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Legal Placement Specialists, Inc.

published May 13, 2013

By Follow Me on
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( 19 votes, average: 3.9 out of 5)
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Personal Life

Vera J. Wright of Legal Placement Specialists, Inc.
Vera J. Wright owns and runs Legal Placement Specialist, Inc., the first legal search firm based in North Carolina. LPS specializes in lawyers from all practice areas and focuses on making permanent placements in law firms as well as in-house counsel. The search firm places attorneys primarily in Virginia, North and South Carolina. They have also placed attorneys throughout the United States. Prior to becoming a recruiter, Vera worked in several law firms in marketing as a secretary or paralegal. She later became Director of Lawyer Recruitment and Associate Development for McGuireWoods, a large law firm based in Virginia, before establishing her own search firm twenty years ago.

Vera was born in Wilson, NC and she grew up on a tobacco farm in Johnston County, NC. She is the oldest of five children. When asked about her childhood activities, Vera said, "I worked tirelessly on the farm, but I began playing the piano in church at age 13, played high school basketball for 4 years and was selected Most Valuable Player, was President of the Beta Club, and elected FFA Sweetheart."

After graduating from Hardbarger Business College, Vera married her husband and had two children. Although she relocated several of times due to her husband's career opportunities, Vera has remained active in each community she has lived in. She has played the piano, sang in church choirs, directed children's choirs, and served on various committees in numerous churches and towns. Vera is currently an active member of Trinity Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC. She explained, "Community involvement is very important to me and I have always contributed to making my community a better place. Some examples include, serving as President of the Siler City Jaycettes; as a Brownie Troop leader; and as a member of the Ruby Begonias, a Red Hat Group that raised money for Habitat for Humanity, homeless shelters, and foster children."

Vera continued to say that while she lived in N. Myrtle Beach, she sang in the "Sweet Spirit" ensemble. She said this group sang in nursing homes, Veterans' Day events, July 4th events, and in many churches throughout the community. During the 2012 elections, Vera actively volunteered for her political party's candidates. She is currently serving on a fundraising board for "Pretty in Pink," an organization that raises money for breast cancer patients who cannot afford treatment. For the past fifteen years, Vera has also been a proud member of The Wolfpack Club at NCSU.

Her first job working for a law firm in Raleigh sparked her lifelong passion for law. While working in the law profession, Vera took night classes as an adult at both the University of Virginia and NC State University. After her divorce in 1987, and after raising two children, she was offered the position of Director of Lawyer Recruitment and Associate Development at McGuire Woods. During that time, Vera traveled to more than 25 top law schools in the U.S. to interview law students.

By 1993, at the age of forty-five, Vera started her own company (LPS). How did she achieve this goal? Vera stated:

"I worked three part time jobs, including one at a funeral home, trying to get my business off the ground. I succeeded!! Several years later, I opened offices in Richmond and Charlotte with nine permanent employees. My personal success afforded me the opportunity to speak at the NC and VA Bar Associations, and law schools, such as Vanderbilt, Duke, Campbell, Virginia, and William and Mary. Now I enjoy speaking at 'Career Day' at middle and high schools in the area on 'How to Start Your Own Business' and/or 'Why Go Into a Legal Profession.'"

Vera was featured on the cover of the September 2001 issue of Business Leader Magazine. The article entitled, "In Her Own Right," printed a quote as to what defines her as a person. It said she is: "Someone who maintains warm and genuine interpersonal relationships with other people (professional and personal), working in real and tangible ways to improve their quality of life." Vera said this quote still applies to her life today.

In 2000, Vera married David Wright, who she calls "THE Mr. Wright." Together they have four children - Darren Nix, Deana Byrd, Crystal Wright and Katie Immler. The couple also has eight grandchildren and on March 1, 2013, they became great-grandparents.

Vera hopes to retire in a few years. She plans on spending more time with her family and she wants to work with the elderly (individuals who live in homes and don't have a family). Vera also plans on assisting and advising women who would like to start and succeed in owning their own business.

The businesswoman isn't afraid of challenges. Vera will participate in the Ms. North Carolina Senior America 2013. She claimed, "I feel my experiences in life and my profession will help me, if given the opportunity, to reach out to other women and to all North Carolinians and show them how, with determination, obstacles can be managed. No matter what our age, we still have much to offer. Like I have done since childhood, if given the opportunity, I will give 100% to making this program and this title the best it can be."

When the legal recruiter isn't working, she enjoys playing golf. Vera and her husband love to shag dance each week at a local dance club. Her other interests include playing the piano, playing bridge with lifelong friends, and singing in a gospel trio with her sisters. Vera is a member of "The Southern Sisterhood," a group of ladies in the legal profession. They meet every year in Tybee Island, Georgia, and 2013 will be their 19th reunion. The group supports each other through illnesses, deaths, marriages, births of children and grandchildren. Vera also enjoys reading novels written by David Baldacci and John Grisham. She is a frequent visitor of 42nd St. Oyster Bar and Seafood Grill, a restaurant located in Raleigh, NC.

Vera's Successful Career Path and Tips for Legal Recruiters

Does Vera have a top memory from school? She said her best memory from school was playing recreational and high school basketball. Vera pointed out that she was selected Most Valuable Player while playing for her high school basketball team.

What does it take to become a successful legal recruiter? "It takes good judgment and integrity. You have to tell them [candidates and clients] the truth and be honest. The bottom line is if you are not honest, it's not going to work." Vera also noted that she enjoys matching her candidates with the right clients. She added, "I visit my clients' offices because it's important in order to make a perfect match. This is important…a lot of recruiters don't do that."

What motivated Vera to work as a legal recruiter? She said after becoming Director of Lawyer Recruitment and Associate Development with McGuire Woods, she thought she could do better than many recruiters she had worked with in the past.

The businesswoman discussed what she is known for professionally. "I am known for my strong network. I am also a very personable person who is genuine and has a warm personality."

Vera also discussed her strengths and one weakness as a recruiter. She emphasized that she is a personable and genuine person. The recruiter also acknowledged that her outgoing and confident nature is also a strength. As for her weakness, Vera admitted, "I take on so many things. I don't know how to say no."

What is Vera's advice to new recruiters? The candid recruiter stated, "I would advise them not to become a recruiter. The economy is bad, but if they decided to become a recruiter, they should find a mentor so that individual can direct you…so you know what to do and what not to do. Also, get to know your clients."

Considering her twenty years of experience in the legal recruiting industry, many readers may want to know where Vera sees the legal field in the next five years. "It changes every three to five years. In the last five years, law students haven't been able to find jobs. However, law students should go into the law because they are passionate about it, not because someone told them they should or because they have lawyers in their family. I believe the next three to five years will focus on corporate lawyers, but I just don't know [exactly] what will happen."

What does Vera look for to find the right fit? What makes a great candidate? "Once you get to know your clients and candidates, you can see if their personalities will mesh."
The recruiter also believes a candidate's experience will play a pivotal role when looking for the right fit.

In regards to what makes a great candidate, Vera asserted, "A candidate must be sincere, honest, and confident. Most of the time they can get a job, but they can't hee-haw around their resume. They have to be sincere and honest."

What is the businesswoman's recipe for a perfect match? "I don't have a recipe for a perfect match."

How does Vera process fear? She jokingly said, "I am only afraid of snakes."

How does she tackle obstacles? Vera explained that she prays a lot and she surrounds herself with family members. "I have a close knit family that's wonderful."

When asked if she learned something of value from her mistakes, Vera replied, "Absolutely. If I make a mistake, I will admit it because it helps me. People appreciate it when you admit your mistakes. I try not to make any in my profession."

Where does Vera derive her confidence? "Probably from my father and the good Lord above." She expressed that her father was the most inspiring individual in her life. "We grew up on a beef cattle and tobacco farm, and my father would always help other farmers."

Vera's Mentor, Professional Associations, Facing Obstacles and Favorite Quote

Does Vera have a mentor? "Fred Hutchison is an entrepreneur attorney who started his own firm. He sends me in-house clients."

Vera 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. She is also a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and was elected to the Board of Directors for 2013 as a Corporate Relations Chair. The organization is responsible for research and support for women business owners, including access to capital, use of technology, and business growth.

Has Vera faced any obstacles in her life? "I went through a divorce. I hate it and I didn't want to go through a divorce, but I prayed and I was surrounded with my friends and family."

The recruiter's favorite quote is "It's not what you do in life, but how you do it." Vera said the quote resonates with her "because no matter what you are doing, if you are doing it well…that's all that matters."

Motivation, a Rewarding Position and Goals

What motivates Vera to be a recruiter every day? "It's a challenge. I like to think that I can solve the problems and meet the challenges of my clients' needs."

Why does Vera find her position rewarding? "I think helping individuals find jobs is very rewarding. I have made a lot of friends and my network is huge. I really have a passion for the law and for helping people find jobs."

Does the shag dancer have goals? "In the next five years, I plan to retire and sell my business. I will spend more time with my family and will work with the elderly. I will visit people in nursing homes who don't have a family and I will help women with their businesses. I would also like to play more golf and travel. Playing golf in Hawaii would be nice and I hope to see the Masters in Augusta, GA."

Vera is looking forward to the Ms. North Carolina Senior America Pageant. The competition will take place on June 15, 2013, in Pinehurst, NC. Women who are 60 and older will participate in the "Age of Elegance" pageant. Candidates will have to write a paper on their philosophy of life, perform a talent, and take part in the interview process. What will Vera perform? She will be singing a medley being with Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" and ending with "This Land Is Your Land."
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published May 13, 2013

By Follow Me on
( 19 votes, average: 3.9 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.