If you’re looking to make partner, you’ve probably wondered what the fast track is to your goal. While each law firm has its own vetting process for who will make partner, there are certain things almost all partners have in common. Let’s take a look at four qualities you need to make partner:
- A commitment to practicing law. The number one quality that every law partner has is a complete commitment to the practice of law. Attorneys who make partner are enthusiastic about their profession, their practice area, and the industry and individuals they serve. And they make it a point to show that enthusiasm in the service they deliver. But it’s difficult to be enthusiastic if you chose a practice area or law firm that you don’t really like. If you want to make partner be sure you begin that journey at the firm that’s the best fit for you.
- A commitment to excellence. No one is perfect, but the attorneys who make partner are committed to providing excellent legal services to their clients. That commitment to excellence doesn’t just begin when they become partner, it begins when they’re associates—they do their best to make it easier for existing partners to do their job.
- The ability to make allies. No matter how good of a lawyer you are, you must always remember that life at a law firm requires that you also be a politician. Attorneys who make partner understand law firm politics and are able to make allies and get things done despite the inevitable conflicts.
- An orderly life. Talent and skill are important for every lawyer, but so is the ability to keep your life orderly despite the stress that comes with practicing law. Attorneys who make partner are those people who can conduct their lives in an orderly manner—they keep a professional appearance, avoid substance abuse, and always seem to have everything under control. Having the ability to maintain an orderly life is critical if you want to make partner, because your chaos could harm the firm’s image and bottom-line.
If you want to make partner, pay as much attention to your character and outlook as you do your experience and skills.
Many legal recruiters crave the excitement and promise of opportunity that being independent offers. But before you take the leap to becoming an independent recruiter, you need to consider some common challenges.
- Financial instability. Unstable finances is something many people expect when launching out on their own as an independent recruiter, but they often fail to realize that instability can continue even after they’ve established themselves. To counter financial instability, always be searching for new clients, build an emergency cash account, and establish a business line of credit.
- Uncertainty about the future. When you’re working for someone else, there is a routine, someone else gets the sales and balances the books. But when you’re an independent recruiter, everything is on your shoulders. And when you look into the future you realize that there are very few guarantees—clients change, market conditions shift, and competitors mix up their strategies. You must always be prepared to endure the stress of not knowing exactly what will happen in the future.
- Building a reputation. In the recruiting business, getting clients and candidates will depend on reputation. But building that reputation is difficult, especially when your competitors are better known and more experienced. When starting out as an independent recruiter, make building a reputation a priority so that you can lay a solid foundation for your business.
- Working with others. Even if you’re flying solo as an independent recruiter, you’ll need to work with others—vendors, clients, candidates, and other recruiters. Handling so many different personalities can be tough, especially when you must consider how their desires affect your interactions. You’ll need to improve your social intelligence if you want to overcome the challenge of working with others.
Acknowledge and prepare for the challenges of being an independent recruiter and give yourself a fighting chance at success.
Are you unemployed and looking for work because you were fired from your last job? If so, you may feel a little nervous about explaining your termination. Below are a few tips on how you can effectively explain getting fired and still make a good impression at your next interview.
- Shift your mindset. Before you ever go on an interview or send out a resume, you must shift your mindset. Even if you were fired for good cause or because you made a terrible mistake, you must let go of the guilt and shame. If you don’t release your negative feelings about getting fired, you’ll find it difficult to go after the jobs you deserve and ask for the compensation you’re worth.
- Be completely honest. Whatever you do, don’t lie about being fired. You’re not the first person to be fired and you won’t be the last. You never know, one of the people interviewing you may have also been fired in the past. So don’t feel tempted to lie. Also, lying won’t help you since it’s easy to find out the truth. And once it’s discovered that you lied, you will lose all trust and credibility.
- Reveal the lessons learned. When explaining why you were fired from a job, always highlight the lessons you learned from the experience. What did it teach you about yourself and the industry? By showing the interviewer that you learned from your experience, you’re also showing that you’re someone who can recognize their mistakes and grow.
- Reveal the change. When explaining why you were fired, let the interviewer know how you’ve changed. Did you go back and improve a skill or your knowledge? Did you get training or counseling so that you could better handle coworkers and clients? How did the experience transform you and how will that transformation benefit their firm.
Don’t let the fact that you were fired harm your job search, stay calm and explain your experience—you’ll be surprised at how many doors will open.
Getting clients to send you job orders is only part of the battle, you also need to send the right kinds of candidates to the interview. If you’re finding that you miss the mark too often when sending out candidates, you may be making one of these three mistakes.
- Failing to clarify job specs. Even if an employer is experienced in hiring, they may still fail to give you a job order without enough information. It’s important that you never assume anything about a job order. If it’s not written down, it’s possible that it’s not something the employer wants. Before sourcing for a job, clarify all the most important specifics with the hiring manager.
- You hear what you want to hear. Job candidates will often tell you (verbally and in their cover letters) what you want to hear. It’s up to you to read between the lines. What does the job candidate really want? And how do their goals and desires fit with the job you’re trying to fill? If there’s a mismatch, they’re not a good candidate even if their skills and experience are stellar.
- You’re overlooking the specifics. A job is more than a title, it’s a specific set of daily tasks and responsibilities. Oftentimes job candidates are sent on interviews without knowing what a “day in the life” of that job really looks like. And the daily reality of a job can look very different at different firms.
Tweaking your approach to vetting candidates may make it easier to choose the best matches for your job order.
Even if you’re a highly qualified attorney, it’s inevitable that you may not get interviewed for some jobs even if you’re a good match. But there are a few good reasons why you should apply for a job more than once, even if you were turned down in the past.
- Your resume wasn’t reviewed. Many law firm hiring managers receive hundreds (sometimes thousands) of applications when they post a job. It’s simply impossible for any firm to review all of those resumes. This means that they may choose to only review the first few hundred they receive and you may not make the cut simply because you sent in your application “too late.”
- The requirements changed. When a firm initially puts out a call for job applicants, they may have very high standards. But if they’re unable to find enough candidates who meet their high standards they may be willing to lower the bar. This lowering of the bar may allow you another shot at getting hired.
- Your experience may have widened. If you’ve made significant (or even small) moves in your career or job related education, it’s smart to reapply to a job. That additional experience and education may just be what you need to get noticed by the hiring manager and land an interview.
- They’ve got a new hiring manager. How applicants are chosen has a lot to do with who is doing the choosing. One hiring manager may be unimpressed by your credentials while another will be eager to interview you for the position. Even if your experience and education hasn’t changed much since the last time you applied for a job, the person hiring may be different.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get an interview the first time you apply for a job, give it another shot and you may get their attention the second time around.
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.