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Miller Sabino & Lee Legal Placement Services

published February 18, 2014

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( 17 votes, average: 3.9 out of 5)
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Miller Sabino & Lee Legal Placement Services
Professional Overview

Stacy Miller Azcarate, Esq. is the founder Miller Sabino & Lee (MSL), an award winning legal search firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For fifteen years, MSL has provided attorneys to a wide range of clients including companies and local, national and international law firms. They are devoted to finding their clients the best attorneys to fill their needs and to locating opportunities for candidates that suit their employment preferences, lifestyles, and long-term career goals. In 2012, they were voted into the Recorder Hall of Fame for Best Legal Recruiting Company. MSL was voted the number one Legal Recruiting Company in the Recorder "Best Of" Poll from 2009 through 2011. In 2007 and 2008 they were voted the number two Legal Recruiting Company in the Recorder "Best Of" Poll.

Although MSL's primary client base is in Northern California's Bay Area, they have provided recruiting services to clients in New York, Chicago, Boston, Southern California, Europe and Asia. Their services are prompt, personal and strictly confidential. MSL's clients are only offered information concerning thoroughly screened candidates that precisely meet their hiring needs. MSL provides candidates with a wealth of information about prospective law firms and companies acquired from years of research and experience recruiting in the Bay Area legal marketplace allowing candidates the ability to make strategic decisions about their legal careers.

A California native, Stacy was raised in both Southern and Northern California. She earned her B.A. in English and American Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she wrote her honors thesis on "Images of Women in Holocaust Literature." Stacy also earned her J.D. from The University of San Francisco School of Law. During law school, she was a directed research assistant for the development of The Center for Law and Policy where she assisted in rewriting the Cambodian Civil Code, a member of the Moot Court Board, and she spent a summer clerking for the International Courts in The Hague. Stacy has worked and traveled extensively abroad in both the legal and health fields. She speaks French and Spanish.

Prior to establishing MSL in 1999, Stacy practiced corporate and real estate law with a boutique firm in downtown San Francisco. After leaving the practice of law, Stacy was the Executive Director of Special Counsel's Northern California offices. During her tenure with Special Counsel, Stacy opened the Palo Alto office and managed both the San Francisco and Palo Alto offices.

As a preeminent advisor and recruiter in the legal placement field, Stacy specializes in the placement of practice groups and partners with law firms nationwide. She focuses on law firm mergers, in house legal placement, and provides consulting services for law firms and in house legal departments. Stacy is also well known for developing and implementing strategic growth plans for law firms.

She frequently gives presentations and lectures on professional development, legal recruiting, and the business of the legal profession. Stacy has written articles that have appeared in The Recorder, The Daily Journal, and California Lawyer Magazine. She has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, The Recorder, The Daily Journal,, The Wall Street Journal Blog, and Glass

Stacy is a member of the American Bar Association and the California Bar. She serves on several boards including the University of San Francisco Women Lawyer's Council, the Governor's Board of the USF School of Law and is the immediate Past President of the Lawyers' Club of San Francisco. She is also a board member of the Recorder Publisher's Advisory Board and the Jack and Buena Foundation.

When she isn't working, Stacy spends time with her husband and son. She enjoys politics, yoga, fashion, running, literature, surfing, and traveling. Her favorite city is Sydney, Australia. When looking for a great meal she heads to Larkspur's Farmshop. As an avid reader, she is currently enjoying the works of Alice Munro. Her favorite classic is Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird because "who doesn't want to be Scout?"

Stacy's Successful Career Path and Tips for Legal Recruiters

While in law school Stacy was a directed research assistant for the development of The Center for Law and Policy and assisted in rewriting the Cambodian Civil Code. Stacy found the project fascinating as it was unprecedented for a law student to have the opportunity to actually draft and create prospective law. This project afforded her the opportunity to rewrite the real estate section of the Cambodian Civil Code, which included overhauling the rules surrounding the transfer of title and ownership of property. As a part of the project she also developed a judicial training program to train the judges on how to implement the new provisions of the code.

She spent her second summer in law school clerking for the International Courts in The Hague. Stacy noted that this was an incredible experience learning about international crime. She has the utmost respect for the numerous people she met there. "They work tirelessly everyday with oftentimes gruesome and brutal subject matter and dedicate their lives to the pursuit of human rights and justice."

Stacy found impressive faculty, a rigorous legal education and true sense of community at USF School of Law. She believes this sense of community continues well after law school and creates a tight knit and impressive alumni association that remains actively engaged with the law school. USF really strives to train its students to "lawyer" from the very beginning of their careers. They graduate actually knowing how to practice.

What does it take to become a successful legal recruiter? Stacy believes a successful legal recruiter must provide their clients and candidates with the best opportunities, strict confidentiality and know the legal market inside and out. She believes recruiters thrive in this industry if they are tenacious, motivated, curious and organized. A good recruiter must also be a people person and a good listener so they can really get to know each client and candidates' needs.

What motivates Stacy to work as a recruiter every day? "I really enjoy all of the interesting, smart people I meet. Over the course of sixteen and a half years as a legal recruiter I've met people from every background at all levels in their careers. I also love that there isn't a typical day in the office and I learn something new everyday. The legal industry is constantly changing, which makes it exciting and interesting."

What advice would she give to someone who's brand-new to her position? "Recruiters can't be afraid of the phone. Cold calling prospective candidates is a part of the job and you have to put yourself out there. If you want the phone to ring you have to create that opportunity by reaching out and making calls. You have to be self motivated and not afraid of rejection-you cannot take it personally."

What information does Stacy wish she had when first starting out? "You can't help every candidate that comes your way. You have to be able to tell them "no" and manage expectations. It is difficult, but that's something you learn over time."

What's one of the things that she finds most challenging about her job? Although Stacy is efficient with her time, sometimes she wishes she had more than 24 hours in a day. She has a strict rule that she never leaves the office without her "to do" list completed. "I want to be sure I am providing my candidates and clients with the best service possible."

What would Stacy say is the most important thing that she learned as a legal recruiter? "You have to set limits, boundaries, and manage your candidates' expectations. You have to learn how to be honest and clear if you don't have an opportunity for a candidate."

What is she known for professionally? Stacy believes her clients and candidates know she is hard working, reliable, straightforward, ethical and innovative. Stacy added, "I will not try to sell a candidate to my clients that I do not think is a fit, not will I try to convince a candidate to pursue and opportunity I do not think is right for them."

What does Stacy look for to find the right fit? What makes a great candidate? She pointed out that her candidates' work style and values have to be aligned with those of her client in order to make the right placement. "I make sure that my candidates go into positions that further their long-term objectives and ideally they are the 'missing piece' for my clients in building out or spearheading a team."

In regards to what makes a great candidate, Stacy claimed, "A great candidate is someone who is motivated and has a clear sense of what they want to do. They are able to articulate the factors motivating them to make a move which really focuses the approach to the market and allows us to make 'surgical' strategic moves."

Does she have a recipe for a perfect match? "They obviously have to meet the criteria for the opportunity: level of experience, area of practice, background and education, bar admissions, billing rates, book of business (in law firms) and clearing conflicts. However, there is no specific recipe for finding that cultural or personality fit--although a good sense of humor always helps! I think if they are dedicated to their profession and work well with others it shows."

Since Stacy has been operating her business for fifteen years, many readers may want to know where she sees the legal field in the next five years. "There will be increased globalization of law firms and, as a result, more consolidation and mergers in the law firm market. On the in house side companies will continue to expand their in-house legal departments and implement systems to track efficiency and monetization of in house legal departments. As a result, the business of law firms and other outside legal services will continue to evolve and be streamlined."

How does the businesswoman process fear? Stacy candidly stated, "I think I must just bury it and carry on. I really don't have the patience for it and it helps that I don't tend to be a fearful person." The adventurous recruiter has skydived and traveled solo around the world to places in hindsight she "probably shouldn't have gone to alone including Nepal, India, Thailand, Tibet, Greece and Turkey."

How does Stacy tackle obstacles? "I don't give up and I am creative with solutions. I am also persistent. During the downturn I was always able to find clients who were hiring candidates and keep closing deals."

Does she learn something of value from her mistakes? "I do, but a few times I have had to make mistakes twice before I really learned everything I could from them!"

Where does Stacy derive her confidence? She noted that her parents always supported and encouraged her to accomplish whatever she wanted to do. "My parents didn't place a lot of pressure on me, but they encouraged me to explore and to be whatever I wanted to be."

Non-Profit Organizations, Mentoring People, and Being Inspired By Others

Stacy serves on the boards of several non-profits and is dedicated to educational causes. She is a board member of the Jack and Buena Foundation, which supports and runs a wilderness oriented summer camp in the Sierra Nevada. The camp is dedicated to developing a diverse camper base form all socio economic backgrounds and provides scholarships to a large number of campers to attend the camp. Stacy is also involved with 826 Valencia, an organization based in San Francisco, which is dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their writing skills. The organization also helps teachers get their students excited about writing.

Does she consider herself a mentor? Stacy mentors students at the USF School of Law and is the most senior member of The Board of Governor's of the USF School of Law. She is also always happy to mentor individuals asking for advice on whether they should transition into becoming a legal recruiter.

Who has inspired Stacy? She said her husband is that person who somehow motivates people around him to be the best that they can be. "I remember thinking this person makes me want to be the best version of myself possible when I met him." Stacy also loves meeting all sorts of interesting lawyers in her job who inspire her in many different ways. "There are these great lawyers out there who are whip smart, dedicated and focused to their practices while somehow finding the time to be active agents of positive change in their larger communities."

Favorite Quotes, A Rewarding Position and Stacy's Goals

Stacy's favorite quote is by Dr. Seuss: "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." Another quote that moves her is "Love what you do and it won't feel like a job."

Does she find her work rewarding? "Yes. I love it. It doesn't feel like a job to me."

Does the Californian have goals? "I've travelled all over the world, but there are still a few places on my list I have not been and at some point I want to take a year off to sail around the world."

What to Expect When Working with Stacy

A regional managing partner at an Am Law 100 firm acknowledged:
"Stacy understood the transition I was about to make by taking my local practice to a large international firm would be significant. She was a tremendous help in maneuvering the process and staying on top of everything from scheduling, developing a business plan, and strategizing. Without her diligence and creativity, I would not be where I am today."
A director of an IP, Fortune 500 Company stated, "Stacy was always available and up front. She was very realistic about my options and straightforward. I appreciated her candor immensely and landed a great position with a good tech company as a result of her efforts."

A practice group leader at a leading regional law firm noted, "Stacy really took the time to listen to my career goals and analyze my practice. She presented me with very specifically tailored opportunities and assisted me in landing a terrific position at a wonderful firm. Now I am a client and she does most of our firm's ?Bay Area recruiting."

See San Francisco legal recruiter ranking on LawCrossing.

published February 18, 2014

By Follow Me on
( 17 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.