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Gateway Legal Placements

published February 21, 2023

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( 14 votes, average: 3.9 out of 5)
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Personal Life

Gateway Legal Placements
Arthur Polott, Esq., is the Founder and Managing Director at Gateway Legal Placements, LLC, a search firm based in Washington, D.C. Gateway Legal Placements specializes in lawyers from all areas of practice and primarily focus on making permanent placements in Washington, D.C. The search firm has also made national and international placements in California; New York; Pennsylvania; Canada; Singapore and other locations. Arthur has placed associates, counsel, partners, and groups. His mission is to provide the highest consulting and legal search services to law firms, corporations, and individuals by matching the objectives and needs of firms and companies with the aspirations of top legal talent. According to Gateway Legal Placements' website, their guiding principles are professionalism, integrity, and responsiveness.

Prior to founding his company in 2007, Arthur was a litigation associate in the Commercial and Civil Litigation Practices at Boyar & Miller and Hirsch, Sheiness & Garcia, P.L.L.C., in Houston, TX. He was also certified to mediate Civil Law, Family Law, and EEOC issues. After practicing law, Arthur served as a legal placement consultant for more than seven years for Co-Counsel and its successor entities Ajilon Legal/Staffwise Legal. He was the winner of that company's local and national performance awards every year he was there.

Arthur was born in Moscow, Russia, and raised in Houston, TX. He received a B.A. with Honors in Government and Slavic Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. He also earned his J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, where he was the President of the Student Bar Association. Before entering private practice, Arthur clerked with Judge Lynn N. Hughes of the United States District Court in Houston and with the 157th Civil District Court. He speaks fluent Russian.

Arthur currently serves on the regional board of the Anti-Defamation League and is Vice President for Programming at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington. From 2005-08, he served on the Executive Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and he remains an active supporter of the organization. Arthur's speaking engagements include: Building Your Networking Toolkit presented to the Diversity Committee at Hogan Lovells ; Resume and Cover Letter Writing at the International Trademark Association Conference in Washington, DC; and Speed Networking at INTA in Dallas, Texas. He also has presented on resume writing and networking for the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund.

Arthur has been married for thirteen years and has two boys. When the legal recruiter isn't working, he enjoys coaching his older son's soccer team, traveling with his wife, and playing poker. Arthur's family enjoys sports and when not with friends they can be found cheering the boys' baseball, soccer, basketball and football teams and, of course, the local professional teams especially the Nationals.

Arthur's Successful Career Path and Tips for Legal Recruiters

What does it take to become a successful legal recruiter? Arthur said a successful legal recruiter is someone who is a perceptive listener and is honest with his/her clients. He also noted that a successful recruiter must be gently persistent yet respectful with everyone they hope to work with. "It's important to be consultative and not to 'sell,'" he added. "The less you try to convince someone the better – present the facts and be ready to answer questions and, if you've done your homework and established credibility, ask your audience to keep an open mind."

What motivated Arthur to become a recruiter? Arthur was practicing law in Houston when he met his wife who was living and practicing law in Washington, DC. As he considered relocating to the nation's capital he was talking to a headhunter and began exploring that profession. Arthur recognized that he enjoyed working with and helping people and found it rewarding to make matches and help others in their careers, "The change was very natural for me and I have been thriving ever since."

The businessman discussed what he is known for professionally. Arthur acknowledged that he is known for his understanding of the market, being well thought of by decision makers, his integrity and honesty and for his responsiveness.

So what is Arthur’s advice to new recruiters? "Always put your client first - be consultative; be objective as possible. You must recognize that for you it's 'just' a placement, but that for the parties you are bringing together that it is a critical life event." Arthur believes that one must invest the time to understand the client's objectives and, whenever possible, meet the people you work to better assess fit. Arthur added, "The cultural and substantive practice area fit is essential in order to have a successful long-term placement and you can't have that if you don't know the market or see how your clients and the attorneys you work with may fit together." He added that a recruiter has to preserve their credibility and shouldn't be afraid to say, "I don’t know." "If you're in it for the long-term people will appreciate and respect you for it," he said.

Considering his thirteen years of experience in the legal recruiting industry, many readers may want to know where Arthur sees the legal field in the next five years. "Over the next five years I expect the globalization of the economy to continue to spur law firm consolidation in effort to offer more services to existing clients and draw new business based on geographic reach. Conversely there will be many lawyers and smaller firms who will look to 'stick to their knitting' and offer expertise at smaller platforms and with greater billing rate flexibility than may be available at the large firms. Law firm clients will continue to guard their legal spend and increase in-house counsel numbers in effort to control costs. I expect that firms will look to grow their talent organically, through the ranks of summer hiring, and put off lateral associate hiring until there is a virtual guarantee of billable work. I also do not expect firms to elevate attorneys to partner-level without a compelling business reason, this suggests that pressure will continue to mount for senior associates and counsel level attorneys."

Where does he see the legal search field in the next five years? "The market is still trying figuring out what the 'new normal' is. Gone are the days of 'investment hires,' bringing someone in purely for their substantive skillset, law firms will make hiring decisions based on whether or not a business case exists. Law firms will rely on recruiters to present well-regarded lateral partner candidates who have healthy portables and synergistic practices. While technology will continue to connect people and businesses there will be a premium on the kind introductions that recruiters can facilitate. A reputable search firm with an understanding of the market, relationships with decision makers and an ability to communicate strengths of the parties and match cultures would be able to penetrate the 'noise' of non-effective submissions."

What does Arthur look for to find the right fit? What makes a great candidate? "At the associate level the first thing you look for is substantive skillset and academic achievement. Then you look to the intangibles such as confidence, ability to take on responsibility and facility to interact with clients and colleagues. At the partner level the conversation begins with a portable book of business. The evaluation then turns to the cross-selling of work, ability to get along with colleagues, issues of conflicts and billing rates, reputation and a host of other considerations."

Does Arthur have a recipe for a perfect match? "The facilitation of the 'perfect match' begins with a good deal of homework. Knowing what my clients are looking for, understanding what may pull or push an attorney to consider an exploratory conversation, and encouraging the parties to have a conversation. Once you get smart people in the room a recruiter's job is to gather information from the parties, relay information to the principals and make sure signals do not get crossed, and make sure that momentum is not lost. When the fit is particularly good the recruiter needs to know to stay out of the way."

When the businessman was asked how he tackles obstacles, he replied, "It of course depends on the 'obstacle,' but if mutual respect exists then good faith will follow and then being direct is the best way to address most issues and preserve the relationship."

Where does Arthur derive his confidence? He explained that he immigrated to America from Russia as a boy. His father didn't speak English when his family came to the United States and although Arthur's father had a Ph.D. and seven engineering patents in Russia, he was only able to get a menial job at a community college in Chicago. He took English classes at that college and quickly found work in his field. A few years later, in the 1980s, the economy took a bad turn and his father had to change careers. Despite a thick accent Arthur's father built a good career as a financial planner. "My Dad succeeded because his clients valued his honesty and integrity, because he was passionate about helping others, and because he brought a sophisticated approach to the process. I don't think confidence ever entered into his thinking -- quitting was never an option. My parents taught me that if you're representing someone you have a job to do and if you have a job to do, you do it with enthusiasm and to the best of your ability."

Arthur's Mentors and Mentoring Others, Facing Obstacles, Professional Associations and His Passions

Does Arthur have a mentor? Is he a mentor? Although Arthur doesn't have a formal mentor he maintains strong ties with industry colleagues thru the National Association of Legal Search Consultants (NALSC) and eagerly learns from others in and out of the legal industry. Although he doesn't have a mentor-mentee relationship Arthur advises and supports several legal recruiters who seek his guidance.

Has he faced any obstacles? "I don't focus on obstacles. I do my job to the best of my ability, and I don't get down when people don't see things the way I do."

Does Arthur hold a membership with any professional associations? He is a member of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants (NALSC), a voluntary organization of legal recruiters that adhere to the highest ethical standards in the profession.

Is Arthur passionate about any causes? Arthur is very involved in his community. He explained that when his family immigrated to the United States they received assistance from the community. He never forgot those gestures and support, and, together with his wife Anita support many causes with their philanthropy and with their time. Arthur is on the Executive Board of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, is on the Regional Board of the Anti-Defamation League, and very active with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. Arthur and Anita are Co-Chairing the Dinner of Champions for the second year in a row. This fundraiser supports an inclusion program at a local camp, where children with all manner of disabilities get a full day camp experience alongside typically developing children. Typically developing kids become more empathetic and sensitive to the challenges that some of their camp friends face. And children in the inclusion program benefit from the opportunity to play and learn alongside typically developing campers. "It's awesome to see what's possible when diversity is promoted and biases and fear are shaken! My boys are 'typically developing' and they are definitely better people for being exposed to the children with special needs. The benefits of simply playing alongside differently-able kids makes an incredible impact on all the campers and powerful impact on their young adult counselors!"

Motivation, Favorite Quote, a Rewarding Position and Arthur's Goals

What motivates Arthur to be a recruiter everyday? "I enjoy serving people who entrust me to help them in their careers and take to heart the trust a law firm and corporate client may place in me when giving me an exclusive search to work."

Is there a quote that resonates with you? "We judge ourselves by what we are capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have done." Arthur said the quote holds meaning because he has credibility only through the introductions he facilitates. "It reminds me that success and the ability to represent your clients is limited by the trust and credibility you maintain so one should be careful how they spend that currency as they reach for their goals."

Why does the recruiter find his position rewarding? "I enjoy connecting with and advocating for people and genuinely enjoy putting people together. It's incredibly rewarding to help someone with their career aspirations. The important decisions I help facilitate resonate not only with people's professional, but also root deeply with their personal lives."

Does Arthur have goals? "Professionally, I'd like to help orchestrate a merger and to open the DC office of an out of state firm. Personally, I want to continue to be there for my family and continue to give back to the community. I also have a lengthy bucket list, but that's another conversation."

published February 21, 2023

By Follow Me on
( 14 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.