Building a book of business is challenging, especially when you’re a new hire and still learning the ropes of the firm. But no matter how new you are at your job, you can begin building a book of business today. Below are a few tips.
- Go outside your bubble. If you want to successfully build a book of business, you’ll need to get from behind your desk and go out there to meet new people. Meet business owners, business managers, other attorneys, and anyone who can connect you to the decision makers in your industry.
- Learn marketing. When it comes to building a book of business, being a good lawyer simply isn’t enough. You also need to know marketing and develop a strategy for outreach. Having a strong marketing plan will put you light years ahead of most other attorneys and give you a business advantage.
- Don’t make assumptions. Many attorneys make the mistake of assuming that they know the value of a person within seconds of knowing them. While it’s true that you can see and assess surface things such as a person’s economic status, profession, and even educational background, you can’t easily assess their connections. If you’re going to assume anything, assume that every person you meet has the potential of helping you bring in business. Remember, even a low-level support employee may have some influence in who a decision maker will do business with.
- Be your own advocate. If you want to build a book of business, you must never be shy when talking about your work. Make a point to let everyone you meet know about your work. Carve out a space in your marketing plan for giving lectures, appearing on panels, and participating in workshops that allow you to talk about what you do.
Successfully building a book of business will require a varied and smart approach.
Getting news coverage for your business isn’t just good for bragging rights, it’s also good for building your reputation as a recruiter. The challenge is getting journalists to notice you. Below are few tips on how to get news coverage for your recruiting business.
- Develop contacts. Before you send out your first press release or make a call, make sure you’ve developed a list of newsroom contacts. You should know who to contact and what type of stories they cover.
- Develop your story. Every recruiter has a story to tell of how they entered the field, overcame their obstacles, built innovative solutions, and literally saved the day for clients and candidates. Don’t sell yourself short on this. You need to write down your story and pay close attention to the parts that make you unique or inspirational.
- Identify current news. Journalists want news, but they want news that’s current and related to the outside world. Did your recruiting firm get involved with some philanthropic cause? Did you put on an important event that ties into national (or local) trends? If your recruiting firm’s news is current and relevant, you should have no problem getting the attention of journalists.
- Don’t exaggerate. If you’ve been fed a steady diet of reality TV, you may feel tempted to stretch the truth a little so that your recruiting firm’s story seems sensational—but don’t do it. Good journalists can sniff out a lie. And when it’s discovered that you can’t be trusted, it’ll be difficult to get them to pay attention to you again.
Getting news coverage of your business can help build and maintain your reputation.
For many attorneys looking for change, in-house opportunities seem attractive. But what is the ideal profile of an attorney looking for an in-house job? Let’s take a closer look.
- Generalists. While there are exceptions, a good number of in-house jobs require the attorney to be a generalist. If you want to stand out in the field of candidates, you must have the ability to work across multiple practice areas and delegate tasks when necessary.
- Industry experience. The ideal in-house candidate is an attorney with some industry-related experience. Most companies want to hire attorneys who understand the business of the industry they’re in, or at least have experience in and knowledge of a related industry.
- Good communication skills. The ideal in-house candidate must have good verbal and written communication skills. If you’re working in-house, it’s likely you will need to clearly communicate your ideas to many non-lawyers.
- Negotiation skills. Since you’ll often need to bring your recommendations to the table and come to agreements with clients, good negotiation skills are essential. Employers want someone who can advocate for good ideas and engage in effective deal-making.
- Adaptability. The in-house experience is one steeped in change. There are no two days that are alike. The ideal in-house candidate is someone who can handle that change and adapt to it smoothly.
If you want to improve your chances of getting hired for an in-house opportunity, highlight the ways you align with the ideal candidate profile.
In the business of recruiting or in any business, trust is a valuable commodity. If you can give and receive trust, you’re more likely to find success. For recruiters who find it hard to trust anyone else in business, it may be difficult to do the things necessary to thrive such as delegating. But maybe we can untangle this issue of trust and make it easier for recruiters to trust and let go.
- Distrust is fear. At the root of distrust is fear. If you’re afraid to hand off tasks to others, you need to find out what you’re really afraid of. Do you fear that the other person won’t complete the task? Do you fear they will do it incorrectly? Are you afraid that it won’t be done the way you would do it? Getting to the root of your lack of distrust is the first step to delegating effectively.
- Trust is earned. Some recruiters believe that to delegate is to hand over tons of trust and responsibility to others without first vetting them. But in reality that’s not what delegation or trust is. All trust is earned before it’s given. The earning of trust could be in the form of job references or stellar work examples. Someone could also earn trust by completing simple, nonessential tasks that don’t risk your business. But if you want to get to the place of delegating like a boss, you must give others the opportunity to earn your trust.
- Trust is risky. No matter how careful you are, it’s always risky to trust others and delegate tasks in your business. That comes with the territory. You must be willing to take the risk and decide how big of a risk you want to take. But remember, it’s even more risky (and unsustainable) to do everything yourself.
- Accept change. No matter how competent someone is, they always bring their own vision to a project. Accepting that your vision may be changed (even if it’s slightly) is an important step in trusting enough to delegate tasks to others.
At the end of the day, no one can really give you the exact road to trust, you must decide to take the risk and accept that the results may be good but different from what you envisioned.
While a good interview can often feel like a conversation between friends, there are some topics that are off limits. Let’s take a look at five questions an interviewer should never ask you.
- What’s your maiden name? It is against the law for employers to discriminate based on gender or marital status. To avoid discrimination many employers avoid asking questions that require you to reveal your marital status.
- What’s your religion? Discrimination based on religion is illegal. Since your religion (or lack of religion) isn’t likely to impact your ability to do your job, there’s no need to reveal your religious affiliation to an employer. However, an employer can ask if you’re available to work weekends and holidays.
- What’s your national origin? The law expressly prohibits employers from treating natural born citizens different than nationalized citizens. That means they can’t require English tests for immigrants unless everyone (including natural born citizens) are required to take the tests too. However, an employer can ask all candidates if they are legally allowed to work in the United States.
- How old are you? The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects people over the age of 40 from job discrimination. An employer also cannot ask any question that will easily help them determine your age, such as “When did you graduate from high school?”
- Do you have a disability? Even if you need an accommodation, the interviewer cannot ask you about the nature or severity of your disability. However, they can ask if you can perform the basic functions of the job with or without an accommodation. In other words, candidates who need an accommodation cannot be treated differently than candidates without a disability.
If you’re asked an inappropriate question during an interview don’t be afraid to gracefully refuse to answer.
When recruiting for a job order, you want to do everything right. Of course perfection is probably not possible, but aiming for excellence is realistic and desirable when trying to find the right fit for a job order. Unfortunately, getting the right candidate can be hard when you’re making a lot of mistakes in your vetting process. Let’s take a look at a few candidate vetting mistakes you should avoid.
- Failing to develop a vetting process. Before you begin to sift through resumes, you must put in place a process that will help you quickly weed through those candidates that simply aren’t a good fit. Then, using the criteria given by the employer, create a list of the most important requirements of the job and measure all candidate resumes against it.
- Not prioritizing referrals. If trusted attorneys and fellow recruiters have referred candidates to you, it’s smart to prioritize them. Put in place a vetting process for referrals that’s streamlined and provides fast feedback to the candidate.
- Overlooking cultural fit. Fitting in with the firm culture is so important that it can often be a deal breaker even if other factors are acceptable. When vetting candidates, keep an eye out for those people who seem like a good fit for the law firm’s culture.
- Putting too much value on pedigree. Attracting graduates from a top law school is great, but don’t make the mistake of overlooking talented attorneys who’ve graduated from less prestigious schools. The same goes for work experience, some of the brightest minds come from smaller firms around the country.
Tighten your vetting process and make it easier to find candidates who are the perfect fit for your next job order.
Getting a job offer is only half the battle, it’s getting compensated in a way that feels fair that can be a challenge. Not that employers don’t understand they have to properly compensate their lawyers if they want to hire the best, but oftentimes candidates facing a salary negotiation are timid. Sometimes they’ve been in the job search for a long time and don’t want to rock the boat by asking for too much. Unfortunately, that attitude can mean they ask for too little. Let’s take a look at a few tips for making sure you get a fair deal when negotiating your salary.
- Shift your mindset. No matter how long you’ve been searching for work, you must not approach your negotiation as if the employer is doing you a favor by hiring you. Remember, sometimes an employer has been searching for the right candidate for just as long as the candidate has been looking for a job. You both have something you want, so make sure you get properly compensated for bringing value to the table.
- Come with facts. It’s critical that you do research on the current salary range people with your experience and expertise are earning in the job you’ve been offered. Leopard Solutions provides up-to-date data on what attorneys are earning across the country at various law firms, so it’s easy to get the information you need. You can sift through this data and present employers a number that’s in that salary range.
- Outline your value. When negotiating your salary, you must clearly present the reasons why your expertise and experience is worth a certain amount of money. Don’t fall into emotionalism or egotism here? It’s important that you remain objective and only deal with facts. For example, if you’re one of a few highly skilled local attorneys in your practice area you should bring that up, just make sure you’ve got proof of any claims you make.
Negotiating your salary is one of the most important things you will do, so do all you can to get a fair deal.
Sourcing top talent for a job order is only the beginning of a legal recruiter’s responsibilities; you should also properly prep all candidates for an interview so that they have the best chance of getting an offer. Below are a few tips for prepping job candidates for an interview.
- Clarify the details. Before you send a job candidate on an interview, you should clarify the details of the position. Make clear the duties and responsibilities the new hire will have and paint a realistic picture about the importance of the job in relation to the law firm’s bigger goals.
- Review relevant experience. Remind the job candidate of why you think they are a good fit for the position. Pinpoint what specific experience and expertise they have that will impress the hiring manager.
- Discuss interview style. If you know, you should tell the job candidate what interview style will the firm typically uses. How the candidate prepares for an interview may change depending on whether the interview is one-on-one or done with a panel interviewers. And if you can, make the candidate aware of any common questions the firm asks during interviews.
- Provide names. Whenever possible, give the candidate the names and job titles of all people conducting the interview. You should also discuss how these people will be important to them if they’re hired for the job.
Prepping job candidates for an interview will help them enter the room with more confidence and improve their chances of getting an offer.
Landing a job in a U.S. Attorney’s Office is the dream of many lawyers. But getting an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) position is competitive, and it’s very hard to get hired the first time you try. Let’s take a look at a few tips on getting hired as an AUSA.
- Know what you want. Just like in private practice, every U.S. Attorney’s Office is run differently, has different advantages/disadvantages, and differing cultures. That’s why you need to know exactly what you want to get out of an AUSA position before you launch your job search. Are you hoping to become a practice area expert (i.e. civil rights, white collar crime)? Or, do you hope to build a name for yourself in your city or region? You career goals will heavily influence the type AUSA jobs you apply for and the location you target.
- Look before you leap. There are two realities of working as an AUSA—the reality that AUSA hopefuls dream about and the one that current AUSAs actually live. You want to talk to current and former AUSAs and find out what their on-the-ground life experiences have been on the job. What are the ups and downs? What are some of the frustrations they faced that they could not change? And most importantly, for former AUSAs, why did they leave the field? You’ll also want to do your homework to find out current pay scales—if you’re coming from BigLaw you can expect a significant pay cut.
- Position yourself now. If you want to work as an AUSA it’s ideal if you’re coming from a judicial clerkship or Biglaw, but you can get hired even if you don’t have that kind of background. You’ll need to prove you can do the job by building as much trial experience as possible and demonstrating your excellent written and oral skills. Also, if you’ve worked closely with former AUSAs, you may be able to get them to recommend you for a position which could go a long way in impressing hiring managers.
Working as an Assistant U.S. Attorney can be prestigious and rewarding, but you’ll need to carefully strategize if you want to get hired for this highly competitive position.
Want to become a top biller? Then you’ll need to develop and own your niche. Most top billers have a unique value they deliver to employers, and that’s why they stand out as the best at what they do. Below are a few tips on how you can become a power player in your niche.
One of the easiest areas to develop a niche in is location. You know your city, state, and region better than anyone else. What if you could develop a powerful network of top talent in your location niche? Employers would think of you first when looking for talent in your locale, especially if you could prove that you’re the recruiter with the right contacts.
Some recruiters attempt to build connections in many practice areas and take any job order that comes across their desk. The problem is that there’s just no way to develop a powerful network of top talent in all practice areas. You need to specialize. Who are your best clients? What practice areas are they recruiting for? In what practice areas are most of your talent connections? If you can hone in on a few key practice areas, you could possibly build a strong web of connections to both talent and employers.
Do you recruit mostly veteran attorneys or do you find yourself working with junior level and new lawyers? Building a niche around the experience level of candidates is another route you can take. For example, if you’re known as the recruiter who can deliver the best senior level attorneys in the field, it’s more likely you’ll get called for those job orders that have experience as an important requirement.
Building and owning your own niche can make you stand out amongst other legal recruiters.