Recruiter Corner: Five Soft Skills To Look For When Sourcing High-Level Candidates

soft-skills1-390x250Recruiting senior attorneys is a unique and sometimes challenging task. If you want to get it right, you’ll need to seek out only those candidates who have the soft skills necessary to get the job done.  Below are five soft skills that high-level candidates should have:

  1. Work efficiency. Most senior attorneys are slammed with an impossible amount of responsibilities. If you want to recruit the right candidates for the job, look for talent that has a unique ability to work efficiently. They should be able to get the job done in less time and with fewer resources than the average person.
  2. Persuasive. High-level new hires need to influence others to understand their perspective and follow their lead. This is why people with well developed persuasion skills are important. Find a job candidate who can influence others and you’ll get the employer the new hire they need.
  3. Big picture thinking. Senior attorneys must be able to do their specific jobs, but they must also have the ability to see the entire picture. Pursue only those attorneys who can understand how sales, marketing, and the day-to-day legal work fit together to make a law firm successful.
  4. Persistence. No matter how you look at it, only job candidates with a dogged persistence can survive as senior attorneys. Attorneys in positions of power will face many challenges, disappointments, and failures.  If they’re unable to persist, they won’t succeed on the job.
  5. Perceptive. No matter how good of a lawyer a candidate is, if they want to thrive as a senior attorney they’ll need to be perceptive—able to read the moods of people and the industry trends. This ability to perceive trouble before it comes is critical to heading off problems before they get a serious hold on the law firm.

As you source talent for senior attorney positions, look for the soft skills that will make it possible for them to succeed in their jobs.

Five Tips For Acing The Second Interview

meetingIf you’ve been asked for a second (or third) interview, pat yourself on the back, you’ve obviously made a good impression. But don’t slack off now, this is just the beginning, and you’ll need to really impress the interviewers if you want a chance at snagging the job. Below are five tips for acing your second, third or even fifth interview with a law firm:

  1. Keep it professional. Don’t get too relaxed with your attire just because you’ve been called in for a follow-up interview. Talk to law firm insiders and ask what type of attire is expected of candidates after a first interview. If you’re not too sure, play it safe and stick with purely business attire.
  2. Brush up on dining etiquette. Some follow-up interviews may begin in an office and end up at a restaurant. To make sure you continue to make a good impression, familiarize yourself with proper dining etiquette and avoid ordering smelly or messy dishes.
  3. Ask questions. Asking the right questions will give you the insight you need to decide if you really want to accept an offer from this law firm. In essence, you want to know if this law firm is offering the things that are important to you.
  4. Talk to staff. Don’t waste your time checking your phone while in the reception area. Chat up the secretary and see how they’ve enjoyed working at the law firm. The way a law firm treats its support staff is often reflective of how they will treat their attorneys. Just make sure that you don’t ask probing questions, keep it light and casual.
  5. Stay consistent. Interviewers at your second interview (and other follow-up interviews) will often ask the same questions that were in asked at your first interview. Keep your answers consistent. You don’t want to give the impression that you’re wish washy, or worse—insincere.

If you’re having a follow-up interview, be prepared and don’t get too comfortable. Remember, second impressions can have an even greater impact than first impressions.

The Top 10 Family Friendly Firms

Top-Ten-logoThere is some appealing news for family-minded attorneys in Biglaw: policy improvements are being made across firms to accommodate the working parent. That’s the word from Yale Law Women, a non-partisan organization at Yale Law School, which conducts an annual survey to determine the most family-friendly firms.  The newly published list of Top 10 Family Friendly Firms for 2015 is:

  • Arnold & Porter
  • Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft
  • Duane Morris
  • Hogan Lovells (U.S.)
  • Hunton & Williams
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Morrison & Foerster
  • Munger Tolles & Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
  • WilmerHale

To measure these results, YLW invited firms ranked in the 2015 Vault Law 100 to participate in a survey where questions fell into four broad categories: 1) billable hours and compensation; 2) leadership and promotions; 3) part-time and flex-time policies; and 4) parental and family accommodations.

Notably, seven of the firms are returning from last year, including Arnold & Porter, Hunton & Williams, Orrick, Hogan, Kirkland, Morrison & Foerster, and Munger Tolles.  Encouraging news for attorneys seeking a family friendly culture with a proven track record.

However, not all the findings were so friendly. The YLW concluded their report on the survey by stating, “Notable improvements have been made in policy offerings relating to parental accommodations, but the usage rate of family-friendly policies remains stagnant.”  This obviously begs the question, why aren’t lawyers taking greater advantage of these policies?  The report suggests the reasons are twofold. First, “Even with family friendly policies on paper, attorneys can face pressure to devote extreme hours to work…” And sometimes that pressure is entirely self-imposed, “many attorneys felt they sacrificed professional achievement when making use of policies to accommodate their family lives.”

So while the findings show progress, most importantly that firms now recognize how much family friendliness matters to attorneys, “there is still work to be done in creating an industry that truly supports families.” Hopefully surveys such as this one help to propel that good work forward.



Sadie Madole Founder and owner of Madole Legal Search

Sadie Madole
Founder and owner of Madole Legal Search

Sadie Madole has been recruiting associate level candidates for law firms and in-house positions in Washington, DC since 2006.  A licensed attorney, Sadie previously practiced law for ten years as a litigation associate at a boutique firm, and as an attorney advisor with the Treasury Department.  Sadie is the owner of Madole Legal Search (

Recruiter Corner: How To Set Your Fees When You’re New To Business

art_moneywheelbarrowIf you’re a new independent recruiter you probably feel a little nervous about charging what your more experienced competitors charge. But if you want to make a profit, you’ll need to avoid charging too little for your services. Below are a few tips on how to set your fees when you’re a new recruiter:

  1. Calculate your costs. The cost of running your business includes rent, utilities, phone, internet, supplies, and labor. Even if you’re the only one working your recruitment business, you’ll need to calculate the value of your time. Is your time worth $100 an hour or $50? Whatever the value, you’ll need to multiple that by the time you spend working your business.  Your business costs are the bottom-line figure you’ll need to earn to break even.
  2. Costs plus profit. Your fees must cover the costs associated with your business plus bring in a profit. So, let’s say that it costs $70 an hour to run your business, and you spend 20 hours on a job order, that job order would need to earn you at least $1400 to break even. This is why it’s important that you track how much time you spend on each job order. Tracking the time will give you a good estimate of how much you should charge.
  3. Watch the market. Whatever fees you charge, they must be in line with the rest of the market. Your fees shouldn’t be too far below or too far above what the rest of the market is charging. Of course there are exceptions. If you’re offering a service that can’t be found anywhere else and employers desperately need that service, then charging a premium is not only allowable it’s expected.

Do yourself a favor by charging fees that won’t leave your recruitment business in a losing position.

Five Not So Obvious Job Search Tips For Millennials

millennial_job_searchMillennials have had quite a rough time in the job market, especially with an unemployment rate hovering around 14%. But what can the Millennial attorney do to improve the odds of finding a sweet gig? Below are five not so obvious job search tips for Millennials:

  1. Vanquish resume gaps. Even if you’ve been out of work for a year, don’t let a gap sneak into your resume. Keep working—at any job. It’s important that you stay busy and that you continuously improve your work experience no matter what. Even if you can’t find the exact job you want, get something else in the meantime.
  2. Castaway the schooling crutch.  Don’t keep going to school just to stay busy.  One of the biggest mistakes some Millennials make is going back to school just because they can’t find a job. Doing this can cause problems 1) it can create unnecessary debt, and 2) it can put you a few years behind in building your career.
  3. Abandon your security blanket. Are you looking for certain jobs because you think they’re secure? Don’t do it. In today’s economy there are no “secure” jobs out there. You can be let go for any reason or no reason at all. So make sure you’re taking work that combines your passions with a paycheck that can afford you the lifestyle you want.
  4. Get help from your university.  College career services aren’t just for currently enrolled students. You Alma mater can help you find work if you’re willing to reach out and accept the assistance.
  5. Don’t rely solely on job ads. Send out resumes and cover letters to the law firms you’re interested in before they list the job. This will take a little legwork on your part. Find firms that have recently expanded or who you suspect may need your skills and experience, and then send them a resume and letter of interest before they list a job.

While the employment market is tough for Millennials, there’s no reason why you can’t work smarter to get an advantage in your job search.

Recruiter Corner: Four Winning Attitudes Of Big Billers

getting_paid-530x324Joining the ranks of the big billers isn’t just about knowing the right people, it’s about adjusting your attitude. The way you think and they way you approach recruiting is the key to becoming a big biller. Below are four attitude adjustments you’ll need to make to become a big biller:

  1. Don’t be defined by circumstances. We are the products of our actions, not our circumstances. Big billers know that they’ll need to take action to find success regardless of the economy. In good times and bad, they’re always cold calling, making connections, and working hard to become the first choice of top talent and employers.
  2. Be disciplined. Create a solid plan and follow it. A talented recruiter without a plan is like a great and mighty ship without a rudder. Don’t let chance dictate what opportunities fall into your lap. If you want to become a big biller, create goals, clarify your vision, and craft a solid plan of how you’re going to get what you want.
  3. Respect your time. Never let anyone waste your time. There are a lot of things out there that will waste your time—client’s who aren’t serious, job orders that don’t pay adequate fees, candidates who don’t measure up to your standards, and tasks that don’t contribute to your bottom-line. Be stingy with your time, and you’ll have the energy to do the things that really matter.
  4. Value relationships over fees. While fees are important, it’s also important that you treat every client and job candidate with respect. Don’t overlook the value of good customer service. You should respond to questions promptly and take the time properly address concerns. And if you’ve been disciplined about taking on only those clients and candidates that deliver value to your bottom-line, providing good customer service should never be a problem.

A winning attitude is what will open the door to becoming a big biller.

Attorney Job Search: How To Battle The “Not Enough Experience” Blues

Are you a talented but relatively green attorney looking to break into a job that offers more responsibilities? Well, as you’ve probably already discovered, getting past the “not enough experience” zone can be tough, but it’s not impossible. Below are three tips for getting the job you want when you have the skills but not enough experience:136850302_business_desk

  1. Highlight your hidden experience. Most of us have experience in other areas of our life that could be easily applied to our jobs. It’s just how you package it. Let’s say that you’ve managed a volunteer group for ten years. Your years managing other people count even though they weren’t paid. Bring that up in your cover letter and emphasize how you used skills learned in your unpaid work to succeed on the job.
  2. Get personal. If you’re relying on H.R. to see past your thin resume, then get prepared to send out hundreds of resumes before getting an interview. If you want to get past the “not enough experience” gatekeepers, you’ll need to connect directly to a partner (or senior attorney) at the law firm you interested in and get to know them. If you can make a meaningful connection, they may be willing to give you a chance while H.R. won’t.
  3. Apply to smaller law firms. Let’s face it, everyone is trying to break into the large, prestigious law firms. But if you’re stuck in a “not enough experience” feedback loop, approaching small law firms may be your ticket out. Many small law firms are willing to take a chance on less experienced attorneys especially if they have a passion for their work.

Don’t let your lack of experience limit your job search goals. Remember, there’s always a path to your dreams even if it’s one that requires extra work.

Recruiter Corner: Four Things You Need For Business Success

bigstockphoto_Business_Success_2672498_171x281If you’re an independent recruiter, you probably already have what it takes to successfully source top job candidates. But do you have what it takes to make your recruitment business a success? Below are four things you need to succeed:

  1. Systems and processes. Life as an independent recruiter means that you’re wearing many hats—recruiter, accountant, secretary etc. Fortunately, putting in place repeatable systems and processes can make wearing many hats tolerable.  It also makes it easier to hire someone to do the job the way you want. So make sure you establish written systems and processes as soon as possible.
  2. Revenue projections and a budget. Running your own recruitment business requires that you have a head for numbers. Don’t operate on guesses, hunches, or feelings. Put together a profit and loss statement, a budget, and revenue projections so that you’re aware of your business’ financial health.
  3. Written contracts. Even if you’ve worked with an employer in the past, written contracts protect your interests and put expectations and responsibilities in writing. Disagreements and disputes are an inevitable part of this business, so you’ll be glad you had a written contract when problems arise.
  4. Results tracking. Time is a scarce resource, that’s why tracking what works and what doesn’t is important. Make a habit of tracking which of your efforts help your bottom-line and reduce or eliminate any tasks that don’t produce results.

Developing critical business skills is the cornerstone of success for independent recruiters.

Attorney Job Search: Four Tips For Closing An Interview

475967953_HighResJust like in sales, when you’re in a job interview you need to be prepared to close the deal. Below are four things you should do when closing an interview:

  1. Reiterate your strong points. While first impressions are lasting, final impressions will stay with the interviewer even longer. That’s why it’s important that you remind the employer of your most unique skills. Remember, at this point most candidates have the basics down, so you need to reiterate what make you special.
  2. Ask for next steps. Make sure the interviewer has everything they need from you to make a decision. Ask if they need additional information about your background or if they would like you to provide references. Asking for the next steps can help speed up the recruiting process and hopefully help you get hired.
  3. Restate your interest.  While this may seem obvious to most, it is often overlooked. You need to let the interviewer know that you’re interested in the job, but most importantly why you’re interested.  A candidate who applies for a position because they respect the company and see it as an opportunity to learn is more likely to be hired than a candidate who is just looking for a high paying gig.
  4. Ask for a timeline. If you’re worried about how long the recruiting process will take, now is the time to ask the interviewer when they plan to make a decision. If they’re not sure, don’t press the issue; just take it as a sign to keep looking for other opportunities.

By reviewing the right points at the close of your interview, you’ll leave a lasting and positive impression.

Recruiter Corner: Three Ways To Become A Mobile Friendly Recruiter

telephoneWhen looking for the best talent, legal recruiters must make it easy to find and apply for their jobs. And in today’s job market, being mobile friendly can get you a lot of “that was easy” brownie points from job candidates. Below are three ways you can become a mobile friendly recruiter.

  1. Accept social profiles. While resumes are still the gold standard for hiring, social profiles such as LinkedIn are quickly growing in popularity and gaining respect in the legal industry. And it’s a lot easier for job candidates to forward a social profile when using their phone than it is to email a resume.
  2. One click access. Your recruiter website should allow job candidates to easily access job opportunities in one click when using a mobile phone. At the most, job candidates shouldn’t have to click more than twice to access your opportunities. This is also true when applying for a position. In one or two clicks a job candidate should be able to apply for a job or at least inquire about more information.
  3. Design for the mobile eye. Using a dynamic website that adjusts to a computer browser or a mobile browser will make it easy for job candidates and employers visiting your site. Many legal recruiters lose the attention of high quality contacts because their website isn’t mobile friendly. Even if you suspect that few people visit your site, having at least a basic mobile friendly website is just good business sense for legal recruiters.

Recruiters who make it easy for mobile users to access information about their services and job opportunities are more likely to attract the type of candidates and clients they really want.