There are many options available to you when looking for your next legal position. You could decide to go it alone and use online job boards, or use your network of contacts to determine what roles are available and where.
Another thing you should consider is to work with an executive legal recruiter, such as Jepson Holt. A specialist recruitment company can provide you with a wealth of knowledge about the current market and open doors for you that may otherwise be closed.
However, working with recruiters is a two-way street. They can only do their best with the information you provide, so it’s essential that you buy into the process. With this in mind, here are our thoughts on how to work with executive legal recruiters and the information you’ll need to provide when looking for your next law firm job.
Find the Right Recruiter
Before we even start with how to work with executive legal recruiters, the first thing you need to do is make sure you are partnering with the right one. It’s important that you are represented by somebody who is respected and well-known in the industry, as this will greatly enhance your chances of success.
When researching potential recruiters, try to find people who have similar ambitions as yourself that have worked with a recruiter recently – and ask what they thought of them. You could also speak with senior people at a different law firm to find out their opinions on particular recruiters.
Try to narrow your list to a couple of potentials and then contact them directly, stressing that the conversation is confidential and you have not yet decided who you want to represent you. Finally, find out from them what they think about you and what opportunities they think you should look at – as this should greatly help in deciding which recruiter to go for.
Define Your Business Case
Now that you’ve decided which recruiter you want to work with, the first thing you need to outline is what your business case looks like. The legal market is becoming ever-more competitive, meaning a law firm will expect you to be able to prove your worth.
There are two main elements to your business case: Your clients and billings, and your business development plans. Here is why they’re so important and why you need to tell your recruiter about them:
- Clients and Billings: A law firm (and your recruiter) will expect you to identify what clients you think will follow you to your new company, how strong your connection is with them and how much their business is likely to be worth in the next 12 months
- Business Development: Your new company will also want to know what you intend to do to enhance both their and your own offerings. For example: are there any new areas of law you want to expand into? Could the firm improve the way they pitch for business? This will demonstrate that you have thoroughly researched the company.
Having an established business case is a fantastic way to start your relationship with executive legal recruiters. It gives them an essential starting point so they can begin filtering out roles that might not be suitable for you, while building a list of potential opportunities. If you would like more information about building a business case, be sure to read our blog on the subject.
Understand What You Want
The second question executive legal recruiters will ask you is what type of firm and job role you are interested in and why. This may come as a surprise, but it is actually quite common for lawyers to be unable to determine exactly what they want out of their career when pressed by a recruiter. Even those who have a good idea may find that their aspirations have changed a few years down the line.
Of course, money is an extremely important factor, as you’ll obviously want to make sure you are adequately rewarded for your hard work. However, there are other points you should consider as well. These could include whether you want to be a high-flyer in a new area of law, or if you are more content with a job that allows you to spend more time with your family. Other potential subjects are whether the firm’s corporate structure will enable you to succeed and if you would fit in well with their culture. This will ensure you avoid finding yourself in a toxic law firm culture that could make you unhappy.
Knowing exactly what you want from your career will greatly enhance your recruiter’s ability to find the right law firm and position that suits your goals. You may even find that you are extremely interested in a particular field of law that you hadn’t considered previously, or realise exactly what you need from your next role to make you happy, so it’s essential that you give this some serious thought.
Be Open And Honest
When navigating the recruitment process, it’s extremely common to just focus on the positive areas. However, it is just important to tell executive legal recruiters what you do not want, or will not be interested in.
For example, there could be a particular area of law that you have zero interest in pursuing. You may also know people from within your network of contacts who have had a bad experience with a particular law firm, meaning you have no intention of going to work for them yourself.
It’s important to remember that an experienced legal recruiter will be committed to finding you a role that fits your own needs and requirements. When doing so, they might suggest areas of law, individual firms, or even job roles that you may not have thought about previously. If this happens, the last thing you want is for them to bring up ideas that you have no interest in whatsoever – so you really need to be honest and upfront about what you do not want, as well as what you do.
Build A Relationship
To find success with executive legal recruiters, it is essential that you build a strong relationship with them. As mentioned in the beginning, the entire process should be one where you are both working together to achieve a common goal – finding your perfect law firm job.
You will need to provide them with as much information as possible about you, your ambitions and likes/dislikes so they have a clear understanding of what you want from your career and which law firms can help you reach your goals. Conversely, the recruiter should be totally committed to understanding you as a person and suggesting options that are tailor-made to suit you. They should treat you as an individual and not just another candidate.
If you are looking to work with a specialist legal recruiter to boost your chances of success, Jepson Holt can help. We are dedicated to understanding you as a person and getting to know your career ambitions and goals, so we can find a law firm and job that you will thrive in. We have the know-how and expertise to help you find your perfect position.