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Will A Legal Recruiter Help Me Leave Law?

Hindi Greenberg

Guest post by Hindi Greenberg

I am often asked if there is a list of recruiters who specialize in placing attorneys who are seeking to leave the legal profession. Those who ask it are hoping that someone will have a magic wand that can wave them into a new, better job outside of law. Unfortunately, the answer is no, there does not exist a list of recruiters who place attorneys in non-law positions. In fact, there are very few recruiters who will even work with a lawyer who is looking to move out of law.

There are legal recruiters, management recruiters, financial recruiters, high-tech recruiters and recruiters in a number of other fields. Each type of recruiter works with candidates who are looking to work in the same field in which they have previous experience — and it always needs to be good, relevant experience to qualify.

Recruiters rarely work with a newly trained or licensed candidate. Almost all recruiters are paid by the company or firm that is seeking to hire a relevant employee, and the fee is often 25 percent of the candidate’s first year salary.

The company or firm gives the recruiter a description of the desired experience for the perfect employee, and the recruiter then attempts to locate a candidate whose resume fits “four-square” with that description. Because the employer is paying a goodly sum of money for the services of the recruiter, most recruiters will not attempt to “fit a square peg into a round hole.” In other words, very few recruiters will try to talk their client into hiring a candidate whose resume doesn’t indicate that the candidate has exactly the requisite experience as requested by the employer.

This is true even if the lawyer could actually perform the work — the recruiter generally does not want to take a chance on alienating a good client. This doesn’t mean you can’t cultivate a similar job on your own, but most recruiters won’t help you. And very few recruiters will go out of their way to cultivate a potential employer for you, unless you are a “superstar” and looking for work in your same field.

That said, every once in a while, a recruiter will know about a job in a divergent field and see a possible synergy between the candidate and the employer. But in the 28 years I’ve been counseling lawyers who want to change jobs within law or leave the profession completely, I’ve personally known about fewer than five lawyers who were placed in a non-law job by a recruiter. And in all instances, the lawyer already had some experience related to the job description.

Because a recruiter probably won’t help you, the best way to land non-legal jobs for lawyers hasn’t changed in the past 28 years:

  • Figure out what field you would like to work in.
  • Research the possible jobs within that field.
  • Research the companies that hire employees to work in those jobs.
  • Network extensively with people who know about those jobs or employers.
  • Apply for either existing openings or try to get an employer to hire you because your skills will benefit her company.

Numerous lawyers in the past have successfully become former lawyers. You can do it, too.

What do you think of Hindi’s tips on leaving law? Let us know in the comments section below.

Hindi Greenberg, graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, California, and practiced law for ten years, founding Lawyers in Transition in 1985. She is a recognized expert on lawyer career issues and career alternatives, and author of The Lawyer’s Career Change Handbook. The Los Angeles Times called her “the Ann Landers for lawyers.”

Related Posts:

Don’t Wait For Recruiters!
“I Hate Being A Lawyer”
Popular Careers For Lawyers Beyond Law Practice

 

GET MY FREE SELF-ASSESSMENT!

Thinking of leaving the law? The best first step you can take is a good look in the mirror. START HERE:

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You’ll also get periodic updates, reminders & access to career guidance programs sent to your inbox. We respect your privacy. You can unsubscribe via a click at any time.