Networking as a Legal Hiring Tool: 5 Tips for Recruiting Attorneys

Tips for Recruiting Attorneys

Competition for experienced lawyers is running strong. How can you approach your recruiting efforts in a way that’s both smart and subtle? Beyond the standard recruiting tips, here are five networking best practices for legal recruitment.

1. Keep legal hiring in mind at social events.

Outside of professional events, social occasions such as weddings, cocktail parties and baby showers present opportunities to prospect for new talent. When conversation turns toward what you do for a living, that’s your cue to talk about how much you love your job and enjoy working for your law firm. Have a brief success story on deck if someone wants to know more (brief is the operative word — be sure you’re not drawing attention away from the occasion at hand) that touches on your firm’s success, growth, work environment or other unique selling points.

2. Take an active interest in bar association activities.

Social events are terrific for networking, but there’s really nothing like an enormous room packed with qualified lawyers who all live in the region. State and local bar associations are ideal for this. Be an active member by taking part in what they have to offer.

3. Go where the specialists are.

If you need to hire a patent lawyer, the American Intellectual Property Law Association conference is a great resource. Or if you’re looking for a litigator, consider attending your local ABA chapter’s next litigation section event. Need to expand your firm’s expertise in eDiscovery? Register to attend ACEDS’ E-Discovery Conference & Exhibition.

4. Be discreet.

At professional events, of course, discretion is the watchword. Think of your immediate goal here not as legal hiring, but as expanding your network with new acquaintances. It might be best to establish a connection around nonwork topics. Once you’ve made a social connection, you can decide if you want to pursue avenues that may lead to legal hiring.

5. Keep in touch.

If you met at a professional gathering, it’s easy to email about having coffee  after the next local ABA event. You could bring along an attorney or two from your firm, giving you a chance to get a second opinion. You may also choose to emphasize your nonwork connection and suggest a more social meeting such as lunch at the new restaurant near the firm or attending a sporting event.

When the market for experienced attorneys is tight, don’t overlook opportunities presented by your own social life and professional events. Staying attuned to possibilities already in your schedule can minimize your recruiting efforts, promote your firm as a growing establishment and recruit new legal talent to your team.

How do you approach legal hiring? Share your thoughts and networking tips below.