, I placed at a law firm attorneys, lots of times in law firms that haven't even been met, just a brief conversation. and, and it's funny because it's, there's, I've, major law firms do this, meaning the largest law firms in the world hire people after a 15 minute phone conversation.
And often, the people that get hired so fast think that the law firm must be going outta business, or there's something wrong with them. but it's just because they're very scarce. And, and, and law firms do this, typically when they have a role to fill and they're losing money. other times a law firm, may hire very quickly because, they turn to someone they believe they could use right away. I had someone, in a opening for an IP litigator in a small town and. It was one of the Gulf coast states in, Mississippi or something. And, but it was in a small part of it.
And, because of the uniqueness, the musician, the locker law firm, could, found a, not a ton of people, but I spoke, with some people and, and the firm, I sent them, someone that wasn't even the best qualified and they, they hired them right over the phone very quickly. and, and I had a lot of people that were [00:16:00] interested in the job because of it, it was a basically doing patent litigation for one client and doing all that being there, in-house patent litigator. And, and the firm had been trying to fill the position for months, but, primarily had been doing so locally and not using the proper channels and the trainer wasn't scarce. another thing to also consider is, when law firms hire based on scarcity, what they believe is scarce is often, not scarce at all. instead of waiting to find the right attorney, the law firm will often jump at the first opportunity. and, they often do not understand, the, why someone might be scarce or they may have advertised efficiently and so forth.
And so that's, something, that can happen as well. law firms, may off recruiters can also lead people to believe in attorney is scarce, by, and hard to find. that's another thing that can happen and it's important to understand. And, the law firm may also believe that a specific type of attorney's difficult to find if it doesn't know if similar attorneys in the market. so there's a lot of, holes in the recruitment process and, and law firms make, include that. . and then, these are just a few other, small points, but,[00:17:00] depending on the dynamics of a law firm, partners made like different types of cans for different roles. when the partners interviewing other partners are often partners who have business and will grow the firms, the general rule, they like to bring in people they can remote and people, they believe they can advance who advance the firm's interest. other partners are eager to grow. Their firms will interview partners without business. They believe they can generate business in the future, which is another thing that usually doesn't work out. and, but there's also exceptions to those rules. Let me just move past this. and then, the typical partner interviewing associate often wants to hire someone they believe will work hard follow directions, respect them and get the work done. and they wanna hire people that are, hard workers and more concerned are doing the work for the partner's clients and getting ahead. and then partners who need work will often hire, associates and people who seem hard work and committed and capable of following directions. and then, those, revenues, people hire people that are look like they're gonna, generate revenue in the PA in the future with, by gen, by generating business.
It's another type of hire, let's see partners attention between partners who wanna take shortcuts, desperation. okay. This is not that important. So I'm gonna move [00:18:00] past this stuff. Give me one second. okay. And then this is, associates, interviewing associates, which I think most people would probably be the most interested in. so most of the time when you're interviewing, if you're an associate and you're interviewing with other associates, you need to, what's really going on is you need to understand that, most associates are going to like other associates that, they can identify with on some level and. and I'll talk a little bit about that now, but they wanna hire and bring in people that have similar qualifications, but also are not threatening. what that means is that if an associate, wants to hire another associate, the associate being interviewed should really not. you want to be very careful as coming across as threatening. there's someone who ultimately might try to undermine that associate in terms of getting work or advancement. You wanna basically be likable, but, and do so in a way where, you don't appear, like you're going to make trouble, if that makes sense. and most interview when associates are interviewing other associates are most often gonna be most comfortable with people, that, actually appear sometimes weaker and less assertive. and, and, and, and I [00:19:00] regularly see, if you're a very gung-ho associate and you're interviewing with other associates, that oftentimes, the, the senior other associates, if you act like you're too, aggressive and so forth, they may. you may appear threatening. and, also a lot of times associates are threatened when they interview other associates, especially if they don't have a lot of work. they're nervous about that. So you have to be careful, and often, if your pedigree is not as good as the people that you're interviewing with and, they may also, want, have issues with that as well.
So that's another thing to be careful with and they may disqualify. from that. So it's often, difficult. so there's often a bias, in the hiring process for, in favor of, lower performing, less threatening peers. And also associates often will undermine, other, otherwise good hires, because the law firm, may need to have, a certain type of background. associates may also prevent attorneys from being higher when there's not enough work and believe there are challenging them somehow, so they can create, those sorts of situations. that's another thing you consider. Okay. This is actually, a lot of the stuff in the beginning. I don't, I cover, but I don't [00:20:00] personally think, I think most people understand it, but this is. really the, one of the most important lessons you can learn right now, is that, most law firms are interested in hiring, soldiers and not generals. so what that means, the difference between a soldier in general is a soldier, is someone that will go and get the work done. a general is someone. that will, not necessarily will want to give others the work or believe they're in control. and so people that can follow orders and soldiers are actually much more important, to the, functioning law firm than, generals, most law firms. really, and this is even at the partner level. they want people they're hiring to be controllable and easy to manage. they, they like to some extent to see, weakness and vulnerability, cuz they believe that makes you controllable. if you look like you're a little bit vulnerable and can control, law firms will often like you much more. I do see attorneys who often have a very difficult time getting a position because they come across as, the overconfident. they, they're afraid to be vulnerable and they protect their weaknesses and they may not be likable. The people interviewing them. I was working with the attorney in a very [00:21:00] marketable practice area. not too long ago and his resume declared. He thought he was a super lawyer at his previous law firm where he hadn't been more than two years. He referred himself as a Rainmaker. which was funny, cuz he didn't have any business and never been a partner anywhere. And then he complained he didn't like his previous business, our previous position, because they made him, do all sorts of work that he felt was beneath him. and he'd also been employed for, two years and would likely stay unemployed. And the reason for this is he's not willing to be, someone who's a soldier. he thinks of himself too highly in his skills. And this is a mistake that a lot of attorneys make. they wanna be generals before their soldiers and and a lot of times, that's definitely, a bad idea. if you need to really realize anytime you're applying to. the most important thing you can do is, and even honestly, as a partner, for the most part, you need to come across as a, soldier. I someone that's willing to follow orders and instructions, someone that, is, on the side of the firm, and, and not someone who's trying to be, in control. you need to be able to look likable and vulnerable [00:22:00] and, and, and not come across as someone who's trying to be, superior. And, these are, very interesting points, but most of the best attorneys that I know, that work in firms, large firms are, they are very good at, not looking like generals, and looking, they often drive unassuming cars, they'll blend in, and, and they will often avoid law firms will avoid attorneys that. the basically look manageable and, and there's a lot of problems with this. I'm not gonna get to, I don't know, to how much to, to get into it. But the most important thing is when you're applying to jobs and when you're interviewing with firms, law firms will like you a lot better if you come across as a soldier than, as opposed to a general.
And so generals are people that, that can't take orders from others that are difficult to get along with. Think they know better that, all those sorts of things, which you have plenty of time to do in your career, but it's very, risky to do that early on. the other thing is in when hiring many people, the people in charge will often, prefer the first people that apply.
And this is a [00:23:00] lesson that I give over and over again, to our candidates. But, many times people do not follow. But the big thing to understand is hardens a lot of work. And every time, a law firm has to look at your application. That takes time every time a law firm has to respond to your application.
The takes time, every time a law firm has to bring someone in to interview that takes time. And just think about yourself. If you were told, you had to, review 20 papers and pick the best one, what would you do if you had to re would you prefer to review 20, or would you prefer to review a hundred?
And so what happens is typically when, law firms get applications, they will hire from the first people that apply. They will decide, okay, we've got these 20 applicants or these 10 applicants. I like these two, the best. Let's bring these two and interview them. And then if you come along later, the law, firm's gonna be less likely to, wanna want to interview you and bring in more people. because it's just too much work for them. I always notice that when I'm, when I'm placing people, what happens almost all the time is the people that apply first, that are very responsive to, [00:24:00] job openings and respond to the job openings first, get the jobs. when and law firms are always in a hurry to fill jobs because when jobs aren't being filled, the law firm's losing money, clients may unhappy, the partners need help, may be unhappy.
It's just a lot of challenge for everyone concerned. And there's a lot of pressure, to fill positions as quickly as possible. Hiring personnel may, try and bomb the first applicants for the position. other applicants may be rejected in order to speed up the hiring process. just a lot of stuff, is going on.
And, and so when you apply very quick, when you apply right away, your odds are getting hired, increased dramatically law firms. imagine you're in human resources and you've been given an assignment for. the month of, September and that's to hire, one associate in this practice area.
If you do that within a week or two out of an, a. and then you're done, but if you spread it out and you spend weeks doing it, and then it goes into October and November and you haven't done it, then you start looking bad. So there's a lot of pressure early on to find the best applicants from the initial people that apply.
[00:25:00] And, and so that's, if you apply early law firms, typically, will, hire you right away. and that's just how it works. Now. we always have a lot of openings at our company. not always, but generally we have a lot of openings for people in different areas, and it's a lot of work to go through resumes.
There's certain resumes that I need to review. So if it's like for a finance person or something in our company, I may need to spend time reviewing them. And it can take a lot of time to review resumes. You have to review them. Then you have to call certain people and talk to them. Then you have to bring people in for additional interviews and then you have to negotiate.
So it's a lot of work and, and negotiate offers. and, and so typically most people wanna do that from the first people that are applying just cognitively. It's a lot of work. If you've gotten one person in the door, you've started interviewing people. To start, interviewing more people.
And so people do not like that. it's a lot of work for HR. and, and this, I guess is a, I guess while ago I was hiring an assistant and a COO and, and I had 500 [00:26:00] applications for assistant 300 for a COO. And, and just to review all these applications takes, can take hours. it's a lot of work. and, and it's so much work that this is what people do. They typically review the first batch of resumes that come. And they'll schedule a few interviews for each opening. So if, and when they post the job or when they hire the recruiter or however they get the job, what they'll do is they'll review the first batch of resumes.
And, and typically they'll schedule interviews from those. And then they'll stop reviewing resumes. They won't even look at them. The ones that coming later, this is just how it works everywhere. And I'm not saying that's the right thing, but imagine if you imagine, if you were hiring someone to around your house to, I don't know, let's say you needed a painter for six months.
So you wanted to hire a painter to work for you for six months. And the first day you posted the painter. You got 30 applicants to, to be a painter at your house? you would probably pick a couple that look good and bring them in and talk to them, but keep in mind that [00:27:00] every day for the next month, more and more people are gonna be applying for this painter job, but you're not gonna want to go back and review another 200 resumes or 300 resumes of painters.
You're gonna choose from the first person, that you talk to. And it's that way with employers. they typically will review the first resumes that come in and then they'll try to hire from those people and start the whole process. That doesn't mean they're gonna take the job down cuz they haven't hired yet, but they might not even notice your resume if you apply later.
And it's not the employers doing anything wrong, says they don't have the time. and they're getting frustrated. Imagine if you have to paint something right away. and, and. and so you will even after interviewing two or three people, if you're interviewing a painter, maybe the third painter you interview is the best, but, she or he is still not perfect.
You might hire them anyway, because you don't want to have to go and review another a hundred resumes and spend hours doing that and call people in and screen them and do all this work. So this is, how it works. And this is very important for you to understand. Employers will be very excited about you when you apply initially, especially [00:28:00] when you apply right away.
And, and they wanna hire from the first applicants. And, and this is, a really easy way to, to get a position because, they want you to be the best applicant. If they're bringing you in right away, everybody that's bringing you in for an interview. Wants the job to work out more than you do because they have a position to fill. and, and typically, law firms are that way as well. they hire people. they have problems. Usually when they're hiring people, they need someone to work on a certain matter or they have they're losing money. And so they want everyone, they want to bring in people, to as quick as possible.
I've made countless horrible hiring decisions. And I can say this. as a someone that you know, is in this industry because, I've often been very rash in hiring people. Meaning I've hired people, much too quickly because I had positions I wanted to fill. I've had, people, hired from the first set of people.
I've decided that they seemed fine and I'll hire them, even though there were questions that I should have. And I've made, lots of disastrous hirings, that they've led to, people losing their jobs and, lost [00:29:00] productivity and other issues based on, not asking, hiring from the first set of people that come in.
And so law firms, do the same thing. They will often hire from the first people that apply. And, and because that, they'll end up harming themselves in the long run. but that as, a candidate is something that can benefit you, and, and understanding, that, that's gonna make a difference, applying fast.
And it's one of the most important pieces of information or RA or things I can tell. Is applying to jobs when they're new, right away, will make, a massive difference in the success, if any job search, being the first to apply law firms ignore, later applicants and they just, they want to be done with the process.
And they're just that, and it's not that they're evil for doing that. It's just their businesses. Now, the next thing is most law firms hire, and the people in them will hire people like them. And, and what that means is they're gonna avoid hiring people that are different from them and it's, and it's one reason why different types of diverse, maybe hard to find, inside of many law firms.
I, I always tell the story, but I think it's fun. when I, first came to Los Angeles, the first firm I interviewed with it, [00:30:00] it's no longer, in existence, but it was called the Heller Iman. And, and I was interviewing their Los Angeles office. And, and I. I couldn't believe it. not that it was a bad thing, but, I was coming from the Midwest and, all the men were wearing like these kind of tight white t-shirts and they had, these filter list, cigarette, cigarettes on their desk, which just funny, these like American spirit or whatever, these brands, these kind of weird brands that I wasn't familiar with.
And, one of the guys was wearing leather pants and, they had earrings and tattoos and stuff, and it was a great, it's a great firm, mean they'd all, the qualifications that people there were just amazing. I they'd all gone to, the best schools and done these fancy clerkships.
This is just the culture of the firm. And I showed up, not looking that way and, and didn't get an offer from them. And, and they literally told me that, That, I had the qualifications to work there, but it'd be best for me if I didn't work at that particular firm because of the, I don't know, they imply with the culture, but the thing is people avoid hiring people, that are different from them.
I had another candidate once that had, there's just, it's, there's a self [00:31:00] reinfor system that creates a cycle, that just strengthens itself repeatedly. I've had so many candidates that have come from firms where one thing was normal. And the other thing wasn't, I had one candidate that, that couldn't get a job that he was at a firm where, a lot of the men had ponytails long hair, and then it was a great firm.
It was a, actually a New York based firm in Palo Alto. I don't. but, and then he started interviewing at other firms where people were like, what's this guy doing? Why is his hair down to, past his, buttocks, like this is insane. and, and no one said that they just, but that was what I understood.
And, from talking to people, cuz they, he was definitely qualified. So people that hi hire people like themselves and law firms do it because, they're just, they hire people like themselves to feel safe and and we'd like to see ourselves and others. And so that's just how we people hire people. they hire people that are like them and and and even if those people have weaknesses, we may view them as strengths and all law firms do this and they tend to hire, the same personality types repeatedly. and I brought this up before, [00:32:00] but I, when I, whenever I'm on planes and, traveling and things, I, a lot of times will run into attorneys and you can often for certain types of firms, there's just certain types of personalities that people have. and you can sometimes meet people and have a good understanding of where they're likely to work before they even tell you anything about themselves. And, because of their, in terms of where they work, because, there's just law firms will attract certain types of people. and, Some law firms gravitate towards hiring people without a lot of personality.
Others want personality, others are like, collegiate, sororities, others are, they're just, sororities are fraternities. They're just, they're all different. And, and, and most of the time, law firms will hire people. When the interviewer finds something in common with a person they may hire have the same hobbies. they may have gone to the same schools. They may have the same friends, but having something in common is really what makes the difference you need to, there, there needs to be some sort of personal connection, that's met. and, and these hiring decisions are very common and seem to occur all the time.
And, and if people are, hiring people like them, obviously, it's [00:33:00] it, you can hurt, in terms of different types of diversity, it can hurt in terms of thought diversity, it can hurt in terms of, different things. But, it's also something to understand that if, once you find a firm where there are people like you, then those firms will often protect you as well. they, law firms will have people, they'll have their business and the way they approach problems and stuff will be. the a certain way. it is important to understand that and to realize that, when you go into any interview and when you're working in any firm, having people that like you, that you share something in common with that you're able to make a connection with, can make a huge difference. also law firms will hire people that they believe they should like. sometimes law firms will, hire people that, have them on only hire people with certain types of pedigrees and backgrounds. I, there's a lot of, firms in, like Los Angeles and all around the country that will seem like they hire the same sorts of people again and again, I've seen, I was thinking an example of a mid-size firm in LA.
That's a very good firm that I like very much, and they always want to hire people from. Places [00:34:00] like Skadden and Vinny and other, Gibson, bigger firms to go work there. And, the people never work out. I don't know why, but they only hire from those firms. And if they were to hire from, other firms, then they would probably, have a better model, but they want people with, so they can say that this person's from this firm and they have these sort of qualifications and, and they believe that they should be impressed with they say, I don't know.
But, so they hire them regardless of warning signs, lots of firms by the way, will hire, on your qualifications. And, even if you're not a good fit for them. And, and, and, and, firm a law firm's perspective, a lot of times, there's attorneys that may have moved too much.
It may not have good reasons for being, interested in other warning signs, and they should be avoided. And, this is just advice for, law firms, but, but it's another thing. but, to understand for firms. So this is, just short things in terms of how law firms hire, law firms, often do have a blind script when it comes to hiring, and, they do want to, they should be, recognized with there's certain people, that they're immediately attracted to who aren't always the best prospects. they make quick and [00:35:00] easy decisions can be, very dangerous. but, this is all stuff that you can use for your benefit and, and the way to use it for your benefit is to understand kind of the biases that are in, law firm hiring. And the biases are typically that, law firms will, gravitate towards people, certain types of people.
So this is, the end of this particular webinar. I'm gonna take a quick break and then I'll come back, and answer. questions, for everyone. I did want to, show everyone too, a couple things, that I think is, that are very interesting. let me just see here, BCG. so there is on, on BCG.
There's a, lemme just share this here real quickly. there is a, a chart and it's, BCG search.com/ranking.php. And, I'll talk a little bit about this today or not today, but I'll just put it up there if anybody has questions about it. But this is really, in the past several weeks, I've talked to everyone, in, in quite a bit of depth about, different firms and, the rankings and how things work.
If you go to the BCG site in a few days, we'll start showing the rankings of different [00:36:00] firms, and then we'll also be doing that on law crossing. And there's a bunch of different. places where firms, where we'll start showing firm rankings, but essentially any anybody that's looking for a job, anyone that, is working in a law firm, you're typically gonna be working in a firm that I would rank a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. your fives are your best firms, which are again your Gibsons and your, SCAs and, those sorts of places. And, and then your fours are your typical AmLaw 100 law firms, or yeah. And then your threes tend to be midsize. Your twos are smaller firms. So the whole kind of trajectory of an attorney. and again, I'll put this in the chat for everyone here. It's fun here. Oh, it's Q and a. I'm gonna answer questions in a second. there's a host, a panelist here. Everyone. Let me send this, to you guys. but the whole, the whole, I find this chart very interesting, just because, this is the whole business and this is of what everyone's trying to do in the law firm game is you're trying to, you're trying to find a firm, that a lot of people are trying to move to fives.
A lot of people are trying to be at threes or fours or move [00:37:00] down or up. And it's very interesting. So I just wanted to share this with everyone before I took a quick break. I'll also be adding, I, I do have some other charts that are fun that are, that I may try to share, today or tomorrow that show.
The practice areas that are likely for, rank 1, 2, 3 or four, five firms. so all of these, firms, have different practice areas to go out with them or go along with them. So that's of fun too, but I will be back, in a minute. I did put this chart in the, and, the, the chat, for everyone and, I haven't, officially kind launched a chat and then I'll go over some other stuff today. but I'll come back and do questions in, just a few minutes, but I hope everyone, takes a look at this charge. Cuz if you have any questions about it, it's fun and it shows you the whole universe of what it's like and what your employment prospects are what happens to your career based on the ranking of the firm you go to.
So I spend a lot of time just doing this. I have articles for each of these two as well, that'll talk about each of these issues and I'll also share those with everyone, shortly.
One other thing I wanted to share with everyone, real quick is this, URL, which I'm gonna share we're working on this. This [00:38:00] is a work in progress, but I'm sending it to everyone right now. just, I'll also put this in the chat, but this is a list of, different practice areas. and, this is not something that's public, it's just something that I have for, and I'll be, there's gonna be a lot of changes for this in the next, couple of weeks, but one of the things that I've noticed, in working. tens of thousands of people is most candidates that are get jobs.
Almost everyone that gets jobs, their resumes are very specialized. what that means is they will, whatever these practice areas are, you can see here. Now, these are not necessarily in the matching BCG practice areas. these do not all match up to what we do, in terms of the practice areas you would select on BCG, but almost everyone that's able to get a position, has something that's very specific, about their resume, in terms of, their practice area.
So e-discovery, for example, it's a big practice here. The, if you wanna do e-discovery law, your resume should do nothing but talk about e-discovery. and all these sort sorts of things. So these types of practice areas are, this [00:39:00] is a. Different practice areas here. But most people that do well are very specialized in their practice here.
And I don't. and I frankly, when I was a young attorney and even when I was an older attorney, I thought there was, I thought I was really smart and it was really good if I got extra experience doing different things. But the truth is that almost all law firms are looking for specialists. now if you get into, and that really starts occurring when you get into the three fours and fives, but even the twos, most of them are looking for specialists and even a lot of the ones are looking for specialists. So understanding how, these different, rankings work and the importance of being a specialist, the only way to.
To if you're trying to move in your career from a smaller firm to a large, medium sized firm or to a little bit larger, to a more prestigious and more prestigious is to be specialized. And the only way to do very well, many times is an attorney is to be specialized. this is why I've put this together.
There's a lot more information that goes into this, there's practice areas and discussions and different types of jobs and so forth. You could see, and discussions of all this sort of [00:40:00] thing. I will, do a lot more to, to talk about this in coming weeks and it should be, fairly, I would think it would be, it's fairly interesting. I think it's very important. And also with, one of the things I will also start doing in the next couple weeks is sharing with everyone. depending on your practice here are different keywords you should be using, in your resume because the keywords that you use in your resume will often, determine, how your resume is received by, applicant tracking systems and regardless of, your background.
Okay. I will start with the questions. So the first question is, is it possible to get a job at a firm without any connections? How important a recommendation for someone the firm knows?
Okay. So this is a good question. So what tends to happen at, it is possible to get a law firm, a job at any law firm without connections, but what tends to happen is, people. trust those, recommended or trusted by those they know. so that means a couple different things. So it means it, it could be people, that, that are the source of the trust. So that can be, it can be people, [00:41:00] meaning, this person, this person, we like them.
And we like you. and that could be, that could be multiple things, but could also be institutions. there are certain firms, like I told you earlier, in the, in the webinar that, certain firms will hire only from certain firms. We'll hire people from firms they trust.
So they will assume, that if you've been at a certain firm for a certain length of time, that you are going to, probably be good. So that's one source of the trust. And then of course, another source of trust is, institutions can, also hire from schools, and, and so forth. so you can definitely get, jobs at firms without recommendations, from anybody.
The firm knows. Now, one of the big problems with. recommendations a lot of times is with people. many, one of the things I will have often seen is I see, people, saying I have a friend or I have a friend, et cetera that are at a firm, and I'm gonna send them my resume, send them my resume.
So the, I guess the question is, does that work? And, and it [00:42:00] can, but the problem is most of the time, you do not know, how that person is received at the employer, how that person is received. So what that means is, the, your, the friend may not be doing. and if the friend's not doing well, if that employer that can hurt you, other times, the friend, may, I don't know. there can be all sorts of issues, but you don't know how that person has received the employer. sometimes the friend may not even forward your resume, and that's very common. It's actually more common than not, I don't know why, but a lot about, 50% of the time or more, the firm never gets the resume. from the person so that the friend says they forward it, but they didn't, never, the person never sends a resume, sends the resume. And, and then, and other times, the friend may provide, negative commentary about you, commentary, it's outta my me and they know you personally.
So they may see a few negative things. other times the law firms and not all law firms, most law firms do like to get, recommendations from people, but sometimes the law firm, if, does not want, does not like to hire that way in case. No way. if they perceive [00:43:00] a conflict with a person in the future, future conflicts, these are just things to meaning they, the person may unhappy. So that's that now the, I guess that, but to answer your question, how much do, how can you get jobs without connections? I believe that the best way to get jobs, is to form connections in inside of the interview. So you do that by, whatever you can do, establishing some sort of, commonality, with the people you're speaking with. some sort, it could be, there's all sorts of ways to do it. You could be talking about sports, common interest, I dunno, common experiences, all sorts of things along those lines, but you have to establish some sort of, commonality with people.
And, often it's also, you can often do it by being vulnerable, and so forth. but the best way I've seen people get positions is when you go into the interviews and you share some sort of. Something in common with the person, that establishes that, that there's some sort of connection, between you and, the person.
And, and that can be very helpful. Okay. Let's see here. Okay. This, these are [00:44:00] good questions. Thank you. I was over answering these. So this is the next one. Is it going to be challenging for people with strong personalities to get hired? How will their interview perceive them, how they be seeing them really called manage? so the point is that there's different points in your career and, and early and different firms will hire people with different personalities.
So if you have a strong personality, it's not to say you won't get hired at a firm, but you're gonna have to find a firm that's going to, be able to. accommodate that and have, people that are going to, be okay with their strong personality. And, and so you're not necessarily gonna be seen as unruly difficult to manage if you have a strong personality, but you need to, need to keep that personality in check and, and come across as a soldier willing to, willing to put that person, willing to do what the employer needs. and so the problem with a lot of very strong personalities, and I'll just tell you, there's all sorts of stories I could tell, but a lot of times strong personalities will think that they understand everything there. Many times they're not necessarily teachable.
They don't learn from [00:45:00] instruction. They don't want to hear instruction. they, they believe they know the right way to do things. and the, when you're working for someone else, the person you're working for wants to feel important and they need to be able to ask you to do things and understand that they're gonna be done.
And, and if you are a very strong personality and they feel like you're gonna undermine them, that suddenly you become a threat, and if you're a threat, they will push you out. And so a lot of conflict in law firms, a lot of attorneys that, lose their jobs in law firms and have problems are often the best attorneys. and they may be people that do very well in the long run, doing other things, at their own law firm or at smaller law firms or at larger law firms that have, can make room for them. But, but you have to be before you can be a general, you always have to be, you have to be a follower and you have to become an expert in being a follower.
Even if you have a strong personality, you need to learn from the people around them. I, when I started my career, I started a, a good firm and. and there were always, and they would hire people with the strongest personalities imaginable and people would leave after their first or second year and go [00:46:00] start up their own law firms and say they knew better, and they could do things better. and the problem, and none of those people that, that did those things with those very strong personalities, ever really mattered to anything near what they would've been able to do. Had they learned to become really good followers first. And the people that became good followers and stayed at the firm, eventually, became much more powerful and influential and so forth than the people that, that, that were, that never became followers.
So you learn a lot by being a very good follower. You, you have to be a follower and you have to, tamp down your personality, when you're, especially when you're young, to do well. and, one of the, there's a lot of prejudice in the legal profession against people that are. and one of the reasons I think that is they go from the point where they might have been followers when they're younger to people that suddenly know what they're doing and, and become unwilling to take construction and think that they know better and, and becomes much more difficult for, law firms to control them.
And so they would rather just give the work to someone that, is willing [00:47:00] to follow instruction. interviewers want to know that, you're gonna be able to do the work you're given. You're not gonna undermine the firm. You're going to be able to follow them. You're going to be able to get work done. one thing, I would also say that, that I believe is very interesting when I was, in situations I've been in where the law firms are just hiring pretty much anyone. I send them, because they're, what they believe is they, I think that there's. that they, the personality of the ability of the person to follow orders and do things is more important, many in many cases than the person's qualifications than, than, all sorts of other things. Because, just put yourself in the shoes of a firm. If a firm has work to give you, all they want is the work done. they're certainly willing to talk about advancing you and raises and things later in your career, but they, but their immediate challenge is to get work that they have to do done. And, and that's what they need. And so a lot of times people think, that, they have to have strong personality is, or do things a certain way when they don't realize that being a soldier is the most important thing. I've learned this lesson personally, the hard way I've, seen lots of fraternities learn it the [00:48:00] hard way. but if you, really come across as a soldier, you're ultimately gonna do. much, much better, in any interview and even frankly, even, partners in the largest firms and the partners that are in charge have to learn to be followers.
They have to, they have to follow other people. And, and so that this is what it's about having a group and being part of leadership teams and so forth. You have to be able to do that. Okay. let me see here. Okay. Suppose a solo practice. 15 year female partner is hiring a junior associate or more senior role for potential business growth. lemme see. sorry, junior male. So I don't remember how should the candidate handle the dynamics of the interview process? so anytime, this is a good question. So anytime a, someone is hiring, especially a solo practitioner is hiring someone to work with them. The solo is, is, wants, wants, the following.
So they and solos want different things. but they have people have needs. And one of them is often to, to feel, someone is taking care of them, care of them and looking out for their interest. they also want to [00:49:00] feel, important. They want to feel respected. they want to feel like someone, has their back and they want to feel like some, and then the, the person will work hard for them. The person will. so these are just, just put yourself in the shoes of what you would want if you were a solo practitioner and, and you were hiring, someone to work for you, you would. You would want all these things and you would really want, first and foremost, you would want someone to take the weight off your back.
So put yourself in the Solo's position. Like they have all this work, they're unable to respond to all their clients, or they have all these things. So these are the things that the solo wants. and they're gonna be different things for each solo. but they really, they want, and then they want the work done and to make money.
So those are the goals of the solo on the things that they want. So you have to go in anytime you're interviewing the solo practitioner or any small firm for that matter, you have to go in and you have to, make the person, feel important, make. feel like you've taken care of them, make sure they have that you have the bath, you're gonna work hard.
You're gonna respect [00:50:00] them. And all those sorts of things. The last thing they want is to feel unrespected, not important that you're missing work and they want to feel like you're committed. So I've known lots of people, that have gone to work for solos and, and, and when they do those things, I tend to do very well, and they get advanced.
I've known other people, that have gone to work for solos and, and done horribly. I know, but I know a lot of people that, have been able to work with a solo their entire career, that the dynamic of a solo too, by the way, it, and that's very common. I remember, when I was, it was of funny.
I was, when I was clerking for this judge, there was this, older, there was this solo practitioner that had an associate. working for him and they would always come into the court and I don't know what they were doing. They were doing, personal injuries or I, some something, or maybe, I don't know, some kind of law that was somehow bringing them into the federal courts all the time. and the partner said something to me, know, it's very common for, a partner to have, a solo practitioner to have someone that kind of does all the work. And then the solo goes to court or does the brings in the [00:51:00] business and does the transactions. And then someone seems does all the work and that, that's a very common arrangement.
I've seen that, multiple times. I see it even today in Atter outside attorneys I'm working with. I see it. and, it's very common. So anytime you're working for a solo, what you're doing essentially is you're, you're, you're, shadowing them and learning everything they do.
And, and then you're doing all their work and you're having their back and making sure everything, that everything is, going on. what's interesting about working for a solo too, is, it there's a lot of different types of solos, but, one of the things I like about, working for a solo, is that I'm just trying to see, is that, you have the ability, working for a solo to, to really, I'm just trying to see if, there's a lot of stuff in this. but the opportunity to learn a business, you can start yourself is a thing I really like about working for solo. a lot of times people don't believe it's prestigious to work for solo practitioner, but a lot of times what happens is people go to work for solo practitioners and they learn all about how that solo gets their clients.
They learn about all those relationships. They learn about how they [00:52:00] do the work. They learn things that they're doing right, and they're doing wrong. And, the solo could be in trust in estates. It could be in, there's all sorts of practical litigation, personal injury. labor employment. There's all sorts of practice areas, but you always, you learn a business, you can start yourself. I you learn how the person's making money and then you learn how, what you could do to improve and you learn all these skills. And so working for solar can be very, very rewarding and, and, and you can really do very well and often be very happy. but at the same time, you don't always have as much employment stability.
You can lose your job very quickly, all sorts of things. So working for a solo, I would look at, on this chart that I put in the chat, I would look typically a Solo's gonna be a rank one. sometimes it could be a rank too, but generally it's gonna be a rank one. And, and I think there's a lot of good things, that about working for solos and even in large law firms, you'll often look in what you'll see is you'll see that, there's partners will typically give most of the work to one or two people and they have that sitting [00:53:00] dynamic. Okay. What advice would you give to someone, having difficulty to choose in the practice area? So that's a great, question. all practice areas, have positives and negatives. but there's really, there, there's a couple different things, in terms of practice areas that I think are very important.
You have consumer facing practice areas, and then you have, more company facing practice areas. and