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Providing Insight and Strategic Advice about Legal Recruiting

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Secrets To Getting Recruiters To Work With You

If you are having trouble getting attorney recruiters to work on your behalf to find a job, there could be a variety of reasons.  It is important to identify the reasons and take steps to correct them.  Rifkin Consulting often works with those attorneys who are having trouble getting a job and can give sound advice on making yourself more attractive to employers.

What Can I Do To Get A Recruiter's Attention?

Attorney recruiters are like any other professionals; they want the most employable attorneys on their books.  They have the best chance of placing these attorneys to big law firms and therefore making larger commissions.  Recruiters often have parameters, i.e., some attorney recruiters do not accept attorneys who are looking for jobs in small firms, who are unemployed, or seeking employment in certain practice areas.

However, that does not mean that all recruiters feel this way or that there are no recruiters who will work with you.  It may be that you are looking in the wrong places.

Sit down and make two lists:  one of your experience and skills in a short, condensed form and one of your career preferences.  Type these up in a concise, one-page letter that you can include with your resume.  This will help you talk to recruiters about your skills and your career goals quickly and weed out recruiters that simply cannot help you.

Now is also a good time to see if there may be glaring problems with your CV.   Were you disciplined by a bar association or denied licensure for some reason?  If so, you may find that recruiters are shying away but could promote your resume to a law firm with a good explanation of what happened.  Never be afraid to tell the truth; most recruiters have seen various problems with attorneys and may have unique ways of handling your issues.

The Keys To Finding a Good Recruiter

It is very possible that recruiters simply do not know that you are looking for a job, especially if you are unemployed.  Contacting a recruiter with your resume may be the easiest way to get your name and face out to potential employers, particularly the decision-makers in the firm.  Finding a good recruiter can be difficult; you could rely on the recommendations of those who have successfully worked with recruiters or research the web to review recruiting firms' web sites and reviews.

A good attorney recruiter will help you find employment by matching you with existing law firm jobs.  Many recruiters have access to information about jobs that are not necessarily available through normal channels.  By helping aspiring attorneys find jobs with top firms as well as "boutique" law practices, attorney recruiters can be a valuable resource, especially for attorneys who are just beginning a job search and are not sure where to look for the right type of employment.

Rifkin Consulting is proud to work with attorneys who face many types of challenges in finding the perfect jobs.  For many years, Rifkin Consulting has helped California attorneys find the right jobs with the best law firms and has helped employers identify legal talent.  Rifkin Consulting also works with attorneys who are currently employed in order to help them make lateral moves and improve their career prospects. 


I Was Promised a Position in the Litigation Department But Now They Stuck Me in Corporate. What Should I Do? Can I Switch Practice Areas?

You finally found a position that you thought would be your "dream job."  The partners liked you and promised to put you right to work in litigation, an area in which you are desperate to gain experience.  However, it has been six months and you have yet to touch your first case.  Instead, they have you in the corporate department, spending your days up to your elbows in mind-numbing paperwork and boring meetings.

This scenario is not as uncommon as you might think.  The only way to "compel" a law firm to allow you to do the work you want to do is to have in hand a written contract specifying that you will be allowed to perform certain tasks, and most law firms are simply not going to give you this when you are hired.  Far more firms rely on a "gentlemen's" (or ladies') agreement and a handshake to specify your job duties.

Do you have any recourse when you find that your dream job is not what you thought it would be?  There is, of course, the possibility of quitting, but most lawyers these days are just glad they have found work and are reluctant to give up their jobs.  Should you suffer in silence?  Actually, there are ways you may change practice areas, but they require you to understand a few basic rules about working in a law firm.

  • Your skills are a commodity for which the partners are willing to pay.  The best way to change practice areas is to show that you are a valuable commodity in the area in which you want to work.  Of course, you cannot get trial experience if you are in corporate, but this may be a time when you can "volunteer" to do some of the "dirty work" for large cases in exchange for sitting in on some trials.  It is not litigation, but it is a foot in the door and will often attract the attention of the partners.
  • Talk to your boss.  The partner to whom you answer most may have some power to help you change practice areas, but it is unlikely that this will happen.  However, what you can do is to agree to do the work already assigned to you plus some extra assignments.  This shows the partners that you are willing to help where needed but do want to gain experience in other areas.  Your good attitude will go a long way to solving the problem.
  • Make no threats.  Lawyers, like most people, do not like threats.  The fastest way to be sure that you are denied what you want is to take a threatening stance, such as threatening to quit if you do not get your way.  Weigh the value of having a job against the value of doing what you want to do before you decide to resign.

While it is important to get experience in the areas in which you want to specialize, it is also important to maintain your integrity while job seeking.  If you do decide to leave, be sure to give plenty of notice and finish the cases to which you are assigned.

Rifkin Consulting can help you when the time comes to change jobs by finding the right law firm and position to match your skills and preferences.




Help! I Hate My New Job!

Sometimes the dream job you thought you would love turns out to be a nightmare position from which you feel you may never escape.  This is especially distressing when you have just started a new job and decide in a very short time that you despise the people or the position or both.  How soon is too soon to start looking for another job?  Will changing a job too quickly look bad on your resume?

The Dilemma of A Bad Job

Bad jobs create their own terrible dilemma.  If you quit the job, you risk being earmarked as a quitter or a “job hopper”; however, if you do not quit, you risk not only being miserable but perhaps being fired by the boss who likes you no better than you like him or her.

Generally, your happiness and mental health are worth more than any job.  However, you also have to be able to balance your own needs against the danger of moving from job to job whimsically.

A few things to consider when choosing whether or not to leave a job you just started:

  • Do you have another job waiting?  In some cases, attorneys take jobs only to receive a much better offer.  If you have another firm that has extended you an offer, it is much easier to jump ship with fewer negative consequences than if you simply quit abruptly with no prospects.
  • Are you being discriminated against?  There are some actions that can be construed as illegal discrimination such as sexual harassment.  If you are experiencing illegal harassment or discrimination, talk to another attorney immediately who specializes in these cases.  Never attempt to handle a situation such as this on your own.
  • Is there a chance of changing your job assignments?  Perhaps what is bothering you about your job is not the people you work with but the work itself.  Talk to your supervisor to see if your talents are being utilized fully.  If not, make suggestions for changes and be prepared to do some extra work to show your bosses where your talents lie.
  • Have you changed jobs suddenly in the past?  When it comes to a rapid job change, establishing a pattern is far more damaging than one “do over.”  While there will always be employers who will eye you askance if you quit a job after only a few weeks, most understand that anyone can get into one bad situation.  However, if you change jobs routinely, you are letting everyone know that you would rather leave than work out any problems you may have with a firm, its members or your job duties.

How Unhappy Are You?

The biggest question to answer when you are considering leaving a job you just started is:  how unhappy are you?  You may honestly have given the job a fair chance, but it is also possible that you are allowing your dislike to color your viewpoint.  One way to measure how reasonable your dislike of a job really is could be to talk with someone you trust and who is willing to give you an objective opinion of your situation.

If you find that you simply cannot stand to keep a job, of course you must move on.  However, be sure that you are making the right decision and that you are willing to accept the consequences of making a sudden job change before you turn in your notice.


Top 10 Reasons to Work with a Recruiter

There are very good reasons to work with an attorney recruiter when searching for attorney jobs in CA or when law firms have positions to fill.  Here are the top ten reasons an attorney recruiter in CA can help match the right candidate with the right job.

  1. A legal recruiter works with a select group of candidates.  Part of the screening process is already done by the time a recruiter submits a resume to a law firm.  This prevents the law firm from spending unnecessary time reviewing unsuitable candidates and avoids the problem of candidates applying for inappropriate law jobs in CA.
  2. Recruiters have networks.  Recruiters know the senior-level partners at law firms and have already established a relationship with them.  This works in both the candidate’s favor and that of the law firm seeking to fill an important position.
  3. A recruiter’s success depends on yours.  A recruiter only gets paid if a candidate is hired.  Therefore, the recruiter’s goals are the same as the law firm’s:  to find the right candidate for the job.
  4. Recruiters do more than cheerlead.  Recruiters also provide career guidance, information on law firm history and particular job criteria, resume analysis and interview tips.
  5. A legal recruiter specializes in the legal industry.  A legal recruiter focuses only on legal jobs.  Therefore, a legal recruiter is intimately connected with all the workings of both law firms in general and particular organizations.
  6. Recruiters provide interview assistance.  Recruiters have dealt with particular law firms and may know questions that are likely to be asked in the interview process as well as information on the firm itself.
  7. Recruiters have access to unpublished job openings.  Legal recruiters are often the first to hear about potential job openings and may be the only source of information on some jobs.  Law firms may choose not to publish their job openings on the Internet or in other sources and may rely solely on the services of a recruiter to fill various jobs.
  8. Recruiters know staff as well as attorneys.  A good legal recruiter has formed relationships with members of a law firm at every level.  Sometimes the staff has great influence on hiring decisions.
  9. A good recruiter can provide insights.  Legal recruiters study trends in the legal field and can provide an overall view of the hiring prospects in a given location or particular legal field.
  10. Recruiters take confidentiality seriously.  A good recruiter keeps your resume and job-seeking information private.  In today’s technologically-advanced world, this is difficult to do when you use various social media or other venues to look for jobs.

A legal recruiter can be a wonderful benefit in your legal job search.  Rifkin Consulting has many years of experience helping legal candidates look for jobs and helping law firms connect with the right candidates for their various positions.  With the help of Rifkin Consulting, quality attorneys can come together with the right law firms to benefit both.


What to Ask Your Attorney Recruiter

Hiring an attorney recruiter is a process, in some ways, similar to a job interview.  You must be sure that the attorney recruiter is a good match for your needs, and the recruiter must be sure that you are the type of candidate he or she wants to represent.  The process of “interviewing” a legal recruiter should be taken every bit as seriously as your job interviews and may well have even more lasting ramifications. 

An attorney recruiter in CA such as Rifkin Consulting serves a very important purpose.  Finding the right attorney jobs in CA is not a simple task, and hiring an attorney recruiter is one of the best ways to weed through the hundreds of law jobs in CA and find the one that best suits your goals and talents.

Therefore, there are several things you should ask your attorney recruiter before agreeing to representation.  Here are a few questions you should ask to learn the important information you need to make the right choice in legal recruiting firms from among those available.

  • How long have you been working as an attorney recruiter?  Ask to see the credentials of the person you are hiring to represent you to law firms throughout the state.  A professional attorney recruiting firm has usually been in business for years, offering you a chance to review their success stories and see their development as a key player in the legal field.

  • How do you go about choosing the right jobs for me?  This is a crucial question and is really the key to the success or failure of an attorney recruiter in terms of finding the right positions for you.  The attorney recruiter should use a verifiable method of weeding out job possibilities so that he or she focuses only on those that will fit your demands.  You do not want a recruiter who simply passes your resume to any law firm that is hiring.

  • Do you offer support services?  An attorney recruiter should offer other services such as resume editing, interview preparation and advice on choosing the right job.  Simply brokering your resume to law firms is not enough.

  • Do you have references to whom I can speak?  The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” can also be applied to references.  No matter how good a firm tells you it is, hearing it from someone who has used the firm successfully means much more.  You should also search the Internet for possible bad references; while one or two do not mean much, a number of bad reviews may signal trouble.

  • How do you calculate your fees?  An attorney recruiting firm is paid by the employer when a candidate is hired and begins employment.

It is also important to consider the necessity of maintaining confidentiality and discretion in this process. You may have other questions to ask a potential attorney recruiter.  Do not be afraid to ask for clarification or information; after all, this may be one of the most important relationships of your life. 


What to Put on the Front of a Business Card

As an attorney recruiter, I have seen a variety of business cards slide across my desk.  Some have been good, some have been bad, and some have been downright ugly.  It seems trite, but your business card truly is your own personal form of marketing.  What you put on your business card should reflect your brand as an attorney candidate. 

The front of a business card is the first thing many people see when you introduce yourself.  Therefore, the front of your business card, along with your appearance, can make or break your chances for a job or to retain a client.  As a legal recruiter, I have heard law firms exclaim in surprise that they thought the business card did not inspire confidence in the candidate before them.  It is worth the effort to examine the front of your business card and determine the most important information to include as well as the placement of that information in the most eye-catching manner.

Having an effective business card means more than just printing your name and telephone number on the front.  Not only should you have certain information on your card, you should also include this information in way that immediately draws the eye to the important points and makes a statement about your professionalism and organizational skills.

Here are a few rules to follow when designing the front of your business card.

  • Do not cram.  It is tempting to put all of your information on the front of your card, but resist the temptation.  A “busy” card turns off prospective clients and employers with sensory overload.  Include only vital contact information; save the bios and other non-essentials for a resume or your web site. Legal candidates intent on impressing law firms can do so with their professional business card backed by a resume and portfolio which offer the pertinent details.

  • Do not use funky fonts.  Cute fonts are appropriate for bake sale posters, not a business card.  Use clear, legible fonts and add an interesting logo for art value.  Be sure the font is large enough to be read easily.

  • Leave some white space.  Many people jot notes on business cards, so leave a little white space to accommodate this habit.

  • Consider a “call to action.”  If you include any statement on your business card other than your contact information, make it short and sweet and make it a call to action.  A call to action suggests and action someone can take following their perusal of your information.  Think about how to work your call to action in a very short statement and include it at the bottom of the card.

  • Avoid too many colors.  While professionally-printed cards give you the option to include colors, avoid using more than two or three.  A little color adds interest; too much dazzles the eyes and causes confusion.  Keep all your printed information a single color in groups; for example, all your contact information should be one color while your call to action could be a second color and your logo a third.

When it comes to obtaining a lawyer job in California, your business card could be the first step in or out of the door. Rather than leaving it to chance, attorney candidates should give it the careful review it deserves.



Resume Prepping

As attorney recruiters, we see hundreds of resumes slide across our desks. Unfortunately, although this is an incredibly important part of your overall image, many people are unaware of how to craft a resume that screams hire me, not file me in the waste basket. 

Your resume is the most important thing you send out when you are looking for a job.  Preparing a resume should not be something you do the night before a job interview; in fact, your resume is an asset just as money in a bank account is an asset.  It is also organic, changing, and growing as you gain experience.  Updating your resume should be an ongoing activity, and there are specific rules you should follow as you work on perfecting this important document.

When seeking law jobs in CA, it's important for attorney candidates to understand the necessary elements to preparing a successful attorney resume.  Our attorney recruitment firm offers editing services for attorney candidates as a standard service, but candidates can benefit from these necessary components.

  • Your resume must be perfect.  No ifs, ands or buts—your resume is not allowed to have errors.  This is the cardinal rule of resume writing.  You are not allowed to have spelling errors, grammatical problems, or anything else that could be construed as a mistake.  This may seem harsh, but jobs have been lost over a single spelling error in a resume.  Remember, in many cases people will be looking at your resume long before they meet you, so this is your only chance to make a good first impression.  If you're seeking placement at a top tier law firm, your resume must be impeccable.

  • Edit, edit, edit.  The way to avoid costly errors in your resume is to edit more than once and through different channels.  Start by writing out your resume “warts and all” and then begin trimming, tweaking and fixing it until you believe it is perfect.  It would not be at all remiss to edit your resume ten different times before finally settling on the perfect draft, and you may have to edit even more often. 

  • Get help.  The more eyes that see your resume, the better.  After you have edited, ask for help from others.  Start with a friend or relative.  Ask him or her to read it carefully with pen in hand and circle any areas that are unclear or seem to contain errors.  Re-read your resume with the edits; you will be surprised at how a fresh set of eyes finds mistakes you missed or points out things that are unclear.  Edit with these changes in mind, then have another person read it, then another until you are satisfied that the changes you have made are the right ones.

  • Use professionals.  Paying for help in writing your resume is not a sign of weakness but of wisdom.  Professionals can help you determine the best way to phrase information, what to include and exclude and can give your final resume draft the editing it needs to ensure perfection. If you pay professionals, be sure they have experience in the legal field.  Our legal recruitment firm is happy to help candidates edit their resumes to land the perfect job.  If you land the perfect job as a result of your resume, it is well worth seeking professional help.

If a candidate is self-submitting, he or she should be very aware of how impersonal these systems are.  Although efficient, they do not “feel” the person with a cover letter or resume that has had professional guidance, and are less likely to make it to the next level.  They are very key word driven, and every effort must be taken to have your submissions materials be impeccable.  This is where a skilled attorney recruiter can offer help to a candidate that is invaluable.



How to Follow Up After an Interview

You may have heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  This also applies to a well-written follow-up to an interview. Our attorney recruiters often advise attorney candidates that while once considered unique, a follow up is now just good manners.  These days, it is expected that attorney candidates can and will follow up with interviewers to show a deeper understanding of items mentioned and an appreciation for meeting the busy members of the firm.

Even experts sometimes neglect the crucial time just after an interview, but this is a time when, psychologically, many things may hang in the balance of choosing a candidate for hire.  The more you can do to make yourself stand out to the partners or hiring committee, the better your chances of securing the job. Our legal recruitment firm has compiled some great tips to follow up   well after a good interview.

  • Send requested information immediately.  It is not unusual for firms to request information you do not have available at an interview.  It is better if you prepare in advance:  bring extra copies of your resume, bring your law school portfolio, or bring anything else you might need.  However, you cannot plan for every contingency.  If a partner requests a copy of a brief you wrote, for example, you may have to send it after the interview.  Be sure you do so immediately—as soon as you walk in the door from the interview, in fact.  Email makes this easy to do.  As legal recruiters, we recommend making this a priority when you get home from an interview.  There is a current trend of law school career centers advising candidates not to send emails, as they are saying there is a chance to make errors and ruin your chances for receiving an offer.  I completely disagree with this, as it continues to be seen as good manners.  There is no excuse for an error if you have someone (that you trust and respect) proof-read it.  We all make errors at times – but that is not a good reason to avoid action.

  • Send a short follow-up thank-you note.  Good manners may seem to have become a lost art, but the impact of a short “thank you” often goes underestimated.  Sending a short letter by “snail mail” will reach the hiring partners around the time they are considering who to hire.  The letter should not overdo your qualifications, but should definitely remind the partners that you hope to be considered for the position and feel you would be a good fit for the firm.

  • What do I do if I hear nothing?  This is a perennial problem for job seekers: what seems like a long time to you may seem short to busy employers who have not even met to discuss who to hire while you sit at home on pins and needles.  The rule of thumb is:  if the partners tell you to expect an answer in ten days, it is okay to contact the firm after two weeks if you have not heard.  On the other hand, if the partners do not give you a firm date, wait two weeks, make a short contact and then wait another two weeks to follow up.  Unfortunately, some firms are guilty of failing to tell candidates who were not chosen for the job that they were not hired, leading them to wait in vain.  You are entitled to know whether you got the job, but do not “bug” the partners with daily calls or emails. You might want to instead rely upon your attorney recruiter to make inquiries into whether or not you got the job.

Choosing Between Jobs

One problem that everyone wants to have is deciding between two or more job offers.  However, this can actually be a very emotionally challenging problem.  Agonizing over two equally good jobs is difficult; it helps to “make a list” of the pros and cons of each job, but what factors should be important in choosing the right position?

As an experienced attorney recruiter, I often see how this choice plays out for attorney candidates.  When candidates are torn between positions, there are often some factors which may provide the answer.  Not all law jobs in California are created equally, so attorney candidates can use the following information to decide between the right position and a position that may just be ok.

  • Location, location, location.  Remember that the location of your job offer is just as important, if not more so, than the salary.  What looks like a large salary in Washington, D.C., or New York City will not go as far as the small salary you are offered in Topeka, Kansas.  However, if you want to work in a Wall Street firm or for an international law firm in the nation’s capital, a job in Topeka will not meet your goals.  You must decide where you want to work and narrow your choices based on your preferences.
  • Salary.  Salary is actually composed of far more than money.  In order to get a true picture of the compensation you are being offered, you must include factors such as benefits and the number of hours you are expected to work.  If a firm offers a high salary but expects 120 hours of work per week, you should take a look at the quality of life you desire.  If you have a new baby at home you'd like to see, you may be better off accepting a job with a lower salary and more time off.  Similarly, jobs with no health insurance or retirement are likely to yield a much lower standard of living, even with higher salaries, than jobs that offer these benefits. As a skilled legal recruiter, I often advise candidates to consider this point carefully.
  • Climate.  You must determine your own temperament when it comes to corporate climate.  For example, you may wish to work in a large, high-energy firm where deadlines are always looming.  On the other hand, you may wish to work in a small, laid-back firm where people take their time.  Normally, larger firms are more eager to higher new talent but there is also great competition for promotion.  A smaller firm may offer better opportunity; however, some small firms are so stagnant that upward mobility is impossible.  Consider your goals carefully before you decide on the firm in which you are interested.
  • Purpose.  You might want to consider a position in a general law firm to gain valuable experience in many areas, but some attorneys want a job in a specific field.  You may have to make a decision between your “dream job” and a more pedestrian position using the other criteria for job evaluation.


5 Things To Do While Waiting For An Interview

When you're looking for lawyer jobs in California, it can sometimes seem like an eternity before you're called in for an interview.  Waiting to be called for an interview can be emotionally difficult.  It can mean hours of sitting by the phone or the computer, waiting for a call or an email. 

As skilled attorney recruiters, we see this frustration a lot.  Instead of suffering and putting yourself through stress, why not use this time to your advantage? Here are some tips to help you use the time between sending in your resume and your actual interview wisely.

  • Research the firms to which you have applied.  It is always wise to walk into an interview with some knowledge of the firm’s structure, purpose, partners and corporate climate.  With a little research on the Internet, you can find out a great deal of information about any law firm's corporate climate, including partner bios, large settlements or cases handled, how many attorneys are working in the firm and which lawyers work with which cases. As an attorney recruitment firm, we strongly advise doing your homework!
  • Make notes and study them.  If you have narrowed your choices down to a few law firms to which you have applied, it should be easy to construct a “cheat sheet” on each firm.  You can then study these sheets prior to your interview; this will help you feel more confident before you sit in with the partners.
  • If possible, talk to those who have worked in the firm before.  If you have any connections to any former or present employees of the firm, now would be a good time to talk to them about their experience with the partners, associates and case load. Try reaching out to former employees listed on LinkedIn. Many people are happy to give attorney candidates a realistic look at life in the firm. However, candidates should keep in mind that this person does not represent the firm and may offer a very subjective point of view about life at the firm. 
  • Brush up on recent cases in your area of expertise.  Just because you are out of law school does not mean you cannot continue to learn about new cases and precedents in your field.  It is also wise to brush up on current events that may impact your hoped-for job; for example, an attorney applying for a position in a real estate firm could definitely use some information on current housing market trends.
  • Make a list of questions and conduct mock interviews.  Partner with someone else who is job-seeking and hold mock interviews in which you both generate questions that you could be asked in the “real” interview.  You will be surprised how many questions you both can come up with in a short time and how much you learn from the mock interview experience.  If possible, video your mock interview; this may be painful but it will definitely give you a good look at how you present yourself and help you work on areas of weakness.  Since law firms often employ a three step process to interviewing, this can help to prepare a candidate for success. 


What’s on the Back of Your Business Card?

Part 1; What Does It Say About You As a Person?

Our business cards serve a variety of purposes, all relating to marketing.  In the United States, we typically use our business card(s) for introductory purposes – informative, if you will.  Its primary purpose is to inform the recipient about our name, nature of our business and contact information.   Sometimes it’s perused – but frequently it’s discarded once a meeting is completed.  Modern technology now offers a myriad of methods for scanning the information and adding it to a CMS.

I believe that it takes a good deal more thought – and is much more challenging – to be able to articulate what the back of your business card would say….WHO are you?  Although you’re unlikely to include this personal information on the back of your card, it is really fundamental to understanding:

  • Why you do what you do
  • How you do what you do
  • What people don’t know about you (that you might wish they did)

In fact, this level of self-awareness should be periodically evaluated because we change

Question: If you were drafting text for the back of your card, what might it reveal?  Are you a charitable soul who takes great pleasure in making others’ lives better?  Do you sing opera in the shower?  Are you enjoying writing poetry that no one will ever read, but doing so makes your soul sing?  Is gourmet cooking your favorite form of exercise?  Are you an avid reader of mystery novels?  Based on your answer(s), are you spiritual, philosophical, logical methodical, pragmatic, impulsive, athletic…?  Sometimes seeing our “personal profile” in black and white reminds us of what’s important to us – and also what makes us unique.  In a world where we frequently are over-extended in so many ways, this is truly a purposeful exercise!

The Next Step:  It’s often said that one’s personal life and business are a reflection of each other….is this true of you?  Do you do what you love – or what you need to do to get a paycheck (probably what most people do)?  If you are among the latter group, can you take this understanding and find ways to incorporate WHO you are into your work?  Will you set aside a day, an hour, an afternoon, or a commute to ponder what would enhance your daily routine to make you feel more complete?  It’s not selfish – it’s caring.  The more satisfied we are with our daily lives, the happier and more content those around us will be.  Enjoy the journey!


Benefits of Working With an Attorney Recruiter

Attorney Recruiting

With the economy in recession, it may be difficult to find career opportunities that match your criteria, experience, and academic achievement. The economic crisis has left few jobs on the market and even lawyers are having difficulty trying to find employment that matches their requirements. You may have considered working with an attorney recruiter, but are still uncertain whether or not you should. Here are several reasons why an attorney recruiter can assist you in building an enriching and successful career as an attorney:

Appearance and Presentation:

Often, applicants do not hear back from potential employers because their cover letters and resumes are unsuccessful and ineffective. Most attorneys are so busy applying to numerous jobs that they do not research each law firm’s background and goals. Ultimately, many attorneys make the awful mistake of sending out generic and plain cover letters and resumes. This usually leads to fruitless results.

Cover letters should be tailored to the law firm and used to create a connection with the firm's recruiting department. If you are not referencing your knowledge of the firm or engaging the reader within the first paragraph, your cover letter will likely be tossed.

Additionally, if your resume and cover letter contain typographical errors, you will most likely not hear back from them. Your first impression, even though on paper, needs to be completely flawless. Fortunately, an attorney recruiter can edit your resume and draft an impressive cover letter while also providing background on the law firm to ensure that your presentation catches the reader's attention.

Interview and Impression:

Numerous applicants find the interview process utterly challenging with multiple phone and in person interviews. The process can be stressful, nerve-wracking, and brutal. It is of the utmost importance that you appear to be the right candidate for the position, but most often interviewees become nervous and fail to create the right impression. An attorney recruiter can help you with the interview process by providing effective tips to guide you in selling your skills and experience.  

Networking:

Ever heard the expression: “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? Well the statement rings completely true in searching for the right career opportunities. It is absolutely crucial to establish long-lasting connections and relationships in order to generate the best career opportunities. This may be a daunting task for a new or young attorney.  At Rifkin Consulting, we offer the benefit of more than 25 years of experience with the legal industry and have many well established relations with successful law firms and exceptional attorneys.

Contact Rifkin Consulting

Whether you are a young associate or longtime partner, we can help provide you with employment opportunities for a permanent and successful career. Our attorney recruiters have your best interest in mind and will search for top tier law firms that exceed your requirements.  Contact one of our consultants today so we can assist in achieving your long-term goals as an attorney. 


Tips for Effective Attorney Networking

Job Opportunities Lacking

During this economic downfall, job opportunities are slim to none. Even attorneys with impressive academic achievement and professional experience may have difficulty publicizing their skills or gaining employment offers. The legal field is becoming increasingly competitive with fewer jobs per day.

When searching for potential workplaces, one must work endlessly to increase their chances. One particular method of widening your probability of finding employment is through networking. Networking can be defined as the cultivation of productive relationships for employment.

Networking

Do not be fooled. Networking is not always laborious and boring – it can be enjoyable and consist of numerous social activities. While networking does require time and effort, it does not always have to feel like a tedious chore. There are several activities that can help widen your pool of relationships including:

·         Stay connected with old friends. Reach out to old colleagues and professors and strengthen the relationships you already have. You may surprised by how many individuals are willing to act as a reference or offer helpful advice.

·         Take part in social media networking. Create accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook if you have not done so already. Stay active and engaged on the boards so that you may create connections and be informed about important events and seminars. Social media networking will also assist you in reconnecting with long lost colleagues.

·         Attend events that you are interested in and put yourself out there. Try to network and create lasting connections with people you would enjoy working with in the near future. When event networking, remember to look presentable, friendly, and have business cards ready. Aim for energetic conversations that engage the listener. Do not appear shy or uncomfortable as you want to create an upbeat and positive first impression.

Attorney Recruiting

While networking may be able to increase your chances of job opportunities, it may not be completely effective in landing you your dream job. One should consider the importance of a flawless resume and cover letter while being able to handle the interview process with absolute ease. Attorney recruiting can help you with all aspects of building a successful career.

If you are an attorney struggling to find employment possibilities, you should consider attorney recruiting. The attorney recruiters at Rifkin Consulting have 25 years of practice in working with attorneys and law firms. The consultants will be able to improve your resume, prepare you for interviews, and discover top tier law firms in critical need of applicants. With well established connections and years of experience, the Rifkin consultants will be able to provide you with the right career opportunities for a permanent and enriching career.


How Attorney Partner Placements Have Changed Since 2007

As an attorney search consultant, I believe that partner placements and legal recruiting have become increasingly difficult - and different - during the last five years.  The primary reason for this is that as the economy took a drastic turn, many partners' portable books of business did also.  As a result, they were faced with two very difficult and contradictory situations: (1) without significant business they may have gotten the "wink and the nod" that they should seek work elsewhere, and/or (2) making a lateral move was difficult because their portable business had diminished.  Firms are more reluctant over the last few years to take a "gamble" on partners who previously did well.

Additionally, they significantly raised the required book of "verifiable" business before considering adding them to the firm.  Whereas 1 million in portable business used to be a sought-after number, for many large firms that has been raised to 2 million in portable business.  Smaller firms generally tend to want to see candidates in at least the $400K-$500K range.

An additional change that I've seen, and continue to observe, is with attorneys who were previously "service partners".  These attorneys often did not do business development, nor were they encouraged to do so, because there was enough work from other partners.  Sometimes it was even discouraged.

Unfortunately, when the economy experienced a downturn and the work was no longer plentiful, these senior attorneys who were not self-supporting were often told to find other work.  Again, the lack of portable business was a harsh reality that has continued to plague many.  I have spoken with many attorneys in this situation - some have gone from making huge salaries to just getting by.  They have become a sad casualty of the economy – and the evolution of the law firm model - as a result of the recession.  My sense is that even when the economy rebounds, service partners will be less desirable than previously.  I always advise candidates to do whatever they can to be self-supporting - it's ultimately a matter of survival.


Ask a Recruiter – Part 3; Why Do You Ask Me So Many Questions?

I’ve noticed that the most informed and highly-regarded attorney recruiters want to obtain a lot of information from me.  What if I don’t want to tell them about my salary or why I want to leave my job?  Can’t they just tell me what jobs are available in the market?

Understanding several things about professional recruiters will not only answer these questions, but will also enhance your overall recruiting experience.

  • Recruiters are compensated by the law firm (client) – not the attorney candidate.
  • Reputation, integrity and information are an attorney recruiters’ most valuable assets.
  • Relationships should be established that are based on trust, candor and good communication.

Given that recruiters are compensated by the clients, it’s crucial that we carefully screen candidates for important information; examples of this would be salary, required compensation, ability to relocate, hours regularly billed, and about their evaluations.  In-depth screening helps us determine whether a candidate is a good fit for a particular job, a personality fit for a prospective employer, and helps us to assess whether a candidate will be communicative and forthcoming during the placement process.  This information should be kept in the strictest confidence (at Rifkin Consulting, we take this seriously and have a Privacy Statement on our website.  Read it here

The recruiting process frequently takes a good deal of time.  However, there are often times when we need a timely response from a candidate, such as when scheduling an interview.  If we are working with a candidate who is difficult to track down and does not show genuine interest in exploring opportunities, then it's better to know this early on so that we can direct our efforts on placements that are more likely to move forward and with candidates who are more willing.

Specific job information is rarely shared during a first call or email.  Our insider information is a valuable asset – and recruiters want to feel confident that a candidate will not utilize this information outside of the relationship for self-gain.  Sounds terrible – but it happens.  Therefore, it’s important that we first try to determine whether this job seeker is serious about a job search and willing to be loyal and work together once information is shared.  There are several ways this can be ascertained, such as if the candidate quickly sends a resume other requested materials and information that are crucial to the process.  Additionally, it’s very important for a candidate to provide a list of any submissions that have already been made, so that the recruiter can move forward in an informed manner and not duplicate efforts.  Once a candidate takes advantage of a recruiter or is dishonest, the relationship can rarely be repaired. 

We are your managers, your counselors... facilitating the process on your behalf from beginning to end.  With mutual respect,  the relationship can be rewarding, long-term and successful!


Ask a Recruiter – Part 2; Hello...is Anybody There?

I have sent my resume to several attorney recruiters and none of them responded.  Couldn’t they have at least said “sorry, not a fit”, “we’ll keep it on file”, or “get lost!”?  Why does it seem like a black hole when I send my resume to inquire about a job?

At Rifkin Consulting, we truly understand your frustration about the general lack of response from many recruiters.  In our office, while we make a concerted effort to respond to every resume that we receive, it’s just not feasible to expect a personal phone call or response in all cases.  Let me explain why, from my perspective…..

Most resumes that recruiters receive are unsolicited.  While this is not unusual, it’s possible for a successful recruiter to receive dozens of resumes each day.  Sometimes, the resumes we receive aren’t even from lawyers (which make us wonder if they even understand where they are sending it!).  Many others are clearly not on point for the job about which they are inquiring.  In any business, time must be used most efficiently in order to be successful – and recruiting is no exception.  Trying to balance this hard cold fact with compassion is not always easy, and a recruiter’s time must necessarily be spent primarily with candidates who they can place. 

Responding to every resume that comes in would take a huge amount of time – and would take away from our efforts and obligations to our active candidates.  Think about your own work day; would you be able to add an extra hour daily to an effort that doesn’t produce business?  No matter how much you wish you could…it’s just not feasible.  Recruiters don’t mean to be rude or lacking in compassion – they just have to prioritize their work as anyone else does.

We review every resume that reaches our desk and screen it carefully for a possible job match now – or in the future.  We try to respond to each – even if to just acknowledge its receipt.  Try not to take it personally if you don’t receive an email or a phone call – we aim for excellence in our profession and are known for good communication with candidates and law firm clients – but there are just so many hours in a day!


3 Reasons Why You Didn't Get the Job

Rejection hurts. As a society, we inherently associate rejection with failure—but we need to learn that rejection is a chance for us to react, respond, and recommit to our goals. While it may not seem like the case yet, being turned down by a potential employer might be the best thing that happened to you. Here are three reasons why you didn’t get the position you were hoping for, and how to improve your job search efforts in the future.

Not A Good Fit

One of the biggest challenges for any attorney recruiter is finding the right employee for the right company. Not only do applicants have to have the basic skills to do a job, but they must also be a good culture fit for the company. Your personality needs to meet that of the company you’re interested in.

If you think you’ll be a great fit, it may be difficult to convey your interests on paper without seeming too forward or giving too much information. In order to show off your personality and prove to the recruiter that you are the perfect candidate, do your homework. Research the company’s culture and reputation, and write your cover letter and resume in response to what you find.

Didn't Follow Directions

If a recruiter asks for a short cover letter, write a short letter. If they request salary requirements, be honest. If they ask for samples of your work or a link to your portfolio, do so. Recruiters spend hours searching for the right candidate. The last thing they want to do is exchange multiple emails asking you for documents or information that you should have sent them in the first try. Some might just ignore you completely if you didn't follow directions.

While you’re at it, make sure that you pay attention to details. Search your resume and cover letter for typographical or grammatical errors.

Lack of Basic Requirements

Simply put, you don’t meet the basic requirements. Maybe they’re looking for someone who has five years of experience, but you only have four. It’s not any fault of your own. At the end of the day, you’ll find a company that is the right fit for you, no matter what the requirements or culture. You just have to keep looking.


10 Common Resume Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

Your resume is the first impression you’ll have on your potential new employer, which is why it’s imperative that you make no mistakes. You don’t want to miss out on a perfect opportunity because of a small error that could have been prevented. Here are some of the most common mistakes that might break the deal.

Vague Descriptions

At a glance, your resume should already say three things: what you do, what you want to do, and what you’ve done in the past to get you where you are now. No one wants to spend precious time digging through the slush for information that could easily have been conveyed more directly. Be specific in your descriptions, work history, and what you hope to accomplish.

Irrelevant Work Experience

While your work history may be a versatile compilation of jobs, you might want to reconsider including all of them in your resume. Employers are only interested in your experience so long as it is relevant to what you’ll be doing in your new position. Only include experience that you feel are related to the job you’re interviewing for.

Typos

When your resume is littered with grammatical mistakes and typographical errors, it conveys that your work is sloppy. If you don’t have time to fix up your resume, what makes the employer think that you won’t carry the same mentality into your position? Double check and triple check your resume for little mistakes.

Listing Tasks Instead of Achievements

It’s easy to list every mundane detail of your job, but that’s not what your new boss will search for. They’re looking for someone who can accomplish and meet goals. Instead of listing your tasks, write down your accomplishments and what goals you were able to meet at your position.

Too Much Information

While you want to give as much information about yourself, you should avoid going on for too long. Even though it's not set in stone for how long a resume should be, the general rule of thumb is to keep it to one page. However, if you must go on at great length about your many accomplishments, there is no real reason you can’t. As long as the information that you include is relevant, descriptive, and straight-to the point.

Too Little Information

And yet, while you’re trying to include only relevant information, you might end up leaving out the important bits altogether. Keep in mind that as long as you are descriptive and specific about your work experience, and stay relevant to the position to which you are applying, you’ll have a solid resume.

A Fluffy Objective

Employers do look at your resume objective, but often, applicants put a fluff statement that has nothing to do with the company or position they are applying for. If you’re going to put an objective at all, then make it as descriptive as possible. List realistically what you want to accomplish at your new position.

Lack of Action

Action words convey that you will work proactively to meet your goals. For example, instead of phrases like “I was responsible for a team of legal staff,” indicate that you “managed a team of legal staff.” Using verbs displays the message that you are ready to take charge and act.

Visual Overload

Unless you are applying for an artistic position at a design company, keep your resume’s design simple and black and white. Space is limited when you’re trying to synopsize your life onto one sheet of paper. Make every inch count.

Out-of-Date Contact Information

What if the many interviewers you had all wanted to hire you, but couldn’t reach you because you included either wrong or out-of-date contact information? It’s one of those important details that you should check, and check again, or you could be missing out on many opportunities.


Ask a Recruiter - Part 1; Why Won't a Recruiter Work With Me?

"I am a new law school graduate, and I contacted a legal recruiter to help me get a job.  Why won't they work with me?"

Don’t take it personally!  Many recruiters want to be able to help new law school graduates; however, clients will only work with recruiters to hire attorneys with at least one year of post law school experience in a law firm setting.  Why?

There are several reasons that firm clients take this position. 

  • First, since clients compensate recruiters for successful placements (no charge to the attorney), they prefer associates who provide some immediate value given that they already have some training and experience (i.e., can provide even a modicum of immediate hands-on assistance). 
  • Second, it is very costly to train and support a young attorney. Therefore,  an associate with some level of proven ability gives the firm a stronger sense of confidence and reasonable anticipation that he/she will remain with the firm for awhile. 
  • Third, many law firms conduct on-campus interviews [OCI] pursuant to hiring new law school graduates.  This method is often an expedient and cost-efficient way to proactively screen and hire new graduates. 

Additionally, few law firms will use the services of recruiters to hire young attorneys with only clerking experience.  Often law firms and law clerks utilize internal connections to facilitate such hires.

It’s important to understand the aforementioned reasons why an attorney recruiter can’t assist you with your job search if you are a new graduate or Bar-admittee.   You’ll need to be very proactive on your own if you weren’t successful during OCI, or if your school does not participate in OCI recruiting.  Learning about the various venues for networking and research, such as your local Public Law Center, can provide valuable experience as well as leads.  Good luck!


Looking for a Job in Orange County, Trust an Attorney Recruiter!

The media says the job market is going to get better, but to many out of work attorneys in Orange County, the job market remains tough.  Where do you turn when you can't find the Associate position you desire?  Trust a skilled Orange County attorney recruiter to find you the position you desire. As Orange County attorney recruiters, we at Rifkin Consulting strive to offer you the best possible service.  We work with a variety of law firms in Orange County and across the United States.

The Benefits of Working with an Orange County Attorney Recruiter

When you work with an Orange County attorney recruiter, you're making a smart decision to achieve success. At Rifkin Consulting, we take pride in working hard on behalf of our attorney candidates. But what exactly can you expect from an Orange County attorney recruiter?  We can provide you with the following benefits:

  • Resume review and editing. As premiere Orange County attorney recruiters, we at Rifkin Consulting have seen thousands of resumes.  And we know what law firms in Orange County are looking for.  Trust in our ability to provide a thorough critical review of your resume with suggested edits to capture hiring managers' attention.
  • Access to non advertised positions. Many law firms don't advertise they are hiring.  So when you use an Orange County attorney recruiter like Rifkin Consulting, you gain access to a network of law firms that are hiring in Orange County.  While other attorney candidates waste their time applying for the same positions online, you will have access to positions they'll never see.
  • Preparation for your job interviews. When you go in to a law firm interview, it gets progressively difficult. Over the course of 3 interviews, you'll get questioned and pressed harder and harder. Can you answer difficult questions on the fly? Now you don't have to. With the aid of an Orange County attorney recruiter, you will gain help preparing for these difficult interviews.
  • Assistance negotiating your offer. When you are offered a position at your desired law firm, that's where we can step in yet again to help you.  As your Orange County attorney recruiter, we at Rifkin Consulting will step in and negotiate your offer.  With the benefit of our experience, we'll get you a great salary and great benefits. 

Rifkin Consulting Wants You to Succeed!

As your Orange County attorney recruiter, we want you to succeed.  We're here for you every step of the way so you have the support and assistance you need to get hired at the law firm you desire.  You can depend on our decades of experience as Orange County attorney recruiters.  When you work with Rifkin Consulting, you are guaranteed personal attention and committed Orange County attorney recruiters.