Nearly 50,000 job openings for lawyers happen each year, so you’ll need to bring your A-game to your job postings. Not only do you have to master the art of advertising, but you’ll also need to channel your inner detective to conduct thorough background checks. Needless to say, recruiting for a law practice isn’t easy.
But don’t stress, just keep scrolling for little-known secrets that will make law firm staffing a breeze.
Expand Your Search
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and only hire people you know. This can cause you to miss out on exceptional talent.
Reach out to professionals that aren’t in your network. Your new legal staff might be waiting for you on social media (especially on LinkedIn). All it takes is one direct message explaining why this candidate should consider applying to your firm instead of another.
When you’re writing job descriptions, be specific. If one of your openings is for a paralegal who will handle real estate closings, list the exact tasks they’re expected to perform.
Also, consider putting something like “must have experience working with Spanish-speaking clients” or “requires knowledge of X software program.” This will help narrow down who applies so that only qualified people get their applications looked at.
Offer Job Opportunities
If you’re not getting the right applicants for job openings, don’t just sit back and wait for prospects to come knocking on your door.
Take action by offering a job opportunity to someone who seems like the right fit for your business. If you have doubts, get some second opinions on their skills before making a proposal.
Run Background Checks
When you hire a new staff member, it’s not just about whether they have the right skills for the job. You also need to make sure that they are who they say they are.
To do this, run background checks on each candidate. Check their references, criminal records, and educational credentials.
This process can be tedious and expensive, so you can outsource this duty to legal staffing services. They’ll confirm the applicants’ experience, and only send you those who are qualified and ready for hire.
Create a Diverse Work Environment
A diverse team will always outperform a homogenous one. A study by McKinsey found that companies with women in senior leadership roles were 25% more likely to surpass their competitors.
Diversity makes teams better because it gives everyone access to a variety of perspectives. Unique viewpoints lead to new ideas, better decision-making, and increased creativity.
Having more people working together on projects also means it will be easier to find potential issues before they become problems. There will also be a reduction in employee burnout because responsibilities will be divided more evenly.
Diversity also benefits workers. People in diverse teams are more engaged, have higher job satisfaction, and feel a greater sense of purpose in their work. The workplace becomes more interesting and fun because you get to learn unfamiliar things from your coworkers.
Your company will also offer a better client experience. When you have a team that can relate to the concerns and goals of your clients, it’s easier to identify ways to help them win their cases.
The best way to get an accurate picture of how someone performs in a job is by having a meaningful conversation with their former supervisor. Don’t just ask if they’d recommend the applicant (because most people will say yes). Ask open-ended questions like: “What was your favorite thing about working with him/her?” or “How would you describe their personality?”
See how their answers align with the applicant’s resume and cover letter. If you get a consistent response that doesn’t match the applicant’s description of themselves, you know there’s something fishy going on.
When you’re looking for a new lawyer, it’s important to be open-minded. It’s okay if someone doesn’t have the exact experience you need. As long as they have the right skills and background, they can still be a valuable asset to your firm.
Sometimes you’ll come across candidates who are employed. If you like what they have to offer, give them time to quit their current job.
Let’s say you can’t get someone to leave their existing position. In that case, hire them as an independent contractor. This will allow them to work on your cases while continuing their employment elsewhere.
Ask the Right Questions
Ask the candidate to walk you through their resume. Observe their confidence and enthusiasm, and their ability to communicate clearly.
You may also want to ask them about past projects they’ve worked on and the skills they used in those situations. At this stage, you can give them some hypothetical scenarios and see how they respond. This will give you a sense of how they approach work.
It’s also important to ask questions that reflect your practice areas. For example: “How would you approach a car accident lawsuit where both drivers are at fault?” Pay attention to their answers so you understand their strengths and weaknesses.
Upgrade Your Law Practice
When you’re hiring a new employee, the first step is to define the job. Determine what skills are required and how much experience you’d like each applicant to have.
Once you’ve created a general outline of what your law practice needs, start searching for candidates. Post an ad on LinkedIn or reach out to your network of lawyers. You might even consider hiring a recruiter to do the heavy lifting for you.
In either case, turn to the advice in our business section to improve your practices and attract the best employees.