A good legal recruiter needs:
- to have persuasive skills,
- to be likeable,
- to have a good pedigree—in most cases—to understand the nuances of top level firms,
- to have an outstanding work ethic,
- to be entrepreneurial,
- to be a risk taker,
- to be diligent about learning information about the market,
- to be good at understanding people,
- to have a high level of concentration,
- to like people,
- to have a natural inclination to be in the legal profession,
- to be tough skinned, and
- to be intuitive.
- they have a poor work ethic and do not want to work as hard,
- they cannot get along with others,
- they cannot concentrate for long periods of time,
- they have drug or alcohol problems,
- they have no interest in the legal profession,
- they do not know what they want to do,
- they want to spend more time with their family, or
- they want to be "independent" from a working environment.
These qualities (and these are only a few) are the qualities which distinguish good recruiters, in my opinion, from poor ones. But it goes much further than this. A good legal recruiter needs to be genuinely excited—deep down—about their job and have a 100 percent commitment to what they are doing. Nothing less. This is fundamentally important, and no recruiter can be without this.
The best legal recruiter out there will get out of bed each morning so excited about the job he or she is doing that he or she cannot wait to get to work. The best legal recruiter out there will spend his or her weekends excited for the coming week so he or she can get back to work. The best legal recruiter will probably also not be able to control him or herself from not working and will find him or herself logging on during the weekend. A final point is that the best legal recruiter is excited about his or her candidates and interested in their lives. He or she is interested in the employers he or she is working for, too. The best legal recruiters may be so excited about what they do that they cannot help but get overly excited about the legal industry just by reading about it—they see opportunities everywhere they turn for their candidates.
Genuine, deep-down, and natural commitment is incredibly important. Because attorneys are so naturally conditioned to believe that practicing law is the only thing an attorney should be doing, there is a perception of sorts that anytime an attorney steps out of the practice of law there must be something wrong with them. I would submit to you that this is often true—yes, there is often something wrong with people who leave the practice of law.
People who leave the practice of law often do so because:
You name it—there are a lot of negative reasons people leave the practice of law. Some people have horrible legal pedigrees and simply cannot get hired once they leave. Others have a myriad of personal reasons for leaving and cannot find a job after losing their job for one reason or another. Personally, I do not care why people leave the practice of law—this is their business—but I want to be clear about one thing: I sure as hell would never want to hire a legal recruiter who is leaving the practice of law for any other reason than that they know they are suited for legal recruiting. This is the only reason they should be leaving.
When I hire the right legal recruiters at BCG Attorney Search who know they should be recruiting and want to recruit because they get excited about it, something miraculous happens. Those recruiters change people's lives and enrich the law firms they are working for. More people get better jobs, people find jobs that make them happier, and lawyers end up working where they should be working. Tons of great things happen. I am proud of this. As the CEO of a legal recruiting firm, I run a recruiting firm that is not motivated by profit from hiring tons of legal recruiters, but by having the absolute best legal recruiters possible. It is no easy task making sure only the right people are part of our team. In fact, we even run psychological tests on all prospective recruiters to make sure they are cut out for the work.
When a legal recruiter enters the profession or recruits for the wrong reasons then you will not benefit. What is true for many professions is no less true for legal recruiting: There are a lot of people in the profession that should not be there.
Many people believe that the best legal recruiter is the one who went to the best law school or worked at the best firm. In my experience, the opposite is true more often than not. It does not matter where your recruiter went to school or where they worked. What it comes down to is their ability to get excited about you, understand you, and be in love with their job and what they are doing. This is what everyone needs when they are being represented by a legal recruiter. Certainly the intelligence of your recruiter is important, but what is most important is a recruiter whose heart and soul are in the work—a recruiter who knows he or she is doing exactly what he or she should be doing with his or her career and life. Most likely, this recruiter will tell you from the heart how his or her life was changed by becoming a legal recruiter, how he or she knew it was the profession for them, and how he or she cannot get enough of it. Find a recruiter like this, and he or she will change your life, too.