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Joseph E. Ankus, Esq. is the President of Ankus Consulting, Inc., a legal recruiting firm based in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Ankus Consulting specializes in placing commercial attorneys in many leading law firms as well as public and private corporations in South Florida. He also specializes in training legal recruiters on a national basis and is considered the industry's top permanent legal recruiting trainer. Prior to becoming a recruiter, Joe was a corporate securities and bankruptcy associate for Dechert, LLP and was a creditor's rights and bankruptcy associate for Holland & Knight, LLP. From 1991-1995, Joe worked as a legal recruiter with another respected Florida search firm before establishing his own firm in 1996.
Joe was born and raised in Miami Beach, FL. He graduated with a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Communications and a minor in Marketing (Wharton) from the University of Pennsylvania. Joe also earned his J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law, with honors, where he served as a Senior Student Works Editor of the Florida Law Review.
When he isn't working, he loves to swim and dive and is a real life underwater treasure hunter. He is also a frequent visitor of Miami's La Carreta, an authentic Cuban restaurant, where he happily drinks Cuban coffee and eats real Cuban sandwiches.
Joe's Successful Career Path and Tips for Legal Recruiters
Does Joe have a top memory from school? Joe's top memory from law school was the day he graded onto the Law Review. Although he only went out twice during his first semester, he said that "while it was the hardest thing I did academically, it paid off handsomely."
Did Joe receive any awards, scholarships or honors at law school? Joe was the proud recipient of the University of Florida JMBA Award - one of the highest awards given to a law student by a student organization. He also earned a place on the Dean's List every semester of law school as well as earning an American Jurisprudence Award in Commercial Paper.
What does it take to become a successful legal recruiter? "For the past twenty plus years, I learned that a legal recruiter must have the ability to listen. Listening is by far the key. You have understand your clients and candidates' needs and the only way to do it is by hearing what they say."
Joe also discussed what he is known for professionally. "People appreciate my in-depth knowledge of the legal market in South Florida. Candidates also appreciate my honesty when I tell them the reality of the legal market throughout the recruiting process. I don't sugarcoat things and I find that helps manage everyone's expectations."
He also discussed his strengths and one weakness as a recruiter. "I am a very active listener and I try to always follow through with what I say. I try not to make promises I can't keep. I try to under promise and over deliver for my candidates and clients." As for his weakness, he pointed out, "In recruiting, it's easy to get distracted when three other new projects suddenly arrive on your desk and it's hard to re-focus your efforts in a short period of time. I'm getting better at it but still have work to do to perfect multi-tasking."
So what is Joe's advice to new recruiters? "1) Be committed to working hard and smart. 2) You must understand recruiting is a contact sport. You must actively reach out to candidates and clients and can't wait for them to reach out to you. 3) If legal recruiters treat our profession as a passive business, they will generate no income and make no placements. 4) Legal recruiters are responsible for what occurs at their desk. An effective recruiter is a catalyst for change but has to take affirmative steps to make things happen."
Considering his twenty-two years of experience in the legal recruiting industry, many readers may be wondering where Joe sees the legal field in the next five years. "There will always be a need for top quality lawyers, but there is almost no need or demand for new graduates. Unfortunately, law schools are producing too many students and they are left in significant debt with no realistic job opportunities for the foreseeable future. It saddens me to say it but, in my opinion, it's the absolute truth."
What makes a great candidate? "Exceptional academic and practical skills. It also helps when a candidate shares their goals with me and maintains an open dialogue about their changing needs and requirements."
Does Joe have a recipe for the perfect match? He said he didn't have a cookie cutter recipe for the perfect match because no candidate and client are identical. Joe feels each candidate and client need to be evaluated individually and he takes the time necessary to accomplish what needs to be done to produce the correct match.
How does the recruiter process fear? "Fear is endemic in the legal recruiting field. Recruiters are afraid of rejection, but you have to go through it and not around it. I acknowledge fear and I know it exists. I tackle it head on. You are not doing your job if you are not working outside your comfort zone."
When asked if he learned something of value from his mistakes, Joe replied, "I always learn from my mistakes and the trick is not to repeat them. I make less now than I did when I started, but no one is immune from error!"
What motivates Joe to be a recruiter every day? "I have a genuine desire to make placements that benefit my clients and my candidates."
Where does the University of Penn alumnus derive his confidence? "I have a well centered moral compass. It's not all about making money but more about trying to do the right thing for your clients and candidates. If you serve them well, you will be rewarded for your efforts."
Non Profit Organizations and Professional Associations
Joe is the current Executive Director of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants (NALSC), a voluntary nationwide organization of 160+ legal recruiting firms who adhere to the highest ethical standards in the profession. He is also a member of the Florida Bar.
How Joe Eats a Philly Cheese Steak, Most Inspiring Influence, Favorite Quote and Goals
Since Joe attended University of Pennsylvania, he frequently devoured the world famous Philly cheese steak. His favorite?- "I like eating an onion cheese steak with a dash of salt and pepper. Add a soda and a bag of chips and I'm in heaven."
Joe said his late father was the most inspiring individual in his life. Although his father suffered from polio and was not expected to survive past childhood, he overcame his illness, graduated second in his law school class, raised a family and ran a successful law practice. Joe said his father was his primary role model and mentor and was an irreplaceable figure in his life. "I miss him every day but his lessons and good works stay with me."
Joe's favorite quote is "Silence is golden." He explained that the quote resonates with him because it emphasizes listening rather than speaking - a quality essential to being a successful recruiter.
Does the Floridian have goals? "Personally, my first two priorities are to be happy and healthy. Professionally, I want to continue to serve my clients and candidates as best as I can for as long as I can and continue to train recruiters who want to improve their legal recruiting skills."
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