Erin Kessler is a legal recruiter at Shuart & Associates, the largest and most experienced full-service legal search and staffing firm based in Louisiana. She has been with the firm since 2009 and specializes in placing attorneys and key executives in Fortune 500 companies, small to medium businesses, law firms of varying sizes, and in-house legal departments. Her territory includes Texas and the Gulf Coast states, which includes Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
Erin was born in Milton, FL and raised in New Orleans. She graduated with a B.F.A. Cum Laude in Theater from The College of Santa Fe, where she won awards for both acting and directing. After graduating, Erin moved to New York and ran her own improvisational comedy troupe, Molotov Cockroach, before enrolling in a Masters program for Educational Theater at New York University.
Erin currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and two daughters. When she isn't working, she enjoys spending time with her family. Currently she is working on a short documentary about her grandmother, who led an interesting and brave life as sheriff of a small town in Alabama.
Erin is a member of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants (NALSC), an organization of legal recruiters that adheres to the highest ethical standards in the profession. Erin is also a board member of the Childhood Development Center at Congregation Beth Israel in Austin, Texas.
Prior to Shuart & Associates, Erin worked as a recruiter for Walker & Associates, a search firm devoted to recruiting other recruiters. She later worked as an executive recruiter for Ribolow Associates, specializing in publishing and advertising in Manhattan. Her clients included Nickelodeon, Reed-Elsevier, and Scholastics.
When asked what she is known for professionally, Erin says, "I am easy to talk to and I tell the truth."
Erin also acknowledges her persuasive writing skills and emphasized that she asks good questions of her clients and candidates.
"I developed a good source of confidence after adolescence. Studying theater and acting gave me self-awareness at a young age. I developed a strong voice and good emotional intelligence through acting."
Erin's Tips for Legal Recruiters
What is your advice for new recruiters?
"Get over the feeling that you are bothering people. You bring tremendous value. Also, you have to be comfortable with taking risks. If that bothers you too much, you have to question if you are in the right profession."
How do you overcome fear?
"The best way to tackle fear is to recognize it and then deal with it."
How have you overcome obstacles in your life?
"I reach out to someone who is more experienced. When you are a recruiter, you are in your silo and sometimes you need to break out and bounce things off of somebody with more experience."
What have you learned from your mistakes?
"With some mistakes-especially when it comes to negotiating salaries and contracts-it seems like you have to learn the hard way, but when those lessons are learned they are never forgotten."
Do you have a mentor?
"Darnell Shuart has taught me more about this business than anyone else. She has an incredible ability to make both parties [candidates and clients] come away from a deal feeling great. She has taught me to go after new clients and she has helped me hone my negotiation skills."
Motivation and Goals
What motivates you? "I just love to make placements. It's fun and exciting to make a great match. It's fun to think about who will get the job. I like the idea that there is a person out there who is oblivious to the fact that there career is about to change for the better. My job is to find that person."
What is it about being a recruiter that you find rewarding?
"I love to solve my clients' problems and assure them that they are in good hands. I can hear the relief in their voice that I have them covered."
What are some of your goals?
"I am at the point in my career where I would like to do some training with a new recruiter. I think that I have something to offer and I have the experience now that I can recognize what personality traits make a good recruiter."
Where do you see the legal recruiting procession in the next five years?
"I see the field expanding because firms and companies who didn't use recruiters before are using them now. Our value is being recognized by a wider audience."
What makes a great candidate?
"The person has to have some balance of ambition, talent, humility, and confidence."
The amount of job listings at LawCrossing impressed me a great deal.
LawCrossing Fact #71: Users are more likely to find jobs when they use LawCrossing because many new jobs are added every day.