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When Law Firm Partners Should Work with a Legal Recruiter

May 12, 2023 | Law Firm Candidates, Law Firm Clients

When law firm partners are considering a move to another firm or a legal recruiter contacts them about an opportunity, one of the first questions to consider is whether it makes sense to work with a recruiter. There are many benefits to engaging with a recruiter to help you identify and evaluate law firms and job offers, but it may not be necessary in every case. In this post, we’ll discuss the circumstances when it’s best to use a legal recruiter and in the next post we’ll cover situations when you may not want to engage with a legal recruiter. And yes, we can admit that we may not always be needed!

To make your determination, consider whether you fall into one of the following categories:

A legal recruiter contacted you about a specific, exclusive opportunity. 

When a recruiter calls you about an exclusive opportunity, they have a good reason. They could be working on a retained basis, in which case they’re calling about one law firm or company that hired them to find a very specific attorney to fill a very specific role. They could be conducting contingent searches and have one or more opportunities to run by you that could be better for you and your practice. Either way, they should be showing that they’ve done their research and are confident that, at least at a preliminary level, you’re a good match for what their clients are specifically looking for. The recruiter will have evaluated your experience, education, location, practice description, accolades/awards, and other information to determine that you meet the needs of the client before calling you. Good recruiters don’t want to waste your time, and they definitely don’t want to waste their own time either, so if they’ve called more than once and have proven they have an understanding of your practice, they likely have something worth listening to.

Failing to listen to what the legal recruiter has to say could mean missing out on an opportunity specifically targeted to your background. Accordingly, it is usually worth it to hear more about the position even if you aren’t interested in making a move, as it gives you market knowledge before it’s publicly available.

You want an objective and experienced person like a legal recruiter to represent you to a firm.

Often, law firm partners have contacts at other firms that they think they can use to get into the firm. However, even if you know people at the firm, keep in mind that those individuals may not be in the best position to help or advise you. They may not have specific information or contacts related to all the opportunities available at the firm. A recruiter will also know when to disclose existing relationships at the most advantageous time in the process, so that those connections can be used to your highest benefit. Further, a recruiter will operate like a sports agent. They’ll know the specifics of what the firm is looking for, the key people involved in the decision-making process, and how to increase the likelihood that you will get the position and terms you want. 

You need assistance understanding the legal marketplace that exists for your practice area or specialty. 

Do you know all the firms that have a practice that aligns with yours and who your competition is? You may be aware of the biggest names in the market and think you know your major competitors, but if you’ve never been across from them, you probably don’t really know them. Do you know which firms are strongest, and which are growing in your practice area? Do you have a strong understanding of the market compensation rates or your value in your market? If your answers to these questions are no, then turning to a recruiter would be helpful. Recruiters can provide that information so you know where the best opportunities may be and what to expect if you leave your current law firm. After all, it is a recruiter’s job to be the market expert in this way.

You don’t have the time to look for a new position.

Finding a new firm can be time-consuming. You must research firms, reach out to contacts, interview, negotiate terms, and so on. A recruiter can significantly save you time because he or she will do much of the legwork. You provide them with information on your experience, book of business, and what you are looking for in a new firm and they can help you narrow down your choices. Importantly, you should consider that if you’re too busy to find a position on your own, and you aren’t happy about the fact that you’re working so many hours you don’t have the time to search, that is precisely the time to engage a recruiter to assist you in improving your situation.

Your book of business has significantly increased or decreased.

When you experience a substantial change in your practice, a recruiter can help you navigate how this impacts your value within the market and evaluate if your current firm is the best place to stay in light of the changes.

If your book of business has decreased, a recruiter can help you find a firm that will put more resources behind you to rebuild your practice or relieve the pressure of getting back to where you were. Alternatively, if your book of business has increased, there’s a chance that you’re undervalued at your current firm and a recruiter can advise you about what other firms are offering. Importantly, even if you decide not to leave your firm, you should take the time to evaluate if you’re being paid fairly. Here, you can read more on how to do this.


Legal recruiters understand the legal marketplace and have information about firms that isn’t readily accessible to attorneys looking to make a move. As a result, they offer tremendous value in situations when you cannot obtain the necessary details about the firms and opportunities that may exist to make a well-informed decision about your future. 

If you fit into one of these categories and want to discuss the possibility of making a move to another firm, contact us… We’d love to be your agent.



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