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How we make a living
Providing "Insider" Knowledge and Counseling
Professional search consultants receive their fees from the legal hiring organizations that employ their candidates. Virtually every U.S. law firm of any size asks search consultants to help them with their hiring needs from time to time. When clients require large amounts of work to be done in short order and offer that work to a law firm that does not currently have the staff to complete the work, the firm has two choices: it can pass on the opportunity to do the work and give up the client to another firm or it can call a staffing service. At Law Firm Staff, Inc., solving situations such as this for our clients is our bread and butter. We know the market from both the employer side and the candidate side, because we live it every day. Where temporary attorney and paralegal placement is concerned, all firms have a need for these services on occasion.
We also place paralegals and other law firm staff members in permanent positions with firms. When searching for a permanent position, candidates generally need someone to lobby "behind the scenes," gathering information about the culture of each legal hiring organization and finding out what salary range is available. It always helps candidates to be presented professionally to the right people within each legal hiring organization, after being given "inside" information that most applicants could never obtain on their own. A professional search consultant knows how to counsel candidates about the people who will be interviewing them and can protect their confidentiality. Prior to sending a candidate out on interviews, a search consultant can tell her which firms are most likely to value her specific talents and personality. Once the interview is over, valuable feedback can be obtained by the recruiter and passed on to the candidate.
Firms that don't use professional search consultants for permanent placements typically pay well below market-rate salaries (usually 50 percent or more below) and are usually not in a "growth mode." In general, most of our candidates would not be interested in securing positions with these firms anyway. Moreover, a good candidate rarely wants to conduct his own job search because he knows it's an arduous task and he wants the up-to-date, inside information that's often only available to recruiters.
Setting Reasonable Fee Structures
The fees charged by professional search consultants vary. Fees are typically negotiated via contractual arrangements with the legal hiring organizations. As you can imagine, these negotiations can require a substantial amount of work. That is why some search consultants may only have five opportunities available in any given city at a time. Fortunately, there are organizations like Law Firm Staff, Inc., which often have 250 or more job listings for various markets.
Some legal hiring organizations pay professional search consultants as little as five percent of a year's salary for permanent placements, while others pay more. Many professional search consultants demand certain set rates from legal hiring organizations before they will introduce a candidate to them. Our standard fee is lower than most legal search firms we know of. We will work with almost any firm to set a reasonable fee that helps our candidates to find a suitable position. This in turn helps us provide our candidates with more options. In fact, in most markets, we believe we have better coverage than most of the other legal search firms.
Our philosophy is that people who are focused on making money do not stay around long because our focus is on the candidates we serve at all costs. On a daily basis, we counsel lawyers who are considering an unproductive move to stay at their existing firm. Additionally, when we believe that a legal professional candidate would be better served by going to a firm that does not work with recruiters, we tell our candidates about the opening. It's our ability to prioritize the results that helps provide us with more opportunities. In fact, we believe our focus helps everything else simply "fall into place."
We are sometimes surprised by the ethics displayed by professional search consultants who seem more concerned with their personal, short-term rewards than the long-term satisfaction of the hiring organizations they serve and their candidates. Our focus, in all respects, is long term. We keep our standard fees low, frequently negotiate them down, and have never raised our fees.
Law Firm Staff, Inc. is a "full service organization" that is firmly committed to improving the legal profession as a whole. Firms that do not use recruiters typically try their luck by advertising in legal publications. We enter and update this type of information in our databases on a daily basis. Yet don't be mistaken; we have bills to pay, too. However, we've decided to take a long-term approach to interacting with our clients and candidates.
For all of the reasons set forth above, we believe that Law Firm Staff, Inc. will remain at the forefront of the professional search consulting field. We feel privileged to serve the legal profession.
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