This is the first in a series of posts titled, What They Don’t Teach You in Law School About Dealing With Legal Recruiters: A Must Read for Law Firm Associates by David SarnoffEsq.

Being Prepared For Recruiter Calls

Law schools provide services that attempt to prepare students for their chosen profession and career. As law students navigate their way through classes, striving to achieve top grades, be selected for law review and obtain the coveted summer associate position at a top law firm, they can find themselves unprepared for the onslaught of calls and emails from Legal Recruiters after starting their associate careers.

This lack of preparedness is a great disservice to the law student, and can have a profound negative effect on one’s career path. Choosing the wrong recruiter can cause a major setback in an attorney’s career. Attorneys at the top 200 firms in the country are working long hours, over nights and weekends, and thus are not in tune with opportunities that can take their career to the next level, or put them on a better path. In this respect, recruiters play a vital role of informing, educating and helping to position an attorney to be properly presented to increase the attorney’s chances for interview selection.

The responsibility of a legal recruiter is to listen to candidates and present them with the opportunities that will help them achieve their goals. It may be moving to a top M&A group to hone their craft to eventually be considered for a high level in-house position. Alternatively, it may be moving to a small or mid-size law firm to be able to better market themselves to clients at a more competitive billable hourly rate structure to grow their book of business. Or, it may be exploring in-house opportunities to be a General Counsel at a company or hedge fund. No matter the path, a skilled recruiter will guide a candidate through the process to optimize the candidate’s ability to get the job. This may include tweaking a resume, helping develop a business plan and engaging in interview preparation and research.

However, not all recruiters believe in this method. Sometimes, a recruiter will be contacted by attorneys seeking advice after receiving poor service from their current recruiter. An example may be as follows: an attorney was working long hours every week, and happened to pick up the phone at the right moment (for the recruiter). The recruiter said there were numerous active opportunities (even though the candidate was very junior) and sent the candidate’s resume to over forty (40) law firms. If a recruiter wants to send out your resume to forty (40) law firms on an initial submission, run, don’t walk, to get away.

David B. Sarnoff, Esq. is a legal recruiter and Principal of his search firm, Sarnoff Group LLC. He has over eighteen (18) years of experience as a recruiter and career counselor. He has placed attorneys into law firms, companies and hedge funds at different experience levels, practice areas and in many cities. Feel free to contact David for a confidential conversation at 646.665.4899 or [email protected] David also practiced at a New York law firm in the areas of complex commercial litigation and white collar defense. He is a member of the Board of Education in Fort Lee, NJ and currently serves as the Board President.