President and Founder Nancy Newman Discusses Her Successful Legal Search Practice

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President and Founder Nancy Newman
Professional Overview

Nancy L. Newman is the president and founder of Newman Hawkins Legal Search, a leading legal recruiting firm based in Michigan. She specializes in the placement of attorneys in-house at the staff counsel and General Counsel levels, as well as in leading law firms at both the associate and partner levels. The firm places attorneys with law firms and corporations located exclusively in the state of Michigan. Newman Hawkins also handles acquisitions of practice groups and law firms. Additionally, Newman Hawkins provides high-level contract and staffing positions.



Prior to establishing Newman Hawkins, Ms. Newman served as an associate at Schlussel Lifton Simon Rands Galvin & Jackier from 1986 to 1989. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and has been a member of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants since 1989. Newman Hawkins is associated with Phyllis Hawkins & Associates in Phoenix, Arizona. Both firms' businesses are conducted with the highest ethical standards, and no resume is accepted for a client without the candidate's consent.

Ms. Newman was born and raised in Michigan. She received her A.B. from University of Michigan and earned her J.D. from Wayne State University Law School.

Ms. Newman's Successful Career Path and Tips for Legal Recruiters

How did Ms. Newman transition into working as a recruiter? She explained:
"I began exploring the field of legal recruiting in 1989 while I was still a practicing attorney. I attended my first National Association of Legal Search Consultants (NALSC) annual meeting in Century City, CA. The other recruiters were generous about sharing their tips. In fact, two recruiters invited me to watch them work (remember this was before the internet a young lawyer from Michigan was no threat!). I observed recruiters working in New York City, as well as in LA.

At the annual meeting, I met Phyllis Hawkins, from Phoenix, AZ, who had been the past President of NALSC. She and I started talking and we connected immediately. Somehow during our initial conversation my mother's name came up and surprisingly her mother had the exact same unusual first and last name! It was a funny start to a long relationship.

I told Phyllis the kind of practice I was looking for. A very specific recruiting practice, geared to the attorney, working closely with clients, knowing the client's needs, personality and who would fit in certain departments. I also wanted to focus on a client base exclusively in Michigan. I went to law school and practiced in Michigan. I understood that market well.

Phyllis explained that she had the type of practice that I was seeking. She offered to train me for a fee. Since 'you get what you pay for,' I agreed and observed her. We worked so well together that she asked me if I wanted to open an office together and 25 years later we are still together! I cover Michigan while Phyllis' practice is in the Southwest (including Arizona and San Francisco)."
What legal areas does she specialize in? "My specialty is knowing the best talent in Michigan in addition to well-credentialed lawyers out of state who have a Michigan connection. Frequently, lawyers want to relocate 'home.' I let them know when there are good opportunities that suit their background. Since my practice is typically divided between in-house and law firm positions, we have a diversity of job opportunities to choose from."

What information does Ms. Newman wish she had when she started out? "I am fortunate that in addition to the law degree I have a background in psychology. I did not appreciate, when I starting out, how much counseling is involved in this practice. While I always endeavor to be kind, I am also bluntly honest. I find that most lawyers appreciate that."

What's one of the things that she finds most challenging about her job? "Understanding and using social media is an ongoing mission and goal. It took me a while to get comfortable Tweeting and posting on LinkedIn. Now I actually enjoy it. It keeps me updated on trends and legal news."Her LinkedIn and Twitter accounts can be found here: LinkedIn and Twitter.

What would Ms. Newman say is the most important thing she learned as a legal recruiter? She stated:
"Listening is the most important skill in this business. First you need to listen to your client who tells you about a position, why it's open and what type of attorney skillset/background would be the best fit. Next, it is important to listen to the candidates--why are they looking, specifics about their background, where do they see their ideal job.

Since I have been working exclusively in Michigan for 25 years, all of my business is referral. I do not advertise. I take great pride in the corporations and law firms where I have helped build departments and practice groups. Also, once you know the personalities in those departments, it is much easier to look for a good 'fit.'

I am very humbled by the attorneys I work with on both sides of the equation, both the client and the candidate. I am dealing with the 'cream of the crop' lawyers who are very successful in reaching the top of their profession and practice area.

I find it fascinating to learn what makes each attorney successful. Meeting people who are happy in their careers or can articulate the direction of where they wish to be is very energizing."
Final Thoughts

Is there anything else Ms. Newman would like to share about herself professionally or personally? "I am fortunate that I have a job where, for the past 13 years, I could frequently bring my dog, Shadow, to work with me. He was a loving fixture in our office. Unfortunately, he recently passed away, and while I don't miss the occasional bark during a call, I very much miss his presence at the foot of my desk."

What to Expect When Working with Ms. Newman

Bob Norton, Vice President External Relations at Bradley Foundation noted:
"I have known Nancy since my earlier days at Butzel Long . We considered her to be the 'recruiter of the stars.' In other words, Nancy always attracted the brightest and best candidates. Since that time she has not only placed me in a position, but has assisted numerous friends in finding an ideal match. She is among the most ethical and professional recruiters that I know. She genuinely cares for all parties concerned. She would rather walk away from a deal, than force it through, if anyone is less than totally comfortable. The rest of the legal profession would benefit from being more 'Nancy like.'"
Gary Bazydlo, Regional Counsel - SouthEast at Kimco Realty Corporation acknowledged:
"I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Nancy since she recruited me for Miro Weiner & Kramer in 1992. Since then, her efforts in recruiting on positions I have been affiliated with has been exceptional. In every conversation, Nancy is engaging, energized and displays an unparalleled expertise in the Michigan legal market. Her commitment to finding the best candidate for her client and her available network of talented professionals makes her the first person someone should call when they want to start a legal job search in Michigan."
Julia Wachler, Director of Special Projects at Rock Ventures stated:
"I had the pleasure of working with Nancy on a recent executive search. She was not only incredibly pleasant to work with, but she was also extremely efficient at finding highly qualified candidates that not only had the right skillset but were also a cultural match with our organization's needs. Nancy is a true professional that respects both her clients and candidates' time and needs. I look forward to working with Nancy again in the future and highly recommend her."
 
 




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