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If you're looking for an attorney job, maybe you should stay away from the headhunters because you'll need that head in the future. I speak from personal experience because my head was hunted once by a job recruiter and I barely got out alive.
To be serious, job recruiters surely provide a valuable service to law firms and companies looking for specific lawyers. That's why they get the big bucks, which headhunters apparently charge for finding those attorneys. It's typically a 30 percent contingency fee of the new hire's salary.
Carol Kanarek, a lawyer, psychotherapist, and author, explains that search firms are used only by those law firms and companies that are seeking lawyers with very specific expertise. "Consequently, if you are seeking a change in practice focus, or are looking for a non-legal job, a search firm won't be able to help you."
If you think about it, that headhunter's fee was calculated into your value as a prospective employee. So you are worth at least 30% more than what you eventually may get paid through a recruiter.
The trick to finding an attorney job, rather than paying someone else to do it for you, is ... Alright, so there is no trick. It's about a good education, hard work, developing expertise, cultivating sources and writing a good resume.
If you are overwhelmed by it all, Kanarek says, you might need a career coach, psychotherapist, or religious counselor. Which reminds about how I got out alive. Also, you may want to let yourself think outside the box as you consider your options. There are ate least 101 things to do with your JD aside from practicing law.
After graduating from law school, I was hunted and courted by several law firms to visit their operations. I felt a bit like the belle of the ball, which is saying something if you're a guy.
The insurance defense firms were hiring new attorneys then so I learned about personal injury cases from shop-talk. I happened to overhear a couple of associates reveling in how they had denied the claim of a paraplegic. I left and never went back.
I'm not saying insurance defense is bad. Those same firms later became friends when their clients paid me that 30% contingency fee.
The point is, when you're looking for a job you should go for something that appeals to you. Headhunters do exactly the opposite; they look for lawyers who appeal to their clients.
So think twice about using a third party to help with your job search. Although, in today's job market, you understandably may need all the help you can get.
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