Checklist: Evaluating Legal Recruiters

Use this checklist to evaluate potential legal recruiters.  

Experience

  • Is the recruiter a referral or endorsed by someone you trust?
  • Does the recruiter have experience placing partners or practice groups?
  • Does the recruiter have experience placing partners in your practice area such that he/she knows the nuances?  
  • If you are called by a recruiter about a search, how knowledgeable is the recruiter about the particular firm?  
  • Does the recruiter truly understand law firm finances and economics (beyond profits-per-partner) and how this intersects with the process?

Approach

  • Does the recruiter ask questions regarding what you wish to accomplish with a move to a different employer?
  • Does the recruiter ask hard, pointed questions about your practice to gain a clear understanding?  
  • Does the recruiter offer tangible feedback on how you should best approach your search — or the particular opportunity — based on the unique nature of your practice?
  • Does the recruiter respond to you in a prompt and comprehensive manner?
  • Does the recruiter ask to meet with you (via video or in person), outline his/her approach, and offer to review your materials and assist you with things such as preparing for interviewing, sharing insight on firms, etc.?
  • Will the recruiter hone in on questions that an employer is likely to ask and help you navigate any potential speedbumps?
  • What is the quality of the recruiter’s written correspondence with you (content and format)?
  • How often will the recruiter keep you updated/apprised of the status?
  • Will the recruiter prepare a detailed cover letter that addresses important background information regarding you, your practice, the reason for considering a move, and other information that firms want to know at the outset?
  • Is the recruiter a member of NALSC®, and therefore bound by the NALSC Code of Ethics®?

Remember, the recruiter with whom you select to work directly reflects upon you as a candidate. 

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Picture of Author: Dan Binstock

Author: Dan Binstock

Dan co-owns Garrison & Sisson, where he focuses on lateral partner and practice group placements. He has consistently been recognized as one of the Top 100 Global Legal Strategists and Consultants by LawDragon, and authored "The Attorney's Guide to Using (or Not Using) Legal Recruiters." Dan is the Immediate Past President of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants (NALSC), where he also served as Chair of the Ethics Committee. Visit here to learn more about Dan, or contact him confidentially with any questions at (202) 559-0492 or dbinstock@g-s.com.

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