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Recruiting Firms As A Trusted Advisor

June 28, 2022

Legal Talent Outsourcing

Is Your Legal Recruiting Firm Your Law Firm’s Trusted Advisor?

People are one of a law firm’s most valuable assets, and law firms have struggled immensely over the last few years to recruit and retain great people. Legal recruiters play an integral role in helping law firms fill their needs for talented lawyers and legal recruitment.

In order to generate the best results, legal staffing agencies and law firms alike must view their relationships as much more than transactional. It’s only when a legal recruiting firm steps into the role of trusted advisor that it can make a significant and positive impact on the law firm clients it serves. And it’s only when law firms empower their recruiting partners that they can become trusted advisors.

The Recruiting Challenges Law Firms Continue to Face

The struggles law firms have faced in attracting and retaining talent over the last two years is no secret. According to data from the 2022 State of the Legal Market Report (the “Report”), associate turnover at law firms reached almost 25% through November 2021 on a rolling 12-month basis.

And the challenges continue in 2022. According to the Report, the top risks to profitability cited by law firms this year “all involved talent and the intense competition reflected in the currently raging talent war.”

These challenges have resulted in compensation spiraling upwards as firms have competed for an increasingly small pool of talent. And with firms continuing to match one another on compensation, high pay has become more of a table stakes expectation of candidates than a point of differentiation.

The good news for law firms is that money is just one factor among many that lawyers consider when evaluating whether to make a move to a new firm. There are other ways to differentiate and attract great people.

However, that requires (1) finding those people and (2) communicating a firm’s unique value proposition to them. And that’s where a legal recruiting firm, whose job it is to find great candidates, comes in. In order for a legal recruiter to effectively work on behalf of a law firm, and help it differentiate itself in the marketplace for talent, there must be a trusted advisor relationship between the firm and the recruiter.

Let’s discuss why that’s important and what’s required to make it happen.

A Less-is-More Approach to Legal Recruitment

Some firms take a maximalist approach to recruiting, unleashing as many recruiting firms as possible into the marketplace on their behalf in order to scour for candidates. The problem with this approach is that when there are many recruiters trying to fill a position and a finite number of candidates, it can muddy the waters. Recruiters will often be talking to the same candidates, and possibly sharing contradictory information in the process. For candidates, this raises questions about the firm behind the process.

In our experience, a better approach is to work with a small number of legal recruiters who know the firm and the market inside and out. In the high stakes of legal recruiting law firms can’t afford to hire the wrong candidate or miss out on hiring the right one.

Develop a Deep Understanding of The Firm and its Objectives

One of the reasons it is advantageous for law firms and staffing companies to have fewer but better relationships—trusted advisor relationships—is that it allows recruiters to gain a deep understanding of the firm, its unique value proposition, its points of differentiation, and its strategic objectives for the future.

Without the high level of trust that comes from a long-term, consistent working relationship, gaining that level of understanding is not possible.

We know from experience that we can work much more effectively on behalf of our clients who view us as a real trusted advisor, bringing us into the fold as opposed to holding us at arm’s length. For example, when a firm shares its strategic objectives with us, such as the intention to enter a new market or practice, even before it initiates a search for talent in connection with the objective, we are able to start laying the groundwork for an effective search.

And the flow of information and insight goes both ways in a trusted advisor relationship. Candidates tend to share much more information with a third-party recruiter than they would with a law firm, which means that a legal recruiter can provide firms with important market intelligence.

Invested in Your Success

Recruiting can be very transactional—earning and paying a fee for a service. But when a law firm embraces a legal recruiter as a trusted advisor, the relationship naturally evolves in a meaningful way. Just as a law firm becomes heavily invested in client relationships where it is seen as a trusted advisor, the same dynamic can play out between law firms and recruiters. And that makes a big difference in terms of recruiting candidates. When a recruiter is viewed as a trusted advisor, they become a more effective ambassador for the firm.

Lexitas is Your Trusted Advisor

At Lexitas, we aspire to form trusted advisor relationships with our law firm clients. We do this in part, by asking questions that get to the core of a client’s objectives—both with respect to the immediacy of an existing need and, perhaps more importantly, to what need may arise in the future. As the relationship deepens, the ability to effectively represent the client in the marketplace for talent increases. Law firms get the talent they need. And candidates find the right fit for the long term. A true win-win in the war for talent. Learn more about our legal talent outsourcing services.
Author Image

Meron Hewis

President of the Legal Talent Outsourcing

Meron Hewis is the President of the Legal Talent Outsourcing Division of Lexitas. Ms. Hewis has over 20 years of experience in legal consulting, project management, and alternative legal talent outsourcing solutions. She is a thought leader in the industry, providing unique legal solutions and designing the operations of various legal programs internationally.


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