An article published by The American Bar Association recently called attention to how difficult the market truly is for hiring attorneys. For legal departments and law firms, the competition for experienced attorneys, change in employee expectations, and growing demand for practice area specialization have made hassle-free hiring even harder to achieve alone.
In the ABA estimation stated in their State of the Union, three out of four U.S. corporations are turning to alternative legal service providers, which includes temporary legal staffing, to “round out their teams, bolster productivity, and keep costs in line.” However, it’s important to make sure you’re evaluating a legal staffing firm on the following criteria before moving forward with a relationship:
1.) Thorough Screening Processes
Any temporary attorney you consider adding to your team should align with your values and mesh with your culture as well as demonstrate clear practice-area expertise and qualifications. Your legal staffing partner needs to have a clear understanding of all these elements as they pertain to your unique situation, then apply that knowledge to the candidate screening process.
At Assigned Counsel, all our recruiters have worked as attorneys and understand the skills that empower attorneys to flourish in today’s market. Of course, we begin by verifying licenses and qualifications, but before we submit anyone for a position, one of our recruiting attorneys has a conversation with them to determine their comprehensive skill sets, personality, emotional intelligence, and work habits. Disqualifying people who won’t be a great fit for your organization allows us to save you time and money in the long run.
2.) Trusting Candidate Relationships
As you know, the available pool of attorneys has not grown to meet the surge in demand since the start of the pandemic. For that reason alone, building relationships with experienced attorneys who are available for temporary deployment is vital to supporting corporate law departments. Be sure that when you are evaluating a legal staffing firm, the company demonstrates that it takes its challenges seriously.
This process begins by building trust. Attorneys relish knowing their practice expectations are in good hands from recruiters who are attentive to their needs and understanding of their profession. As Elissa Outtrim, one of the Senior Recruiting Attorneys at Assigned Counsel, states, “Our placement success record is built upon the strong positive relationships we establish with our candidates!” With this underlying mindset as our guide, we build our team from experienced attorneys, finding people who intuitively understand the tribulations and motivations of a working attorney.
More than making broad assumptions, we take the time to talk with candidates, determining their specific career goals, preferred work arrangements, and ideal job culture. We act as advisors, support them through any challenges, and help them minimize the amount of time they spend job searching. These actions keep experienced attorneys in our talent pool – which allows in-house law departments to find the unique practice area specialists they need when they need them.
3.) A Consultative Approach to Service
Businesses that live up to the meaning of the word partner go outside of mere transactional interactions. They work to uncover your motivations, take a stake in your challenges, and share in your overall success. In terms of legal staffing firms, you’ll see true partners thinking beyond your current requirements and identifying how you can thrive – even when that advice, guided by first-hand experience, extends beyond your staffing needs.
Our own Brenda Lutton-Coronado, Director of Business Development, always says, “I think of solutions and manage expectations,” a mantra that every legal staffing partner should embody in their actions. The right partner will appraise your business, using an outsider’s objectivity with an insider’s sense of investment to identify proactive solutions to your challenges. If they encounter an experienced attorney who fills an in-house gap or helps clinch a pernicious problem, they’ll give you a call and make introductions.
Moreover, any best-in-class staffing firm will share their wealth of knowledge on the current market and talent pool. Ongoing confusion of the contemporary market should be no exception. In the last 24 months, our recruiting attorneys have seen an increased demand for flexibility, work-life balance, and meaningful opportunities rise in candidates’ priorities. We have shared this knowledge freely with our clients to help them close job openings faster and reduce costs. With our experience as a long-running remote organization, we’ve advised clients on how to make the shift.
The Next Step in Evaluating a Legal Staffing Firm
Engaging temporary attorneys will become a permanent staple for high-functioning legal departments. That’s why it’s imperative to find a legal staffing firm that can undeniably improve your overall operations. The right partner will be able to articulate how they will be able to save on hiring costs as well as comprehend the impact of their overall work.
Placing temporary attorneys can help to enhance project timelines, compliance adherence, and even the morale of your internal workforce. Running a smoothly operating law department is often a fickle business. Assigned Counsel Incorporated, as your experienced and proven staffing partner, will be the key to a hassle-free attorney engagement.