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The Key To Getting Law Firm Offers: How To Be Desirable to Big Law Firms

published August 03, 2021

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As a legal recruiter and the founder of BCG Attorney Search, I know a lot about the recruitment process and how to make a successful placement. Most of the placements we do are not even for open positions. This article will give you the key to making firms interested in you and making offers to you quickly.
 

Attorneys looking for positions seek our services, often when they have been unsuccessful themselves. The majority of them have great qualifications and good resumes. One such attorney was a third-year Harvard graduate working in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Hawaii. He wanted to be placed in California. After weeks of sending out applications to the best legal firms in the market, he could not get an interview. After BCG Attorney Search got involved, he got interviews with most legal firms he applied to in just a few days, even those he had previously tried. And he also got a few offers.


So, what changed that firms who did not want to talk to him were suddenly blowing up my phone and making offers? It was certainly not the credentials and experience of the attorney.

The key is knowing how to make an attorney marketable to the firms. Most attorneys do not know how to be desirable and market themselves to the big firms, so most attorneys do not get offers from them. That is where a good, successful recruiter comes into play.
 

The Rules for Getting Into a Large Law Firm


There are a few rules that accompany the process of trying to get into big law offices. When attorneys understand them, they can significantly increase the number of interviews and offers they get. One of the most important rules is being desirable for these firms.

Recently, a hiring partner of a large firm approached me and asked me about the most in-demand practice area on the market today. The answer was straightforward - real estate. Real estate is powerful, and no one can get real estate attorneys. I also contacted a great real estate attorney who was my client and worked close to their offices. The hiring partner was very excited about this, talked with the attorney almost immediately, and invited him for interviews and lunch with other attorneys in the firm. Both sides wrote me excited they were about the fit and near future collaboration. I knew what the firm was about and their normal practice areas, so I was skeptical. Will they have enough work for this attorney who had never worked in real estate before? They both seemed to forget about this.

Just as I thought, I got an email from the hiring partner a few weeks later that they could not hire the real estate attorney without first hiring a real estate partner with the business. He had not considered that at first. He viewed the real estate lawyer as very desirable for their firm, which was all he cared about.
 

Being Desirable to Law Firms Under Any Circumstances?


Some attorneys understand what is desirable for big legal firms and try to use it to their advantage under pretenses. I have recently been approached by such a lawyer, a junior partner in a big firm looking for positions in other major firms as he was being pushed out of his current one. Following the standard law firm practice and partnership track, he was made a junior non-equity partner as an incentive to grow his book of business. Because he could not generate enough business and therefore could not progress among equity partners, his firm could not employ him anymore. However, he did not want to downsize the type of firm or start in a lower position than a junior partner. So, he wanted me and another recruiter to lie about the business he could bring into a firm to get such placement.

Of course, I refused to do so and wanted to get him interviews in smaller firms that fit his experience and the amount of business he had. But the second recruiter decided to help the attorney and lie. They went around the best firms in the market and told a story of how the attorney will take several big clients from his current firm with him. It worked, and the candidate could get a partner position in one of the better firms in the market. Their lie was bound to be revealed sooner or later, but at that moment, all sides - the firm, the recruiter, and the attorney - were happy about their collaboration.

I decided to talk to a hiring manager from one of the firms this attorney interviewed at with the second recruiter to find out what they thought and whether they knew about this inconsistency with the amount of business. She told me how exciting the candidate looked at first, but they were probably more diligent than the other firms and decided to contact the clients he wanted to take with him to find out about his transferable business. After finding out that the candidate, in fact, did not have any transferable business, they turned his application down. And they decided to probably never work with that recruiter again.

While this firm did its due diligence, most firms were blinded by the desirability of the attorney. He received several offers, increased his salary significantly, got an article written about him, etc. I do the same thing for clients, just without the lying and without the inevitable reveal of the secret and subsequent firing.
 

How To Be Desirable for Law Firms the Right Way?


Whenever we work with an attorney and try to find a good placement for them, we always look at their resume and try to find the best angle of making what they have there marketable and desirable for firms. We find truthful aspects of their background and amplify those who make the candidate look desirable. Even when they do not seem desirable at first, we know what the firms and the market want from years of experience, so we know how to build up a desirable candidate and get offers for them.

A few years back, I had a client, an insurance coverage attorney, with over a decade of experience and not a lot of work to do. Many firms were declining her because all they could see was the many years she has already worked in law practice (firms usually want attorneys with no more than five years of experience as they can pay them less) and the lack of business she had after these years.

When a hiring manager called me to reject her application, I decided to do what I do best and spin the narrative to make her someone the firm cannot pass on. I talked about all the big firms around the country the attorney was interviewing with. I talked about how scarce good insurance coverage attorneys are and that such an opportunity might not come easily after this. They quickly reconsidered their decision, invited her for an interview, and later made her an offer.

Nothing about her qualifications, skills, experience, business, or what she has achieved has changed; the only difference was making the firm think that the attorney was "hot stuff" and other firms were interested. She became a great asset to the firm, so they were right about being influenced by thinking that she was more popular than she really was.
 

How To Be In-Demand to Law Firms


The key is making attorneys seem like they are in high demand. When firms see someone who is really wanted and desirable to other firms, they are automatically interested. All firms want is to make their company and their team stronger, and when someone is in demand in other firms, they believe by hiring them, they will do just that. When others see something in this person, there must be something there, right?

Fear of missing out is a real thing people experience a lot, and people at the top of big law offices are no different. When someone tells them that there is a unique opportunity to hire someone special in front of them, they will want to take it and not miss out on it. People sometimes do crazy things when they think something is popular. Just think about the fashion fads we used to wear 10 or 20 years ago just because everyone else did it. We follow what everyone else is doing because it is safe and easy.

When you search for a legal position, the worst thing you can do is give firms any indication that you are not desirable. Law firms never want to hire attorneys who seem desperate for the job. They want to strengthen their team, not weaken it. It would be best if you appeared incredibly in demand, and the more demand you appear, the better. The attorney who appears in demand always ends up getting a lot of offers. The attorney that does not appear in demand never gets a lot of offers or even interviews. There are thousands of regular attorneys no one knows about but only a few good ones in demand. And everyone wants only the best for their firm to strengthen it as much as possible.
 

Turning a Candidate Into an In-Demand One


Now, how to change a lawyer who is not in demand into one that is? I will try to demonstrate it on the example of the lawyer in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Hawaii. The lawyer was coming from a different state, did not really have law firm experience in his legal career, nor was he accepted to the bar in California where his job search was. In his cover letter, he said how "honored" he would be to get the opportunity to interview. However, that is not a good approach as he was only telling the law firm that he was desperate for the job. When he applied on his own, the firms could only see the drawbacks.

When I got into the situation, I approached it very differently than the attorney. He was very valued in the U.S. Attorney's Office and was promoted several times, so I made sure to emphasize how in-demand he was in his current employment and how valuable he was for them. I also mentioned that he was traveling to Los Angeles for interviews in a certain week, and his schedule was already getting full as he was so popular with other firms. This told them that he was really in demand, and they had to act quickly. When firms called and wanted to interview him, I said that I would have to check with him as he was so busy already. This only reinforced what they already thought - that he was really popular and in demand. I also emphasized his qualifications from Harvard Law School and told them how competitive it is to get the job at the U.S. Attorney's Office right after law school as he had done.

That all strengthened the picture of the attorney as desirable. Desirable in his academic and legal career before and desirable also in his job search now. And that is the most important aspect for a better legal career and getting exactly what you want in your career path, whether you want to work in a New York office of a major firm or a smaller firm.
 

How To Get More Law Firm Offers:


Make Law Firms Believe You Were Desirable Before in Your Career


Law firms will want to make you an offer if they believe that you have been desirable and in-demand previously to the right groups. That is why things like a top law school or best law firm on your resume matter. It shows that other highly competitive groups were interested in you in the past.

If only the top few percent of applicants get to the law school you went into, and you did great there, it really shows the firm that you will be a valuable asset to the firm, and they will be interested. That is why law students from Harvard law school, Yale, Stanford, or Chicago almost always come out on top in the legal employment space. If you were able to successfully get through the difficult recruitment process in one of the major firms in the legal industry in our country, most large law offices would want to work with you because you have been desirable by a prestigious firm before. That is how they can make their firm stronger.
 

Make Law Firms Believe You Are Desirable for Large Firms Now


You also have to make firms believe that you are very popular with other firms in your current legal search. If they think that other prestigious, competitive teams want you, they will want you too. And because they know that you are in demand right now, they will want to act much faster than they normally would because they do not want to lose this opportunity.

Firms want people that other firms want as well. It is the most important career advice you can get and something I use daily in improving lawyers' legal careers to get more law firm offers and get better legal placement. It is the secret to making others interested in you, and not just legal firms. It will work in networking, getting clients and business development, and in your personal life. It would be best if you seemed desirable, and you will see how the firms will fight over you.

When firms believe that you are desirable, they will often want to quickly hire you even if they do not currently have an inherent need for your services. Many firms will be blinded by the opportunity and not think, just like the law firm that wanted to hire the real estate attorney even though they had not worked for someone in that practice area. If they had any work, the attorney would be hired even without any opening.

If a law firm believes that an attorney is desirable, they will often overlook important things and not ask the right questions. That is why most of the firms did not find out about the transferable business scam.

Being desirable is the best way to get multiple offers from the best firms. If they believe that you have marketable qualities, more firms will want to work with you than ever before. When they see value for their firm in you, you suddenly become indispensable to them.
 

Conclusions


The art of being desirable turns the whole world around. This factor applies not only in legal companies and legal placements work based on the most in-demand attorneys; it applies throughout many industries.

Just recently, I went into the store to buy an oven. I asked about the refrigerator they had on display, and not even an hour later, I was contemplating spending ten grand on it. The employee told me how rarely they sold the appliances they have on display (only when they get new models every few years), how good of a discount I could get (they normally asked $18,000 for the fridge), and that they would definitely sell the fridge to the next customer that walked in, so I had to act quickly. I knew that I would have to buy a new fridge soon but did not plan on buying any at that time.

I was unsure whether it would fit into my kitchen, so I asked the salesperson to come and take measurements. Thank God I did that, as it would not fit in, and I would have made a pretty expensive mistake if I had bought it.

But it had me thinking about this concept of desirability. I came in to buy an oven, and now I was thinking of spending that much money on a fridge I did not really need yet? They really knew how to make it marketable to me. And that is exactly what you need to do when you are looking for attorneys' jobs. It would help if you made potential employers think that you are desirable and in demand, and job offers will start to flow your way. It will help you find jobs faster, it will be easier, and you will be a happier and better person in your legal career.

See also:
 

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