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Victoria Harris has practiced as a legal recruiter in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. As a partner at Houser Martin Morris, she has led the legal division of the firm since 1992. Over the years, Ms. Harris has recruited many hundreds of attorneys, partners, associates, mergers, and practice groups - for regional and national law firms. She also has had an extraordinary record of successful placements in-house - from Corporate Counsel (Nintendo, Microsoft, PACCAR, Expedia, Amazon, F-5 Networks, Boeing, Big Fish Games etc.) to General Counsel (Aquantive, Concur, Symetra, Puget Sound Energy, Pokemon, Green Diamond Resources, Weyerhaeuser etc.).
Ms. Harris was born in Bakersfield, California, but, as a Navy brat, she grew up in various parts of the United States and even spent a few years overseas in Yokusuka, Japan. She ended up in the Seattle area when she was accepted to the University of Washington as an out of state student from Wisconsin. Ms. Harris graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in History. Having lived all over the world, she particularly enjoyed the Pacific Northwest and decided to stay after graduation from college. While she substitute taught in the local high schools, Ms. Harris decided to learn a skill and become a Court Reporter. Although she built a successful freelance court reporting business, she 'absolutely hated it.' Ms. Harris then tried clerking and court reporting for a Superior Court Judge. After five years working with the Judge, he encouraged her to go to law school.
Although the plan was to leave her County job and attend law school, those plans changed with an unexpected, high risk, but happily-anticipated pregnancy. While bed-ridden and home with her baby, Ms. Harris used the time to do some career life planning work. Through a course at her local community college, she was able to figure out exactly what she wanted to do and what type of profession she needed to be happy and fulfilled.
Today, Ms. Harris' longstanding relationships in the legal community, dedicated legal research team and extensive proprietary database combined with her affiliate relationships with search firms throughout the U.S. have helped establish her as a top-tier legal recruiter in the Pacific Northwest. A cornerstone of Ms. Harris' practice is making long-term successful matches, which satisfy both the career objectives of her candidates and the legal needs of her clients.
As a member of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants (NALSC), which upholds the highest standards in the legal search industry, Ms. Harris' is dedicated to providing fair, confidential, and ethical treatment of her clients and attorney candidates.
When asked about her hobbies and activities, Ms. Harris stated:
"Now that I'm no longer in the 'single mom running a business role,' and just running a business, I have had more time for volunteer work and to stay connected with family and friends. I enjoy reading historical biographies and fiction. My most recently read novel is Boys in the Boat and I am currently reading a biography about Ulysses S. Grant. For many years I have been passionate about my yoga practice and clothing design. Two years ago I married a wonderful guy from San Francisco who has moved to Seattle. We enjoy time with children and grandchildren and my 93-year-old Mom who still lives independently but very close by."
Ms. Harris' Successful Career Path and Her Goals
How did Ms. Harris find legal recruiting? She noted:
"I knew from my career life planning work that I was good at sales. I hadn't considered myself a sales person but I came to recognize that in all my past positions I had built a successful business and forged long-term relationships. I happened to be on a airplane reading Working Women's Magazine and saw an article about a legal search firm in Washington D.C. called Finn & Schneider. I called Jackie Finn to talk to her about the legal recruiting business. That was nearly 25 years ago. My conversation with Jackie helped me to focus on what I intended to do. I joined an executive search firm to learn the business and start to develop a legal recruiting practice in the Pacific Northwest (which was virtually non-existent at the time). I knew from Day 1 that I had found the right profession as it hit on all aspects of my strengths and interests. To this day, my time at work just whizzes by. I love what I do and had I not become a single Mom, I probably would have ended up working too much!"
What makes a truly successful recruiter?
"As mentioned above, recruiting is sales and sales is fostering strong relationships. Rainmaking in a recruiting practice is similar to building client relationships in a law firm. In recruiting, you are developing clients while marketing opportunities to candidates. Self-esteem and happiness are tied into one's work, so building trust and figuring out what motivates people are key attributes of a successful recruiter. The best candidates usually are not 'applicants' but are relatively happy in their current positions. Our job is to attract them to our client opportunity. That's why we are hired and why we are called 'headhunters.' That is the art of recruiting. A successful recruiter is a good listener, self-motivated, intuitive, and extremely patient. I hope I am known professionally for my integrity and making good long-term matches for both clients and candidates. Much of my work is generated from repeat business and referrals from satisfied clients and candidates. As a member of the NALSC, I am committed to upholding the highest standards in the legal search industry."
What to Expect When Working with Ms. Harris
One candidate said, "It's hard to believe it has been a year and I wanted to again thank you for helping me find my place at Boeing Legal. I absolutely love my job and my colleagues are fabulous…"
Another candidate claimed:
"I am writing to express my gratitude and admiration for your excellent work in recently placing me in my new law firm. Through the process, it became clear to me that your experience has made you adept at matching the correct job with the correct person. I've landed the perfect job for my background and aspirations and the people here are a perfect fit for my personality. You exhibited a knowledge of the market, interpersonal skills, discretion, and exceptional judgment. Thank you for making it happen!"
From a client:
"Victoria, we want to express our sincere appreciation for your efforts in 2013 in bringing us Devin, Amy, Zach, Ali and Bree. We recognize that your knowledge of Weyerhaeuser, its law department and the culture we operate within has helped you find for us these great additions to our team. We appreciate your guidance and insight as we navigated the process of establishing a profile for the position and whittling the candidates down to these five individuals and recognize the hard work you expended in getting us to here."
Victoria's Future Goals
"I intend to keep recruiting as long as I continue to enjoy my clients and candidates. As far as the future of the legal recruiting industry, over the past 22 years I have seen the pendulum swing back and forth. When one area of legal practice is hot, another area is not. Successful recruiters are flexible and adapt to the needs of their clients as their clients adapt to the ever-changing marketplace."
LawCrossing has the most listings of any job board I have used. It's actually a great site. The website had a lot of detail. It’s nice that you don't have to go through a recruiter if you don't want to. You can actually contact the law firm directly for the positions listed. LawCrossing had a ton of great features.