Posted by Robert Half Legal on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - 08:00 | Follow me
In today’s legal world, clients have more options for counsel, and firms run a greater risk of losing business to competitors. As a result, law practices are taking steps to meet increased client demands, according to the Robert Half Legal 2015 Salary Guide. In a competitive business environment, a job candidate’s ability to provide client-facing services is becoming a key factor in the paralegal or lawyer hiring process.
As an employer in the legal field, this means you need to lay out your needs clearly in any associate or paralegal job description. You should also thoroughly analyze your candidates to ensure they can thrive in a client-focused office, as well as offer innovative methods for growing your client base.
Here are four tactics you can use to find top paralegal or attorney candidates in today’s legal job market who will be a good match for your firm:
1. Be straightforward.
It’s no secret that client demands are driving change, and firms are actively seeking team members who have client management experience in their legal careers. Be sure to include this requirement in your attorney or paralegal job description. Being clear and specific will help you attract candidates with the expertise you need.
2. Check references thoroughly.
Vetting applicants through their references is a crucial part of any lawyer search. These calls are especially helpful when you’re trying to evaluate the nontechnical skills involved in client management. Previous colleagues and employers can reveal how your prospects work with clients, including their strengths and weaknesses.
3. Ask for their success stories.
You want someone who’s committed to your firm’s mission and dedicated to client services, not someone who just goes along with the flow. Ask job candidates how they improved client services at their previous firm. Their responses will help clarify whether their dedication to client satisfaction can meet your firm’s needs.
4. Probe in the interview.
It’s difficult to test job applicants on their nontechnical skills, but not impossible. Use a portion of the interview to probe a candidate’s ability to provide client-facing services. For example, ask candidates to describe their previous successes or the innovations they were responsible for in their legal careers. A novel idea might be to have a candidate restate complicated legal proceedings in layperson’s terms.
After an offer has been made and accepted, an important next step of the onboarding process is to make certain that both new hires and existing staff are clear on the importance of meeting and exceeding client expectations. When you accomplish this goal, you’ll be well on your way toward managing the new realities of the dynamic legal profession.
What requirements do you include in your associate or paralegal job descriptions? What methods do you find helpful in your lawyer search? Let us know in the comments.