I love updating the Am Law job listings. You can really see the industry through the eyes of how its recruiting. I will publish the list in my next post but I’d like to note some brief observations here. (Remember, the list is accessible by members-only whereas this post is public.)
Observation #1: Firms Get Smart About If/When to Use Search Firm
Although I don’t note it on the list, many of the firms explicitly state that they are not accepting resumes from search firms for XYZ position. Sometimes it’s a firm-wide decision, sometimes it depends on the position.
Those are just a few examples. Personally, I think this type of information is great. It helps everyone involved – the firm, the potential laterals, and the search firms.
I left my job at a contingency search firm in the beginning of 2009. By that time, explicit announcements like these were pretty much non-existent. This meant that candidates and recruiters didn’t know if a firm was working with outside agencies when filling a position. Based on my conversations with candidates, they were hesitant to apply on their own if they thought they should be working with a recruiter. (Perhaps the recruiter had a special relationship, had inside knowledge, or other advantages the recruiter may bring….). Even stellar candidates – smart, friendly, high achievers, perfect matches – would question whether they could find a position without a recruiter.
On the other hand, as a recruiter, I spent countless hours trying to get in touch with firms about advertised positions only to find out – after plenty of phone tag – that the firm was not using recruiters to fill that position. Or, worse, I spent countless hours – at the firm’s request – trying to find candidates to fill advertised positions that the firm knew they would be filling internally or through a referral. Not only did the firm play me, it played all of those stellar candidates who may end up opposing counsel or co-counsel. I had to tell those candidates, “Hey, it’s not you. Here’s what happened….”
Recruiting fees are expensive. However, they’re well-worth the money if a recruiter finds that perfect candidate who would never have applied on their own. It’s about time that firms used recruiters for their true potential.
Observation #2: Observation #1 Applies to Staff Attorney/Contract Attorney Positions as Well
More and more, I see advertised positions for staff attorneys, part-time attorneys, and other non-partner track positions. (E.g., Staff Attorney, Staff Associate, Contract Attorney(!), Career Associate, Part-Time/Hourly Attorney, Staff Attorney, etc.) This also makes me really happy. A lot of these positions – and, therefore, the attorneys who work in these positions – do not get the respect they deserve. By advertising these positions, the firms show that they’re open to candidates who need/want alternative work schedules. In addition, they are including these attorneys as employees of the firm. Regardless of the legal significance, the cultural significance is tremendous.
Observation #3: … Those Non-Legal “Legal” Careers
Usually, I limit my list to attorney positions or something similar. (I’ve been known to throw a few patent agent positions in there.) I’m not sure if I’m simply looking harder nowadays but I’m seeing firms advertise many “alternative” careers – law firm management careers – that are J.D. preferred. When one of these positions pops out at me, I’ve included it on the list.
There are a few positions I’d like to highlight: