Posts Tagged ‘legal recruiter’

Using a Legal Recruiter for Lateral Partner and Practice Group Moves

April 26, 2010

In the current legal market, lateral partners and practice groups are in demand by and making moves to new firms more than ever.  An experienced legal recruiter familiar with the legal market and firms in your geographical area can be key in assisting you to find the right firm that will be your “forever job.”

A good legal recruiter can be invaluable in providing you with the necessary information to make an informed decision about your next position, as well as reaching out in a confidential way to potential law firms and assisting you in assessing and drafting your book of business and business plan.  Below are some vital questions that you should ask before engaging a legal recruiter for a lateral or practice group move:

  • Have you ever practiced law at a law firm before?  If so, what size law firm?

As I am sure you know, there is no substitute for working in law firms of various sizes to know about the inner workings and office politics of different size firms.

  • What percentage of your placements have been in my geographical area?

You would be surprised at how many out of state recruiters will look on the website of a firm half way around the country from them and with no permission from or relationship with the firm, start recruiting for one of their positions.   It is not in an attorney’s best interest on so many levels to have a legal recruiter who has no relationship with a firm submit him or her for a position.  Once your resume is submitted to a firm by an out of state recruiter who does not frequently work in your geographical area, a local recruiter with a relationship with that firm cannot then submit your resume for you.

  • Do you have a relationship with the firm that you are suggesting and have you received permission from or been asked by that firm to submit partner resumes?

This is another key question that you must ask a recruiter.  Some firms will only accept resumes from certain local recruiters that they have a relationship with.  You must make sure that a recruiter suggesting a particular firm to you has been asked to provide that firm with partner resumes.

  • Will you assist me in drafting my resume and business plan, and assessing and drafting my book of business, and is there any fee for these services?

A good legal recruiter will sit down with you and assist you in drafting your resume and business plan and just as importantly, will help you to assess and draft your book of business.  There should never be any fee charged for these services.   You would be surprised after sitting down with a good legal recruiter to assess and value your book of business how different the actual value may be than what you estimated.  Sometimes it will be higher, and sometimes it will be lower.

  • Have you ever had any breaches in confidentially and what is your process for ensuring confidentiality?

In partner and practice group moves, confidentiality is more important than ever.  You must ensure that your legal recruiter is committed to maintaining confidentiality and has never had any breaches of confidentiality.

  • How do the recruiters in your office work?  Do you work collaboratively or are some recruiters assigned to some law firms and some assigned to others?

This is also an extremely important question.  If law firms are apportioned between the different legal recruiters in a company and only the recruiter assigned to each law firm will receive a commission on a placement at that firm, then, your recruiter may not suggest certain firms to you that are not assigned to him or her.  You must ensure that all recruiters in that legal recruiting firm work collaboratively and that your recruiter has an equal financial incentive to present you to all law firms.

These questions should help you in finding the right legal recruiter to place you and/or your practice group at your “forever job”.


April 19, 2010

Philadelphia legal recruiters Susan Rubinovitz and Stephanie Ristvey of SMR Legal Search placed immediate past chancellor of The Philadelphia Bar Association Sayde Ladov at the Philadelphia boutique law firm, Dolchin Slotkin.  Ladov’s prior law firm, Abrahams, Loewenstein & Bushman, merged with Offit Kurman, a Baltimore based law firm in October 2008.  Yesterday was Ladov’s last day  working in Offit Kurman’s Philadelphia office.  She will begin at Dolchin Slotkin on Monday April 19.

According to an article in today’s Legal Intelligencer, Ladov desired to return to a Philadelphia based law firm with a Philadelphia office culture.  She was introduced to Jerry Dolchin, of the Philadelphia litigation boutique firm, Dolchin Slotkin by Susan Rubinovitz and Stephanie Ristvey of SMR Legal Search.  Ladov stated in the article in The Legal Intelligencer that she was drawn to Dolchin Slotkin, because “the culture was one that was very classy and the firm does wonderful work.” 

Jerry Dolchin was quoted in the article in today’s Legal Intelligencer as stating that Ladov would be “one of the cornerstones of our intended expansion.”  He also stated that Ladov was just the type of attorney that his firm is seeking, someone of Ladov’s age with a large book of business.  Jerry also commented that he was very happy with the visibility Ladov would be bringing his firm.  Ladov stated that all of her clients have indicated that they will be coming with her to Dolchin Slotkin.

Rubinovitz and Ristvey both have extensive experience as legal recruiters in Philadelphia.  In addition, they have worked as an attorney and as a paralegal .  Therefore, they are intimately familiar with the Philadelphia legal market.  Susan Rubinovitz and Stephanie Ristvey work collaboratively with their attorney and paralegal candidates so that the candidates can benefit from the breadth and depth of both recruiters’ knowledge of the law and of the Philadelphia legal market.  Rubinovitz and Ristvey take the time to get to know their candidates and clients and meet regularly to brainstorm on what would be the best fit for both the attorneys and employers with whom they are working.  They are particularly good at thinking outside of the box.

SMR Legal Search is a woman owned business and is based in Philadelphia and New Jersey.  They place attorneys and paralegals at law firms and corporations throughout the entire Northeast with a focus on Philadelphia and all of Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey, Delaware and New York.  Contact their offices at 215-665-0800 or

Make the Right First Impression at your Interview

December 8, 2009

With the economy picking up, attorneys should be going on many more job interviews in 2010 for in house counsel and law firm positions. Whether you are a partner, in house counsel or associate, here are some tips on how to dress to help make your interview successful and one that leads to a second interview.

You graduated in the top 10% of your class from University of Pennsylvania Law School. You have written recommendations in your portfolio from three of your law school professors. You’ve worked at your current law firm for three years, pushing the envelope of your billable hours to full tilt and handling your clients successfully. You’ve got it all in line, right? Sure. But consider this. Does the law firm partner, or even your legal recruiter, know that you can handle the job you’re interviewing for? Begin your interview smoothly and allow your interviewer to focus on your skill set by dressing appropriately for your legal job interview.

 Once you have succeeded in winning a spot the lineup for a law firm’s interviewing roster, you are well aware how important it is to have all your i’s dotted and t’s crossed. This is no less true that when considering what to wear when meeting with your potential employer.   While business casual dress is becoming more acceptable for attorneys at law firms and corporations when they are not going to court or interviewing clients, it is not acceptable for job interviews.

Don’t Forget Step One

The first time you meet with your legal recruiter is a vital step in your legal job search. The first impression they get will be a strong asset in their ability to market your skills and experience to the managing partners and recruitment directors of law firms and the general counsels at corporations who rely on their opinion and first-hand knowledge to send them highly-qualified candidates for their open positions.

A Professional Package to Fit Any Scenario

Conservative is the name of the game in legal dress, and like when you’re dressing for court or a client meeting, the first impression you give has a lot to do with the style of clothes you wear. If you are a trial attorney, be sure to dress the way you would in the courtroom. If you work in corporate law, keep in mind that you may need to step it up a notch with your suit selection to match the CEO’s attire.

Here are some sure fire tips for dressing appropriately for your job interview.  For men, it is best to wear well shined black leather shoes, a dark suit and white shirt and tie.  Making sure that your hair is cut conservatively before the interview is helpful as well.

For women, pants may now be acceptable in the work place of many law firms and corporations, but it does not make the right impression in a job interview.  Like men, make sure that your shoes are well shined.  A dark jacket and skirt suit and a conservative color button down or shell style blouse with the appropriate color pantyhose with no runs in them are the way to go.  It is always a good idea to carry an extra pair of new pantyhose in your purse or briefcase in case yours get a snag in them.  Also,  just enough make up to bring out your natural beauty but not so much that it will scream out at the interviewer and take the focus off of your credential is the way to go.

Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Attorneys

November 30, 2009

     Most law firms understand the importance of attracting and retaining diverse attorneys, but only some are taking the necessary steps to reach out to attorneys of color, women attorneys and LGBT attorneys.  Before a firm can be successful at this endeavor, they must realize how much it will add to their firm to have attorneys who have had different life experiences and hold distinct views.  This is especially important now with law firm clients being more diverse than ever.

     Many of the larger firms hired diversity directors before the recession.  Unfortunately, a large number of these positions were cut in late 2008 due to the poor economic conditions.  Instead, a number of firms have moved to diversity committees comprised of attorneys and the administration of the firm.  The groups generally meet monthly to talk about diversity issues and work to implement policies toward attracting and retaining more attorneys of color and women attorneys.  While many firms do not discuss the importance of attracting and retaining LGBT attorneys, some are more forward thinking and are starting to. 

     While the diversity committees are a very helpful vehicle for working on diversity issues, they are not enough.  Once minority, women and LGBT attorneys are attracted to firms, the firms must work to keep them.  Assigning a mentor to all diverse attorneys is key to retaining them.  As a legal recruiter, I cannot begin to tell you how many minority and women attorneys I have worked with who have told me that they just did not get the substantial meaty assignments that went to the white males at their firms.  If they had a great mentor to ensure that they received good work, 9 out of 10 of them would still be at their prior law firms.

     One final way to help law firms recruit and retain attorneys of color, women attorneys and LGBT attorneys is to work with a recruiting firm who specializes in these issues.  At SMR legal Search, we have worked with many law firms on these and other sensitive issues and have been very successful.

Recession sees many partners and practice groups making moves

November 16, 2009

While the recession has been very tough for associates, causing many layoffs, it has been at a time when opportunities abound for partners and practice groups.  As one can see from the many partner and practice group moves this year, partners are taking advantage of the many opportunities.

Partners at the largest law firms are realizing that their clients are no longer willing to pay astronomical hourly rates.    Therefore, to keep their clients and cultivate new ones, partners are making moves to mid size and even small law firms.  In  addition to more feasible hourly rates, mid size and small law firms are less regimented, and partners are finding that once they make the move, they are able to practice law and serve their clients the way that they want to.  Many state that once they make the move to a smaller law firm, they feel the highest satisfaction that they have ever felt in their legal career.

Likewise, mid size and small law firms are finding that in order to better serve their clients, they need to add partners and practice groups in various practice areas to have more of a full service law firm.    The clients love this trend, as they can now have the same high quality legal representation and full service that they have come to expect along with more affordable rates.  They have been all too happy to accompany their attorney to his or her smaller law firm.

It is often best for partners contemplating a move to engage an experienced legal recruiter who is extremely knowledgeable on the legal market where they practice.  Experienced local legal recruiters will undoubtedly be aware of partner and practice group needs of firms that are not publicized.  In addition, they have experience at keeping the queries of partners confidential and knowing just when to reveal extremely sensitive information.  Finally, they can help negotiate bringing some members of your practice group with you and assist any attorneys left behind to find other positions.

Advances in Economic Conditions Mean More Job Opportunities

October 13, 2009

To be honest, we’re far from out of the woods yet regarding the current economy, but proof of continued and consistent improvement abounds in various markets, from finance to real estate.

The stock market continues to climb and stabilize, with the DOW Jones closing in the top 9,000’s regularly. Real estate prices are now consistently increasing in most sectors and thanks to the first-time homebuyer’s credit and still-lowered mortgage rates, sales have been up consistently for the last six months in many regions of the US.

These markers are proof that although far from over, our downward slide has slowed to a halt in most US regions, and the long process of a climb back to the top of the global heap can begin.

Are you poised to move with the economic current when the growth hits corporate America? The unemployment rates are remaining high, making the competition in all fields much more daunting than in years past.

If you are an attorney and are looking to make a change in your legal career, now is the time to position yourself at the front of the line. The best way to get there? Use a legal recruiter who knows the movers and shakers in your target market.

A reputable legal recruiter will handle your job search with complete discretion, taking into consideration your career goals, your skills and experience. Utilizing all this information, your legal recruiter will be able to present you in the best light to the right Managing Partners, Corporate Law Departments or Firm HR Managers.

Timing, as always, is everything. If you’re thinking about making a move, contacting a legal recruiter to discuss your future plans will put you into the right position to move when the timing is right for you and the economy.

Interview your Legal Recruiter Before They Interview You

October 3, 2009

If you are an attorney looking to make a move in your legal career, you need to be sure that you follow the right path. The first step to finding the perfect career option is to use a legal recruiter that works in your target market. By utilizing a recruiter’s expertise with the legal marketplace in your desired region, coupled with their long list of the “who’s who” in that specific legal community, you increase your chances of obtaining the career you desire.

When you are seeking out a legal recruiter to put to work for your job search, you need to be sure that you choose carefully. Their work can be a significant factor in determining the path of your legal career. How they go about their job search on your behalf is just as crucial as their firm’s connections within the legal community.

During your initial phone conversation with your legal recruiter, take some notes about their process and details to be sure that their legal recruiting firm is the best choice for you. The following questions will give you a tangible perspective as to their ability to best handle your career move.

  • Have you ever practiced as an attorney, and if so, what types of law firms or companies have you worked for?
  • How long have you been working to place attorneys?
  • Does your company specialize in permanent attorney placement or do they do many other things as well? 
  • If your company handles temporary attorney placement as well as permanent, what is the percentage of permanent attorney placement that your firm does?
  • How long has your firm been handling permanent attorney placements?
  • What percentage of the attorney placements that you handle are in my geographical region?
  • Are there any law firms that you do not work with? 
  • How are the clients apportioned at your recruiting firm?  Are you assigned to some clients that you will get a commission for placing me at while other firms or companies are assigned to other recruiters at your firm?
  • Can you tell me some representative law firms and companies where you have placed attorneys over the past three years?
  • Will you be sending out a cover letter with my resume?  If so, may I see what you write in the cover letter?
  • Are you available to speak with and/or meet with me after hours or on weekends?
  • Do you provide assistance with resume writing and the preparation of other submission materials?  If so, is there a charge to me for these services?

The answers to these questions will help you choose the best legal recruiter for your career needs.