After an exhaustive search process, you still haven't been able to locate the right legal talent for your law firm, and now you've reached your wit's end. You think your next step is to consider enlisting the help of a legal recruiter; however, you're not sure whether that's the right move. You wonder, "Can these resources really help me find highly skilled legal professionals quickly?"
The short answer is yes. But there is a caveat. You're likely to see faster results when you work with a staffing firm that has a long history of placing legal professionals in full-time, temporary or contract, and project roles. Experienced legal recruiters work to maintain deep and wide networks within the legal community. This means they not only know of skilled candidates who are actively seeking employment but also top talent who might consider leaving their current position for the right opportunity.
Here's what to expect when you work with experienced legal recruiters:
- Attention to detail – Legal recruiters who make poor candidate-client matches aren't likely to stay in business for long. By contrast, top legal recruiters will take great care to understand your law firm's talent needs before they make their first placement. They will invest in building a relationship with your organization by meeting with you personally to learn about your corporate culture, specific job requirements and timeline for filling roles.
- Industry knowledge – Most legal recruiters at leading staffing firms will have firsthand experience working in the legal industry. This helps them understand what specialized skills and attributes candidates need to succeed, whether it's for a paralegal, contract administrator, attorney or even a less-traditional job in the legal field.
- Thorough candidate screening – Any legal employer who has handled the hiring process on their own knows how time-consuming it is to confirm that a professional's background, skills and experience match the description in their job application materials. Reputable legal recruiters will review the academic and professional experience of every candidate through an evaluation process that includes interviews and selected reference checks. If a candidate needs to have certain legal software skills for a position, legal recruiters can test those, too.
- Ability to make changes – fast – No matter how much time and effort legal recruiters devote to making a great hire for your law firm, mismatches can occur. Sometimes, they only come to light once a legal professional is on the job, working in your environment. When that does happen, you need legal recruiters who will move quickly to find a qualified replacement.
The value of an ongoing relationship
Even though you may initially seek out legal recruiters for help addressing an immediate hiring need for your law firm, you may quickly discover that these relationships are worth cultivating over the long term for a number of reasons.
For one, having instant access to a pipeline of full-time talent can enable your law firm to respond quickly to business demands. Also, the ability to engage skilled temporary staff to assist with unpredictable caseloads helps you avoid making permanent hires you don't need. A flexible staffing approach also provides a way for you to relieve pressure on your core team when needed, preserving morale and improving retention in your organization.
Another benefit of maintaining relationships with legal recruiters is that they may be able to connect you with other valuable resources, such as legal consulting services, legal project solutions and eDiscovery services. The legal industry is dynamic, and access to all of the above can help ensure your law firm is always at the ready to meet your clients' changing needs.
Are you considering working with legal recruiters to find interim talent? See these tips for choosing the right legal staffing agency. To help ensure your law firm is offering competitive compensation for legal roles, refer to Robert Half Legal's latest Salary Guide.