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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!