Andrew Wilcox owns and runs Wilcox and Hackett, LLC, a legal search and consulting firm with offices in Atlanta and Tallahassee. He also runs a legal blog at http://lawfirmrainmaker.blogspot.com. Wilcox and Hackett focuses on placing highly qualified individuals with the right firm every time. The firm accomplishes this by matching a candidate's firm experience, work ethic, and academic excellence with the type of firm that fits their needs, not only as a lawyer, but also as a person. Wilcox and Hackett believe that matching the right candidate with the right culture creates success for everyone. In addition, they work with firms by assisting them through the merger process of either a complete firm merger or a practice group. Wilcox and Hackett also provide client development training to members of firms and assist them with their overall marketing plan.
In 1996, Andrew began his experience with client development as a sales representative for a Fortune 500 company. He worked his way up to Senior Sales Director for the Southeast. While working as a sales representative, Andrew implemented a process that grew his region's sales by an average of fifty-seven percent per year. He went on to Thomson West, where he received the President's Club Award for two consecutive years as the only small market manager.
Andrew held corporate sales and sales management positions, where he has won individual awards as top revenue producer and Presidents Club. As Vice President of Sales and Sales Director, he managed special projects such as implementing reporting systems and sales measurement, opening new sales regions, and designing incentive and compensation programs.
Since 2004, Andrew has been working with law firms and Fortune 500 companies to utilize a sales and development process, training more than three thousand people. He has worked with Thomson West, Aspen Tech, VWR International, Rockwell Automation, IBM, and Business Objects.
Andrew established Wilcox and Hackett in 2004. For the past ten years, he has worked with firms in the AM Law Top 5 as well as small law firms. During this time, Andrew has helped place associates and shareholders. He has also worked extensively on firm mergers. Andrew specializes in placing partners and groups in the Southeast. However, he has also made national and international placements in New York; Washington, D.C.; Ireland; London; Paris; Singapore and many other locations.
Andrew was born and raised in Plantation, FL. He earned his MBA from Florida State University (FSU). Andrew also received a B.S. in Marketing and minored in International Business while attending FSU. Smaller schools had offered him baseball scholarships, but he intended to enroll at FSU. Andrew has been married for thirteen years and he has two daughters.
When he isn't working, Andrew enjoys hiking, biking, sailing, baseball, football, and building projects. He is also an avid FSU Seminoles fan. Andrew is a frequent visitor of Miami's Shula's Steak House and Fort Lauderdale's LaSpada's and Southport Raw Bar. His favorite authors include Carl Hiaasen, Malcolm T. Gladwell, and Bill Burrows.
Andrew's Successful Career Path and Tips for Legal Recruiters
Does Andrew have a top memory from school? "The day that I decided to move away and go to FSU. I was paying my way through school and living at home. It was a crossroads and very scary, but I knew it was time to move away. It was the best decision that I ever made. Looking back, I don't know how I came to that decision in my life as a 21 year old."
What does it take to become a successful legal recruiter? "To be a successful legal recruiter, you must be patient, curious,and people have to trust you. People are trusting you with their livelihood in many cases. I take that very seriously." When asked how does he embody these characteristics personally and professionally,Andrew replied, "By treating candidates the way that I would want to be treated. By providing them value."
Did Andrew transition into working as a recruiter? He claimed:
"Yes. I worked as the local Westlaw rep and had a lot of success. I always wanted to run my own business and within a few weeks I had a recruiter friend tell me how great I would be at it. Two law firms asked if I knew of associates that would be a good fit, and I had a legal recruiter offer to mentor me. Leap and the net will appear. I have loved it ever since."What motivated him to work as a recruiter? "I wanted to answer to myself. I wanted to be my own boss."
What advice would Andrew give to someone who's brand-new to his position? He asserted:
"John Kennedy has a great quote when asked if he would recommend being president.With a smirk, he said that he wouldn't recommend it. Other than that, legal recruiters must realize that it takes a while to build relationships and a pipeline. You may not make a dime for 6-9 months. I just placed an attorney that I started talking with 7 years ago. If you try to force candidates into a wrong opportunity you will never hear from them again. Realize that 99% of this job is timing."What information did he wish he had when he started out as a legal recruiter? Andrew noted that legal recruiters should focus in an area they would like to specialize in rather than spreading themselves thin by trying to do everything. He is currently placing partners and groups.
What's one of the things that Andrew finds most challenging about his job? "Finding and engaging with good candidates who are willing to engage in the process." Andrew said he wishes candidates would provide him with valuable information so he could accurately evaluate their situation and help place them in a suitable position.
What would he say is the most important thing that he has learned as a legal recruiter? Andrew emphasized that the most important values he has learned in the legal search field are to be honest and build trust with his candidates and clients.
What is Andrew known for professionally? "I am thorough, professional, confidential, and I bring opportunities that are not brought by every other recruiter calling a candidate."
What does he look for to find the right fit? Andrew stated:
"I look for someone that is generally happy, but is looking for a couple of things to enhance their career. If someone is really unhappy, it's a red flag to me and will be to a firm. Also, I look for candidates that have a business plan. I can work with anyone with any level of book of business if they have a plan or are working towards one. Basically, it should be someone who will work and play well with others. A lot of the firms that I work with ask me if they will like the person."Andrew discussed his strengths and one weakness as a recruiter. "My strength is my focus on partners and groups in a geographic area. It's a niche. I don't proclaim to do everything for everyone. My weakness would be resources. I hear of the infrastructure of large international search firms and that provides capabilities that some firms and attorneys want."
Since he has been operating his business for ten years, many readers may want to know where Andrew sees the legal recruiting field in the next five years. He acknowledged that legal recruiters need to do a better job of finding out what law firms are looking for both tactically and strategically. Recruiters must bring in candidates that law firms don't have.
Where does Andrew see the legal field in the next five years? He admitted:
"Attorneys have so much information at their fingertips. When I'm talking with them about a firm they go online at the same time and look up practices, leaders, locations. Selling websites to law firms in the early 2000's was an early adopter mentality.Now everyone is comfortable online. Legal research has been put in a Google format. I see myself meeting attorneys with opportunities that they can't normally find. Also, the days of walking across the street for 20-50k more in salary are gone. Attorneys are going to have to adjust to a more incentive based model."How does the businessman process fear? "I turned my life over to the Lord years ago. I don't really fear anything. If something is to happen it's not in my hands."
How does Andrew tackle obstacles? "I break them into smaller components and deal with them one at a time."
What motivates him to be a legal recruiter every day? "Doing good work. It's simple. Doing good work means that I have helped an attorney better their career which makes them happier. That means they are happier with their family, more fulfilled financially, and doing work that excites them. If I listen to their needs and goals and can help get them that, the money takes care of itself."
Has Andrew learned something of value from his mistakes? "I have two columns on a large whiteboard in my office. One is a column of things that I did well so that I can replicate, the other column is mistakes so that I don't repeat them."
Where does he derive his confidence? "Through a lot of hard work and being my toughest critic."
Andrew's Mentors and Mentoring Others, Coping with Obstacles and Non-profit Organizations
Does Andrew have a mentor? Is he a mentor? "Mentors are huge. I try to have mentors 10-20 years older and I mentor others that are 10-20 years younger. I had a couple of guys see something in me when no one else did and it made a huge difference. National Mentor Month is February."
Has he faced any obstacles in his life? How did Andrew get through his obstacles? "I have faced lots of obstacles. I got through them with a good attitude and used them as learning opportunities. 99% of people quit when faced with a little adversity. It doesn't take much more to push past it, but you have to be successful."
Does Andrew work with any non-profit organizations? He said he is very active as a Deacon at his church. Although Andrew has participated on mission trips, he currently focuses on small communities in the United States. He is on the Tallahassee Sports Council Board and he is involved with the Senior Outreach County Board, where he helps with senior Olympics as well as other senior activities. Andrew oversees senior homebound care, which provides the elderly with transportation to their doctor appointments if they are not being seen by a physician or nurse at home. He also participates at the Florida Baptist Children's Home. This organization takes care of children whose parents abuse drugs.
Does he admire any non-profits or members of a non-profit? "I had a group that returned from India and discussed the tragedy of human trafficking, and you would think that these problems are 3rd world, but they happen in every city. To hear stories of kids being taken and sold into slavery is heartbreaking. Organizations that take that on are doing God's work."
Favorite Quote, Being the Best Father and Andrew's Goals
Andrew's favorite quote can be found in Proverbs 4:5-7. He stated, "It's about getting wisdom and understanding, seeking it. I pray for two things every day, wisdom and perspective."
Who has the most inspiring influence upon him? "My kids. Being raised by a single mom, I realize that being a dad is the most important job in the world that I can ever have. They learn by what is caught more than taught. I want them to catch me at my best, and set the bar rather high for when the guys start courting."
Does Andrew have goals? He acknowledged:
"Every year I spend a day alone working on my goals. I review the previous year to see how well I did and look for areas of improvement. I break goals into a three legged stool. If I fail in any one area, it really hurts the others. Then I break those down into deliverables: Faith involves daily prayer and devotional time with family. Health involves a workout schedule, checkups, eating right. Business involves how many attorneys and groups I would like to place and working to accomplish that."