The New York legal market is on a different plane than other markets. New York is home to some of the biggest, most prestigious law firms in the world, and landing a job at one of these firms can be difficult. For attorneys looking to practice in the state, and especially for attorneys looking to practice in New York City, legal recruiters can provide a valuable entry-point into some of the top law firms. At the same time, not all recruiters are created equal, and it is important to partner with one who will truly take your career to the next level. Here are some things to look for when searching for a legal recruiter:
1. Find a legal recruiter who isn’t just trying to land a commission.
It is easy to get cynical and assume that recruiters are just willing to make a placement, no matter how well the person fits in with a particular law firm, so that they can get a hefty commission. While this is true for some, the best legal headhunters realize that it is always in their best interest to make their end-clients happy (both on the employer side and on the attorney side). Attorneys who are well-placed at the right firm will obviously be more likely to think of using the legal recruiter the next time they anticipate making a move. In a market like New York, it is common for New York legal recruiters to generate repeat business from career-minded attorneys. Legal recruiters in New York will often be able to provide insight into not only where the openings are, but what it is truly like to work at a particular firm. Oftentimes, dissatisfied attorneys are desperate to leave their present jobs and are not focused on the long-term. Legal recruiters can help provide clarity for candidates to ensure that their next move is the right one.
2. Find a legal recruiter who knows the New York market, in and out.
Finding a recruiter who knows the New York market intimately is extremely important. The New York market is unique to other markets, and a good recruiter will know these intricacies and be able to use them to better market you to employers. Legal recruiters who have practiced as attorneys often bring in unique perspectives as people who have actually been in the profession and can now, with the objectiveness of a third-party, give counsel. Many legal recruiters in New York are battle-worn, former attorneys; some have practiced at firms in the city, and understand the work culture and expectations on a very personal level. Having a recruiter who has been in the trenches, so to speak, will improve your chances of successfully lateraling to a New York firm.