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Legal Recruiter Julie Lehrman Makes Matches that Work

published December 03, 2012

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Personal Life
Julie Lehrman, Legal Recruiter BCG Attorney Search

Julie Lehrman is a senior recruiter in BCG Attorney Search's Chicago office, where she places candidates in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions. After earning her J.D., Julie served as a Judicial Law Clerk on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. She practiced as a litigation associate at Goodwin Procter, LLP in Washington, D.C. before joining the National Treasury Employees Union as an Assistant Counsel. She later joined the Labor and Employment group at Baker and McKenzie's Chicago office.

Julie became a legal recruiter in 2008, and has also worked as a Career Counselor at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago before joining BCG Attorney Search. Julie has broad experience placing lawyers in all legal areas at law firms as well as in house.

Julie earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center where she served as a Senior Editor on Georgetown's Law Review. Her most memorable law school experience was working as a research assistant for a professor who regularly argued before the Supreme Court.

Julie was born and raised in University City, Missouri. She earned her B.A. from Washington University in Saint Louis, double majoring in French and Comparative Literature. When she isn't working, Julie enjoys spending time with her kids and her dog, playing music, running, hiking, and traveling.

Julie's Career and Tips to Become a Successful Recruiter

In order to be a successful legal recruiter, Julie believes that “You have to be a good listener and you have to know what questions to ask. You need to know the law firms really well in order to know what each firm is looking for. Then you can start to think about what candidates will work well in a particular firm.”

Julie decided to transition to legal recruiting because she wanted flexibility and more contact with people. “I have always been told that I listen well and talk well with other individuals.” While considering making a career transition, Julie interviewed various attorneys working in law-related fields, including solo practitioners, legal writers and publishers, and law school and organizational employees. She chose legal recruiting because she likes creatively helping attorneys meet their career goals, and enjoys the variety each day brings. Julie stated, “After thoroughly researching my options, I decided recruiting was the best choice for me.” After eight years of practicing law, she made the transition.

Professionally, Julie is known for “making effective matches. I will not place people where they don't fit.” What does Julie look for to find the right fit? First, she assesses the needs of the candidate. Why is the attorney looking to make a move, and what kind of atmosphere will make her happier? “I think about her personality, her practical needs, the kinds of work she enjoys. Some associates want a smaller atmosphere, leaner staffing, while others prefer a larger atmosphere where they can try lots of different things. Some want a lockstep partnership track, or a clearly defined assignment system. Some are looking for opportunities to build clientele or get into court.”

The second step is to know what the firms offer. “I think about what the various firms and practice groups are like on a day to day basis. I pay attention to the types of clients the firm services, staffing arrangements, the origins and development of the firm. It is important to understand the personality of each firm if you're going to put someone there who will be successful.”

As for what makes a great candidate, Julie first considers the candidate's academic credentials and practical experience. A great candidate embraces opportunities to grow and take on more responsibility. Julie also values attorneys who don't roam from one position to another and who have a clear idea what they are looking for in their next position. “I'm looking for a solid, consistent history on their resume and in their life.”

So what is Julie's recipe for a perfect match? “A candidate needs to know what they want if I'm going to make a good match. Candidates need to do some soul searching and think about what will make them happy and why. That is the first step. I can take it from there based on the information they give me, because I have a thorough understanding of the firms.” Julie's advice to new recruiters is practical and straightforward: “Learn the firms and learn how to listen to each candidate.”

Julie credits Jamie Bailey, a Partner with BCG Attorney Search's Chicago office, as being her mentor. “Jamie has an amazing store of knowledge that she readily shares.” Julie also often offers coaching to friends and students. “Often, attorneys contact me who I am not able to help, but I can point them to resources that they can use. I am consistently asked to help people with their job searches and resumes.”

Many readers may want to know where Julie sees the legal field in the next five years. She explained, “The legal field is competitive and will remain challenging for new graduates. There have been some fundamental changes in large firms. The model has changed a lot and some of those changes will be permanent. For example, some firms have delegated more responsibility to paralegals. Similarly, firms are also more likely to hire trained laterals, and some shy away from investing in new grads. Leaner staffing models will continue even after the downturn is truly over.”

From where does Julie derive her confidence? The recruiter said, “From experience. I have worked as an associate and in-house counsel. I know the needs of different sectors, and I understand what attorneys' lives are really like.” After years of experience in the legal recruiting business, Julie is still motivated every day because “making a really good match makes my day.”

Tackling Obstacles and a Fulfilling Job

When asked, “How do you tackle obstacles?” Julie stated, “I try and face what is really concerning me when I feel overwhelmed by something big. It is important to distill seemingly huge problems into smaller, more manageable pieces, and then face each one. As a recruiter, there are situations that cause you to get a sinking feeling that something is wrong. For example, if a firm articulates an issue with a candidate, or a candidate responds negatively to a low salary offer, whatever the problem may be, you can't pretend it isn't happening. You need to think about what is causing the issue, and think about the least complicated way to get the parties communicating their needs to one another. This is how you get to the heart of the issue and find a solution.”

Julie believes legal recruiting is a very rewarding job, and loves helping candidates in their own journey of self-discovery. “Recruiters have a special knowledge. The job involves counseling. Often, candidates don't know why they are unhappy or what will make them happy in a future position. You have to listen and ask the right questions in order to help them understand their own needs and desires. You need to learn their personality. There is a coaching aspect that I find fulfilling.”

Passionate Causes, Favorite Quote and Future Goals

Julie is involved with an animal rescue group for whom she provides legal work. She rescued her own Argentine Mastiff dog.

Her favorite quote comes from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: “We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams.” Julie admitted, “It reminds you that you make your own destiny.” Although she liked the 2005 remake of the film, Julie prefers the original, and is a huge fan of Gene Wilder.

While Julie is very happy working mostly with associates, she looks forward to working with partners at BCG as well.

published December 03, 2012

By Follow Me on
( 24 votes, average: 4.8 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.