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What Do Legal Recruiting Coordinators Do?

published June 30, 2021

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In this article, you will learn about legal recruitment coordinators and their roles in the hiring process. They are vital for finding a job in a law firm; however, younger attorneys and law students do not really understand exactly what a legal recruiting coordinator does for law firms and candidates in the hiring process.
 

How Did a Legal Recruiting Coordinator Came To Be?


The profession of legal recruiting coordinators is a relatively new one, as, before the 1980s, lawyers usually stayed with one firm their whole careers and did not switch employers. As a result, the initial hiring of young attorneys who have just graduated from law schools could be done by hiring partners - attorneys working in the firm.


Once law firms started growing and lateral moves became more and more common, hiring partners could not keep up with the amount of hiring that was suddenly needed. In addition, the interviews with the candidates took up the time they would otherwise spend billing hours and generating business (which their income was based upon), so they delegated this work to either their secretaries or legal recruiting coordinators, who started slowly appearing in the legal industry. And because hiring partners were in contact with external legal recruiting coordinators, they often got recruited by the coordinators to different law firms with better conditions. As a result, many law firms started their own positions of legal recruiting coordinators to prevent this from happening.

With time, these legal recruiting coordinators started being more skilled and specialized, making them indispensable, substantial law firms that got more and more resumes sent in for every open position. As a result, the amount of work they suddenly got grew rapidly and made it a serious and valued profession that many non-practicing attorneys chose.
 

What Does a Legal Recruiting Coordinator Do?


There is a vast number of tasks and activities a legal recruiting coordinator does every day, and here are just some of them:
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Works With the Law Firm and Its Attorneys on Current Hiring Needs


The first thing they do is they have to constantly work with the firm and its attorneys to figure out their needs and how to change up the firm's recruitment to cater to these needs and long-term and short-term goals.

They have to be on top of how the firm is doing overall and how each department, practice area, and person are currently managing, and how they will probably be doing in the (near) future. Based on this information, they can either start recruiting more if the firm or a partner has a lot of work that needs to be done, shift the focus from hiring to one practice area that is not doing so well into another area that is currently booming, start hiring more attorneys of junior level to keep some bills lower, more senior ones if there is a lack of them, or stop hiring altogether if the firm is currently not doing that well. Law firms can also sometimes choose to hire contract lawyers when they are trying out new ideas.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Can Advice For or Against Candidates (Even When There Is/Is Not Specific Need for Them Currently)


Legal recruiting coordinators can advocate for candidates they think are special or prove useful to the firm. The recruiter's opinion is highly regarded in the hiring process, so if they vouch for someone and layout why they think hiring someone is a good idea, it can really help make the hiring decision. In addition, they have usually worked with many attorneys, so they generally have a good insight into the cues in someone's background that can predict success and fit into the firm.

If they really trust and believe in a candidate, they can suggest hiring them and pushing them forward even when there are no open positions or the firm is not currently considering candidates.

On the other hand, if a candidate is being considered the recruiter does not think is good enough for the company, they can express that and explain why they think not choosing them is the right choice. Thus, the role of the legal recruiting coordinator is to make sure that the firm makes the best hiring decisions it can which sometimes means not hiring a candidate that will prove to cause problems later on.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Assesses the Cultural Fit of Candidates


Company culture and fit of the employees into the culture is crucial for the longevity of the firm's success and satisfaction of the attorneys with their workplace. Recruiting coordinators are very aware of the firm's culture and can gauge whether a candidate will fit in or not during a conversation.

They understand that if the common motivation of attorneys in a firm is making as much money as humanly possible, someone who wants to do a lot of pro bono work for non-profits will probably not thrive there just as someone who wants to fulfill their goal and win without regard for how it affects other people would not thrive in a firm that praises itself on being honest and fair in every situation.

Although it may be tempting for law firms to hire someone who does not fit into the culture if it means saving money or gaining profit, recruiting coordinators can stop firms from making such mistakes.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Writes Eye-Catching Job Ads To Attract Candidates


Sometimes, recruiting coordinators are responsible for writing job descriptions and job ads for the firm's website, external job boards, or external recruiters. And because many firms are competing for the best attorneys, these job ads have to be written well enough to attract the best candidates, so coordinators must be well-versed and have great writing and copywriting skills. They also must have great knowledge of different roles in a law firm to ensure that these job descriptions are accurate and complete.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Checks In With Talented Past Applicants


Sometimes during a hiring process, the coordinators notice promising candidates; they do not hire for the open position for various reasons. However, they keep their contact info and stay in touch in case a position opens for them.

This is also for candidates who are talented but lack some experience. Again, the legal recruiting coordinator keeps in contact with them, and once they gain the needed experience and skills, they invite them back for an interview.

Keeping such a network of talented attorneys helps the firm immensely when hiring someone for a position quickly. Coordinators can initially contact these previous candidates in their contact list and fill the position before going through the demanding recruitment process from beginning to end.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Has To Be Able To Navigate Politics and Secrets In the Law Firm


Every law firm has many professional secrets and hidden politics that recruiting coordinators must be aware of but cannot disclose. For example, they know who will be let go and sometimes have to start hiring for the position before the attorney in question finds out about being fired, and such information has to be kept secret until it is the right time to disclose it.

Sometimes firms hire people not because of their skills but because they are related to powerful people, benefiting the firm. Some candidates are not chosen because of their political stance or beliefs, which must be kept secret. Recruiting coordinators must know all of this information and nuances and be aware of who is privy to them and who is not.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator May Contact Attorneys and Invite Them to Apply on Their Own


Recruiting coordinators sometimes have to cold-call or email potential candidates. This often happens if the firm does not have enough candidates or is too niche for a general candidate pool. The coordinator wants to make sure that the information about it gets to the right people.

It is generally not an everyday task. There are usually enough candidates for most positions, but it happens from time to time that a legal recruiting coordinator is tasked with contacting attorneys and inviting them to apply.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Decides on How To Get the Word Out About Positions To Fulfill the Firm's Needs the Best


The hiring needs of the firm can be very different with different positions. For example, for some positions, the firm might want to promote it everywhere they can, i.e., on job boards, through recruiters, on their website, through a newsletter to their whole network, etc., to ensure that they will have many applicants fast. However, they might want to keep some other positions more secretive, especially if they are looking for a replacement for a person still working in the firm and has not been let go yet. In that case, the position will not be published openly but only passed on to the potential candidates through recruiters.

The task of the recruiting coordinator is to be aware of the needs of the firm and decide how to promote positions so that they get to the right people and not to the ones who are not supposed to hear about it.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator May Write Marketing Content About the Firm


Recruiting coordinators collaborate with the marketing department or work independently to write up web content and brochures that promote the law firm to potential candidates. They have to make sure that this content attracts the right type of attorneys and mentions all the right selling points of the firm. This material has to distinguish the firm from others and make sure it stands out from the rest.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Reviews Applications and Candidates and Response or Forwards Them Further


One of the most important things recruiting coordinators do every day is review applications and calls made by attorneys or legal recruiters. They are often the only people looking at the applications, and they decide whether the candidate will or will not move forward in the recruitment process. If they believe someone will not fit into the firm or does not have enough experience to handle the daily tasks, they will reject the candidate, and others in the firm might not even look at the application.

Recruiting coordinators can have varying levels of responsibility in different firms. If they are trusted and well-regarded, they become the gatekeepers who ensure that the firm does not waste time with candidates who would not be a good fit. With years of experience, they can train their eyes to see resumes and cover letters differently. They can assess how the applicants will adjust to the firm, get along with their peers and superiors, and manage overall and then decide based on their assessment to hear more from them. They understand what type of attorneys their firm needs and know how to look for cues that reveal whether an applicant is or is not that type.

Once they have decided, they are responsible for informing the candidates about the decision and tracking the hiring process.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Is in Contact With Law Schools and Law Students and Organizes On-Campus Events


Every attorney has started in a law school as a law student, so recruiting coordinators must contact law schools to ensure they are getting the most talented people right from the start. For example, they might organize on-campus interviews, review resumes sent in by students, invite students for summer associate positions, talk to the school about up-and-coming students, and many more activities. In addition, they have to consistently stay in touch with the career offices in the law schools and students and give them up-to-date information about what the law firm is doing and what they need from the students to create good long-lasting relationships.

They are also tasked with organizing events at schools and job fairs when the firm goes and presents its activities to students, looks for summer associates, etc. They make sure that the schedule is exciting, enjoy themselves, and consider joining the firm.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Organizes Stays for Candidates Interviewed for the Firm From Different Locations


When a law firm invites candidates who live far away from the location of the offices, recruiting coordinators often have to organize the candidates' stays. This includes organizing the travels, hotel, lunches, and meetings with the firm's attorneys. They may also spend a lot of time with the candidates to ensure that they are cared for and treated well.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Networks and Keeps Up-To-Date With the Profession of Legal Recruitment


Another part of recruiting coordinator responsibilities is keeping informed about the profession and what other firms are doing. They might be a part of various recruiting societies or have personal relationships with other recruiting coordinators. Still, they are always trying to know what is currently happening and what the trends are.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Tries To Maintain a Positive Public View of the Firm


Regardless of the actual quality of the law firm, the public image a recruiting coordinator maintains is vital for being able to attract the right job applicants. They are aware of what makes the firm stand out, what positives it can bring, how it can benefit candidates, and they present all of this information to create a unique law firm's brand that attracts the people the firm wants.

They themselves must have a great presentation, always make a good and professional impression on everyone. In addition, the recruiting coordinators are often one of the first people potential candidates meet, so how they have been perceived influences how the firm is perceived.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Interviews Job Applicants


Many firms have legal recruiting coordinators interview the applicants after they have been screened initially. Sometimes this interviewing consists of just phone interviews after they have decided that the application is good, and they ask them a few additional questions before interviews with hiring managers. Other times, the recruiting coordinator is the main interviewer and has more say in whether a candidate will be hired or not.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Is Responsible for Due Diligence When It Comes to Information Applicants Sent In


When a recruiting coordinator likes a candidate and wants to invite them for further interviews, firstly, they will often check the information the candidate provided. They check the references, review the website of the current employer, the LinkedIn profile of the candidate to make sure that dates and information are correct and match with what has been sent in. If they know attorneys who have worked with the candidate, they might ask them about their opinion. They also do background checks to ensure that the candidates truly say they are on paper. If they find inconsistencies, they will most likely reconsider their decision at any stage of the recruitment process.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Schedules the Interviews From Both Sides and Gets Feedback About Candidates After Interviews


If the recruiting coordinator does not interview the candidates independently, they are responsible for scheduling and organizing the interviews with other people. They need to find attorneys in the firm who have time to interview candidates and choose them based on how they will click with the candidate and how well they will present the firm.

This means that they also have to have excellent relationships with attorneys in the firm and know them well to make sure that they can match candidates with the right interviewers. The interviewers will be willing to do this for the coordinators.

After the interviews have been finalized, they also collect feedback and opinions about the candidates from the attorneys interviewed. They have to summarize this feedback into an easily understandable form then give it to partners and those who make the final hiring decisions.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Meets and Discusses Candidates With Hiring Personnel


Legal recruiting coordinators regularly meet with hiring committees or other hiring personnel to figure out the firm's current needs. Then, they decide which positions need to be filled, assess the current market, discuss individual applicants, and make final hiring decisions. They also have to decide whether to completely reject candidates or keep their contact info and approach them with a different position.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Does the Onboarding of New Hires


Another important aspect of recruiting coordinator responsibilities includes the onboarding of new employees. In some firms, this might be done by people from the human resources team or talent acquisition team, but sometimes it falls under the coordinator's tasks. And what this involves is usually taking the new hires around the offices on the first day, introducing them to everyone they need to know, explaining how it works in the firm, organizing introductory lunches and events, etc. Anything that might help the new attorney adjust to the firm quickly can be a part of the onboarding process.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Calculates the Budget To Be Set Aside For the Recruiting


As legal recruiting coordinators know the recruitment process from start to finish, they can often best assess how much money the law firm needs to set aside for their hiring needs. Once they calculate the budget they need, they are also responsible for staying within that budget while fulfilling the law firm's needs.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Is Responsible For Increasing Diversity in the Law Firm


Legal recruiting coordinators might be asked to work on initiatives to increase diversity in the law firm. They may meet with committees to establish a vision and goals related to diversity. They often contact diversity law organizations to let them know about these diversity initiatives and spread the word about open positions. They may work with various diverse employees to create programs that would attract applicants and help them adjust in the workplace.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Is Responsible For Dissemination of Topics Related to Legal Recruiting


Legal recruiting coordinators often write articles or present at conferences (or within the firm) about various topics related to legal recruiting. This helps spread the word about the law firm, builds its brand and reputation, and might help attract future candidates.
 

A Legal Recruiting Coordinator Is Responsible For Recruitment-related Procurement


The recruitment process requires many different services, products, software, etc. Legal recruiting coordinators are often responsible for choosing the companies or brands they want to work with. They choose recruitment software, recruiting agencies, companies that will help with flying in the candidates, or those who can help with onboarding.

The quality of a law firm's legal recruiter can really influence how the whole company is viewed from the outside but also how it functions internally. If they can attract and hire the best talent, it will help the firm immensely. If they take good care of the new employees and make sure that everyone fits into the firm's culture, they can find long-lasting success it did not have before. They really have a vital role in creating a well-oiled machine where everyone knows what their role is and is perfectly skilled and capable of fulfilling it.
 

Do All Law Firms Need a Legal Recruiting Coordinator?


While legal recruiting coordinators can be crucial for large law firms, many smaller ones do not really need or can afford them constantly. There are, however, some situations in which legal recruiting coordinators are very beneficial for firms. They are:
 
  • when a law firm has more than 50 attorneys
  • when attorneys in a firm bill for their services hourly;
  • when most of the work is brought in by partners with a lot of business;
  • when a law firm wants to bring in a new attorney with great qualifications;
  • when a law firm uses the services of recruiters for hiring;
  • when a law firm suddenly has a ton of work because of working for large companies;
  • when a law firm has a summer associate program;
  • when a law firm is in the most prestigious and expensive market.

You might ask yourself why a law firm should have a legal recruiting coordinator if they do not need them constantly and firms survive without them. Well, the truth is law firms can only be as good as the people working there, and to be able to grow and prosper without sacrificing the quality of attorneys consistently, firms need legal professionals that will manage their hiring process. That is the role recruiting coordinators to play in the recruiting process, and that is what they can offer to law firms. They make sure that the best possible candidate gets the position, that the candidate will work with the established team, and will thrive and help the firm prosper.

When a recruiting coordinator is outstanding, they can make decisions vital for its success and brand development. In addition, they can earn a lot of money, and it is the position in which a firm should not try to save money. Legal recruiting coordinators do many big and small tasks daily that help with big hiring decisions and are also consistent with how the firm looks on the inside and outside.
 

Conclusions


The role of legal recruiting coordinators started fairly recently with delegating recruiting tasks to assistants and clerks and establishing itself as a value to the legal profession. A recruitment coordinator in a law firm functions as a gatekeeper who makes sure that the candidates moving forward in the recruiting process are the best ones and ensures that only the best, most fitting applicants are cut. They have many different tasks and consistently improve the firm, its brand, and its attorneys. Impressing a recruiting coordinator is vital for any lawyer who wants to find success in large law firms.

See also:
 

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