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How do legal recruiter services work?


beachhouse

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beachhouse
  • Lawyer

So, I am going to be re-entering the legal profession, and as a first-gen lawyer never really understood how the job search and market functioned. I've always approached job searches like they were any other conventional jobs, e.g. look-up jobs on a job board and apply directly.

With that said, I've read about legal recruiters but never learned how to engage with them. Can one contact them directly? And what are their perceptions about new calls/limited legal experience? 

Edited by beachhouse
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chaboywb
  • Lawyer

If you are of value to the recruiter (ie. they believe they can land you a position), then they will gladly take your call/email/LinkedIn message. Typically, though, they are not very helpful toward new calls as most positions that they recruit for will be intended for someone with experience. I met with recruiters as a Bay Street first year associate and felt it was just so they could sow the seeds of a future relationship - they'd encourage me to start looking around after at least a year of practice.

It doesn't hurt to contact recruiters but I expect you'll be successful through leveraging existing connections, contacting firms/lawyers in your area of interest directly and looking for posted positions seeking a new call.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
BDC
  • Lawyer

When you say "re-entering" the legal profession, what does that mean?  It makes it seem like you have experience, took time off, and are re-entering.  But, then it sounds like you are a new call, so it is a bit confusing. 

That said, I agree with the above.  Why not send a few introductory emails to the main players (ZSA, Counsel Network, etc.) just to start making some contacts?  Worst case scenario, they don't get back to you.   They typically post their available jobs on their websites, so you should regularly visit those as well. 

Edited by BDC
Grammar
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beachhouse
  • Lawyer
29 minutes ago, BDC said:

When you say "re-entering" the legal profession, what does that mean?  It makes it seem like you have experience, took time off, and are re-entering.  But, then it sounds like you are a new call, so it is a bit confusing. 

That said, I agree with the above.  Why not send a few introductory emails to the main players (ZSA, Counsel Network, etc.) just to start making some contacts?  Worst case scenario, they don't get back to you.   They typically post their available jobs on their websites, so you should regularly visit those as well. 

Took time off from law and I am currently in active-duty military service, transferring back to the military reserves for family reasons. 

Thanks, that's not a bad idea. 

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BDC
  • Lawyer

Very interesting.  I actually think re-entering the legal profession from active duty service would be very compelling to recruiters/employers.  I would imagine you would get some interest with a well-written letter, explaining your experiences. 

Thank you for your service.

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Dinsdale
  • Lawyer

Recruiters are retained and compensated by the employer (ie. the law firm, or the company for in-house positions) not the candidate. They typically earn 20-25% (or so; it can vary) of your total agreed-to annual comp as their fee for a successful placement.  It is important to know that their main interest is in placing you with a firm that has retained them, so that they can earn that fee.  They are not working for you, except indirectly.  If you are trying to decide between two offers, only one of which is "theirs", they are obviously going to steer you towards the one that earns them a fee.  

So, as stated above, if you have relevant experience and qualifications for an open position that they are trying to fill, they will be very interested in you indeed.  Otherwise, not so much.  The main benefit, of course, is they may know of open positions, and even have "exclusives" on certain positions, which you would not otherwise be aware of or could only dig up with a lot background work.  And, if you receive an offer, at the salary-negotiation stage they will do their best to max out your initial comp, as it is in their direct financial interest as well.  Not as relevant if you are joining a firm with lockstep.

Edited by Dinsdale
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  • 1 month later...
easttowest
  • Lawyer

Dinsdale isn’t wrong about recruiters writ large, but there are good ones out there who will take your objectives seriously. I’d talk to as many as you want and get a sense of how they operate. 

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canuckfanatic
  • Lawyer

I wanted to add to this discussion - you can work with more than one recruiter but you have to be transparent with them about it. You really don't want multiple recruiters pitching you to the same employer. I previously worked with two recruiters: the first had connections to about 70% of the firms I was interested in, and the second was able to take care of the remaining 30%.

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Dinsdale
  • Lawyer
15 hours ago, canuckfanatic said:

I wanted to add to this discussion - you can work with more than one recruiter but you have to be transparent with them about it. You really don't want multiple recruiters pitching you to the same employer. I previously worked with two recruiters: the first had connections to about 70% of the firms I was interested in, and the second was able to take care of the remaining 30%.

Excellent point.  I was on the firm's side of this equation for many years.  Practically every recruiter you could name attempts to maintain a "connection" with the major firms by checking in by phone, lunch invitations, etc., etc.  Receiving the same candidate from more than one of them is not ideal.

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  • 2 weeks later...
99problems
  • Lawyer
On 3/5/2024 at 12:45 PM, Dinsdale said:

Recruiters are retained and compensated by the employer (ie. the law firm, or the company for in-house positions) not the candidate. They typically earn 20-25% (or so; it can vary) of your total agreed-to annual comp as their fee for a successful placement.  It is important to know that their main interest is in placing you with a firm that has retained them, so that they can earn that fee.  They are not working for you, except indirectly.  If you are trying to decide between two offers, only one of which is "theirs", they are obviously going to steer you towards the one that earns them a fee.  

So, as stated above, if you have relevant experience and qualifications for an open position that they are trying to fill, they will be very interested in you indeed.  Otherwise, not so much.  The main benefit, of course, is they may know of open positions, and even have "exclusives" on certain positions, which you would not otherwise be aware of or could only dig up with a lot background work.  And, if you receive an offer, at the salary-negotiation stage they will do their best to max out your initial comp, as it is in their direct financial interest as well.  Not as relevant if you are joining a firm with lockstep.

I learned about a position from a recruiter. That position is also posted on the firm’s website. Should I still apply through the recruiter or do it independently? On one hand, the recruiter will advocate on my behalf, on the other hand, the firm may like an independent applicant better as it wouldn’t have to pay a commission.

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Dinsdale
  • Lawyer

Depending on the firm and their budget, they may like you much, much better without the commission.  However, if you "learned about it" through a recruiter, that recruiter may have already submitted your resume to the firm, no?

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99problems
  • Lawyer
12 hours ago, Dinsdale said:

Depending on the firm and their budget, they may like you much, much better without the commission.  However, if you "learned about it" through a recruiter, that recruiter may have already submitted your resume to the firm, no?

No they haven’t submitted my resume. 

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BlockedQuebecois
  • Lawyer

Unless the recruiter reached out to you unprompted, it seems to me the ethical thing to do is apply through the recruiter. They drew your attention to an opportunity you were not otherwise aware of, which is essentially their job. The fact that you otherwise could have learned of the opportunity through your own due diligence doesn't really militate against upholding the bargain you struck with them.

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easttowest
  • Lawyer

Use the recruiter. That way you know someone will actually read your resume if they put you forward for it. 

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