3 Reasons You're Having Trouble Finding the Right Attorney

Seven chairs, one of them red, sit along a wall beneath a clock

Wouldn't it be convenient if you could special order an attorney who fits the needs of your law firm or legal department and could staff the position immediately? Litigation experience? Check. Foreign language skills? Check. Leadership abilities? Check.

Obviously, securing a highly skilled attorney for your organization takes more time and effort than that. But even with a focused search, you may have trouble finding candidates who meet all or even most of your criteria. If you are under pressure to move fast, you could end up making a bad hire by extending an offer to an attorney you deem "good enough" — but isn't.

You can improve your chances of finding the right attorney quickly if you avoid some common pitfalls in the hiring process. Here are three reasons your search may be coming up short:

You are asking for too much

Like many cost-conscious legal employers today, you are probably expanding your team only when absolutely necessary. When you do hire, you might be hoping to locate an attorney who is a "generalist specialist" — someone who can do all things pretty well, but at least one thing especially well, like intellectual property or corporate law. Finding this super attorney could prove difficult, if not impossible.

A better approach is to think about what skills you need to add to your core team for the long term. You'll likely have more luck finding an attorney with a handful of must-have abilities versus a lawyer who excels at everything. (If you do need niche expertise, consider hiring a specialist — either full time or temporarily, depending on how long you need access to those skills.)

You are not keeping up with compensation trends

If you aren't offering compensation and benefits that are in line with what other law firms and companies in your local market are offering, you might be undermining your efforts to attract a highly skilled attorney. For help, look to online resources such as the Robert Half Legal Salary Center, where you can find up-to-date information about compensation trends for more than 100 legal positions. Both the annual Salary Guide and the Salary Calculator, which can be found on this website, can help you determine appropriate salary ranges for legal jobs in your area. The Salary Center also provides useful insight into current hiring and management trends.

You are using the same resources as everyone else

If your primary strategy for finding the right attorney for your team is posting employment ads on leading job sites and hoping top candidates will come to you, you might be waiting a long time. This is not to say these sites aren't valuable. But in today's competitive hiring environment, you need to be more proactive with your search.

One strategy: Enlisting the help of a specialized legal staffing firm. This will give you access to recruiters with legal field experience who will work on your behalf to find an attorney who meets your specific needs. These recruiters not only will have a pipeline of active job seekers to choose from but also often know of passive candidates willing to make a move for the right opportunity.

The process of working with a leading staffing agency committed to delivering your ideal candidate is not unlike special ordering an attorney for your organization. And by setting realistic hiring criteria and offering competitive compensation, you will only increase your chances of finding an attorney with all the must-have skills on your checklist.

See this article to learn more about the value of engaging a legal recruiter to help fill a legal position in your organization.