Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

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tbp140

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Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

Postby tbp140 » Tue Dec 18, 2018 3:12 pm

Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

gregfootball2001

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Re: Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

Postby gregfootball2001 » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:52 pm

tbp140 wrote:Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

If there's a position that hasn't been posted, the advantage to using a recruiter is obvious. You wouldn't know about the opening without the recruiter. At the very least, you can tell them that they can only submit you if you approve each submission, and only allow submissions where there's no public posting.

Past that, if the recruiter can make some sort of extremely convincing argument regarding the connections they have with that particular firm (they've placed X people there in the past few years, they know the hiring partner and will contact them directly, etc.), then maybe consider using them, provided that you have zero connections to the firm yourself. If you have a unicorn resume you'll be fine, but online applications can be lost in the shuffle without any contacts. Not necessarily saying to use a recruiter in this situation, but I can see the reasoning.

If you have any contacts at that firm whatsoever, and it's a public posting, I see no reason why a junior would use a recruiter. Negotiations will be chilled by the fact that the firm has to pay a fee, and salary is likely lockstep. Not worth it.

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Re: Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

Postby jarofsoup » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:10 pm

I really don't know anyone that has made a lateral move with out a recruiter. Well connected recruiters (i.e., those that have good relationships with the firm recruiters) can get you in the door. That's half the battle.

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Re: Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:51 pm

Used a recruiter for an upcoming move and overall would recommend it. My recruiter submit me for two openings and I quickly got interviews at both. Got an offer from and accepted the second. It's nice to have a third party involved and an advocate in the process. However, my recruiter also made some confusing changes to my resume without telling me before submitting it, and also told me the wrong time for one of my interviews. If I could do it over, I would use laterally.

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Re: Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

Postby QContinuum » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:26 pm

I think the caveat is that the advice above applies to midlevels/seniors looking to lateral. I don't think recruiters would be very helpful for stub-years or even first-years looking to lateral. I doubt firms would be chuffed at the prospect of paying recruiter fees for a first-year.

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nealric

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Re: Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

Postby nealric » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:17 am

jarofsoup wrote:I really don't know anyone that has made a lateral move with out a recruiter. Well connected recruiters (i.e., those that have good relationships with the firm recruiters) can get you in the door. That's half the battle.


I did. Personally, I found recruiters more of a hindrance than a help. They didn't know my practice area well, and couldn't name the key practitioners like I could. Also, many firms don't want to pay the fee. They'd much rather someone on the inside make a personal introduction.

As far as "unlisted jobs"... I also had 3 callbacks for unlisted jobs without a recruiter. You simply get to know the good firms in your practice group and work to get an introduction. If they are open to a lateral, they will let you know.

Where I think recruiters are most useful is if you are in a very generalized practice area looking to move within a very large market (i.e. General Corp. in NYC). In that case, there's too many practitioners to really get to know specific groups all that well. They are also more accepted and probably more useful to partner laterals where the process is much more involved.

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Re: Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:16 am

nealric wrote:
jarofsoup wrote:I really don't know anyone that has made a lateral move with out a recruiter. Well connected recruiters (i.e., those that have good relationships with the firm recruiters) can get you in the door. That's half the battle.


I did. Personally, I found recruiters more of a hindrance than a help. They didn't know my practice area well, and couldn't name the key practitioners like I could. Also, many firms don't want to pay the fee. They'd much rather someone on the inside make a personal introduction.

As far as "unlisted jobs"... I also had 3 callbacks for unlisted jobs without a recruiter. You simply get to know the good firms in your practice group and work to get an introduction. If they are open to a lateral, they will let you know.

Where I think recruiters are most useful is if you are in a very generalized practice area looking to move within a very large market (i.e. General Corp. in NYC). In that case, there's too many practitioners to really get to know specific groups all that well. They are also more accepted and probably more useful to partner laterals where the process is much more involved.


Not OP.

This is good advice, but I think it’s going to be harder for a junior to get an in with a well-known partner even in a specialized practice group. Can you elaborate on how you got these introductions?

I know friends at firms with well-known partners in my field, but they don’t personally know te partners, so it’s been difficult.

Also, were these connections in person or via phone/email? I am trying to relocate across the country.

Edit: my CSO has always said to cold email the partner in charge of the practice group but that seems tactless

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nealric

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Re: Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

Postby nealric » Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:
jarofsoup wrote:I really don't know anyone that has made a lateral move with out a recruiter. Well connected recruiters (i.e., those that have good relationships with the firm recruiters) can get you in the door. That's half the battle.


I did. Personally, I found recruiters more of a hindrance than a help. They didn't know my practice area well, and couldn't name the key practitioners like I could. Also, many firms don't want to pay the fee. They'd much rather someone on the inside make a personal introduction.

As far as "unlisted jobs"... I also had 3 callbacks for unlisted jobs without a recruiter. You simply get to know the good firms in your practice group and work to get an introduction. If they are open to a lateral, they will let you know.

Where I think recruiters are most useful is if you are in a very generalized practice area looking to move within a very large market (i.e. General Corp. in NYC). In that case, there's too many practitioners to really get to know specific groups all that well. They are also more accepted and probably more useful to partner laterals where the process is much more involved.


Not OP.

This is good advice, but I think it’s going to be harder for a junior to get an in with a well-known partner even in a specialized practice group. Can you elaborate on how you got these introductions?

I know friends at firms with well-known partners in my field, but they don’t personally know te partners, so it’s been difficult.

Also, were these connections in person or via phone/email? I am trying to relocate across the country.

Edit: my CSO has always said to cold email the partner in charge of the practice group but that seems tactless


I did not cold-email practice group heads unless I had permission to name-drop someone they knew. But even then it's not ideal, as department heads get an absurd number of emails, so yours is likely to be passed over in favor of client matters.

I did a lot of informational interviews to get the lay of the land, which lead to a lot of introductions. In a few cases, I also got in from emailing associates who were alums of my school. If you have friends at firms, that's a perfect place to start. If they have a good relationship with a partner who knows the practice group head, they could ask that partner to inquire about potential openings. You don't want to go in with the attitude that you are entitled to a job, but going in with the attitude that you know you are a desirable candidate and you are being selective and doing due diligence is a good tactic. Present yourself as a rockstar associate who is looking for better opportunities- not a supplicant looking for a handout.

It takes a lot of time and legwork to do it this way, but I do think it leads to better results. A recruiter might get you in the door, but talking to lots of people will tell you if you actually want to join the group or not. The recruiter doesn't care if you actually are going to like the group- they just want a commission. A good informational interview will give you the scuttlebutt on what people think of the group and whether it's actually a good place.

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Re: Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

Postby bella07 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:42 pm

Yea I'm wondering about if I should. I'm clerking right now for a magistrate judge in my target, secondary market (previously clerked for a district judge in another district/tiny market). I worked at a small firm in a small market before that. I've heard from many recruiters that firms in larger markets (DC, NY) won't use them for clerkship hires. Is that true? I haven't found my recruiter particualrly helpful in my current market yet. But I am wondering if it makes sense to use one if you're targeting a general lit in bigger market where you are not living (and therefore can't do in person info interviews or network easily).
Can anyone share experiences using recruiters for a remote (large) market at the 4/5th year level?

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Re: Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:03 pm

I recently made the jump to a biglaw firm (though not V10) from non-law firm in a different, but same COL/"desirability" region without a recruiter. Junior/mid-level associate. I'm not sure why it would be an either-or situation:
  • In an informational call, a biglaw partner in my region of interest (and former hiring partner at that firm) advised against using a recruiter because of the cost (making me expensive to the firm)
  • I did have some recruiters reach out and "applied" for positions through them. I was mostly unimpressed.

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Re: Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:I recently made the jump to a biglaw firm (though not V10) from non-law firm in a different, but same COL/"desirability" region without a recruiter. Junior/mid-level associate. I'm not sure why it would be an either-or situation:
  • In an informational call, a biglaw partner in my region of interest (and former hiring partner at that firm) advised against using a recruiter because of the cost (making me expensive to the firm)
  • I did have some recruiters reach out and "applied" for positions through them. I was mostly unimpressed.


A partner told me the same thing. He said that I shouldn’t use a recruiter if I can help it. He told me to cold email partners because that would be more successful.

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Re: Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

Postby objctnyrhnr » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:38 pm

Speaking from experience, the credited response is this:

Best thing: get a partner to pass you through

Second best: get an associate to pass you through

Third best: recruiter

Fourth best: cold online Ap.

Generally speaking, the goal is to position yourself in a way that you have relationships with at least one person in the target group of every target firm of your target market BEFORE a position is posted. This is going to take a ton of legwork, a ton of organization, diligence, time, cold emails, but it can be done.

At the same time, develop relationships with 1-2 recruiters who place into your target market with regularity and indicate that they like your credentials enough that they’d be willing to pass you along. These should be your fallbacks if a position should
open in target market where you haven’t yet gotten a contact (see above).

The fact that recruiter submits will make it more expensive for the firm to hire you is correct. However a recruiter submit will also make it way more likely that you get an interview. Unless you have a perfect res, online aps are generally somewhat of a black box.

Good luck OP. Lateral searches can take 6-18 months.

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Re: Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:27 pm

I used a recruiter to secure a midlevel position in biglaw several years ago. After going through that process, this was my thinking re pros and cons:

Pros:

1. To me, the biggest reason to use a recruiter was that I had a non-traditional story at the point I was applying. After the usual traditional experience (clerkship + junior associate biglaw), I had transitioned out of biglaw to a different area of practice and was seeking to return after a multiyear absence. As a result, I was also open to returning as a different class year than my law school graduation year. I sent several cold applications to biglaw and was dinged without interview, so I suspected that they were having a hard time piecing together my story and/or figuring out whether I was serious about coming back just from cover letter + resume. I figured that working with a recruiter from a well-respected recruiting firm who had ties to in-house recruiting staff would help get me in the door, by giving me a chance to provide more of "my story" upfront via a third party than I could do in a cover letter. Moreover, the firm would be able to ask the recruiter some questions and ease any initial concerns they had, enough so to give me an interview opportunity. That's exactly what happened. I think anyone in this situation should consider using a recruiter - but see first "con" below.

2. You can hand off a lot of the "grunt work" to your recruiter, who will handle submitting materials, coordinate interviews, and even help with things like negotiating a higher salary or signing bonus after you receive an offer.

3. A good recruiter in your market should be able to speak fluently about the state of the lateral market in different practice groups, help you figure out how to package your experience to slot in to current openings, and feel out which firms are open to opportunistic hires even if they do not have current postings. It is MUCH harder to replicate this level of knowledge on your own (will likely take months (or longer) of informational interviewing and cultivating contacts).

Cons:

1. For anyone - but particularly those with non-traditional applications - the recruiting fee will make you marginally less attractive to firms. If they feel that they are taking a risk in bringing you on, that risk will feel safer if it doesn't come with a 50-60K sunk cost attached.

2. You may have more room to negotiate on signing bonus or salary for your first year if the firm doesn't have to pay a recruiter fee to bring you on board.

3. A recruiter's loyalties are somewhat tricky to suss out. Until you get your first offer, they are reasonably committed to doing everything they can to bring that offer in the door. Once you get that, they may be more focused on getting you to accept that offer (so they get paid with the least work possible) than continuing to push for you to receive additional opportunities. Likewise, if you are holding more than one offer, your recruiter's advice which one to accept may be influenced by differences in how much they get paid - and you may not be privy to that information.

Of course, all of this assumes you have a well-qualified, well-connected, and basically ethical recruiter. You should consult the many articles for recruiting best practices to make sure you don't get played by an unethical recruiter (e.g., one who sends your resume out to every firm in the market without your permission and regardless of whether there is an opening, meaning that a fee will be attached to your candidacy for a certain number of months regardless of whether you continue to work with that person or not - makes it harder for attorney friends to pass along your resume and for you to switch recruiters).

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Re: Is it better to apply to lateral with or without a recruiter?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:16 pm

Keep in mind that if you use a “friend” employed at your target firm that friend will likely receive a bounty ($35K is the highest I know of). Downside is, if the firm offers you and then you decline, your friend will be greatly disappointed (less concern if the same result occurs with a faceless recruiter). This happened to me once…. we’re still friends.



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