Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Don’t Go Around Me

On Balance Search Consultants

Okay you’re putting yourself back on the market and you’re considering working with a legal recruiter. You need to work with a top legal recruiter who has an excellent reputation and a track record of placing candidates with firms that last.

Getting the most out of the relationship. “It’s truly about doing what’ right. We place candidates with firms to ensure a good fit. Bringing on a new hire is costly, time consuming and impacts everyone’s reputation. We make sure to get it right.” – Shari Davidson, President On Balance Search Consultants.

Clients and candidates both have preferences that must be managed discretely. When working with a recruiter be honest. Read, Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Don’t Lie to me.

“Don’t go around your recruiter. Great care is given to ensure that the interests of all parties are a priority. Don’t go off and start talking to a firm or another recruiter in the middle of a placement. Doing so only derails the prospect of being considered, not to mention puts everyone’s credibility at risk”, says Shari Davidson.

There are several key considerations to look for when working with a legal recruiter:


Most attorneys are by nature risk-averse. They are naturally skeptical. Work with a recruiter who you have a high level of confidence in. The top recruiters are engaged, they stay in constant contact with you and make things happen.

“My candidates become clients for the long haul. We keep in touch over the years to make sure things are going well and offer insights to help guide them through their career to make sure they stay on track”, says Shari Davidson.

Recruiters are guided by and disciplined by the National Association of Legal Search Consultants ("NALSC") code of ethics ( Do the due diligence and research a recruiter’s reputation.

A good recruiter has your back and would never . . .

  • Place you with a firm where people leave all the time.
  • Present you to a firm that has a “bad reputation” on the street.
  • Or recommend you to a firm about which has poor morale.

Business Intelligence Network

Good recruiters stay on top of what’s going on in the industry and keep in constant communication with firms that they have strong relationships with and candidates they work with.

The best recruiters are nurturing and building new relationships to keep their candidates well advised. A good network produces opportunities that are not publicly posted.

Coaching, Positioning & Negotiating

One of the first questions a recruiter is going to ask you is why are you looking? Why do you want to leave now?

The best recruiter’s coach you before presenting the candidate to a firm. No one’s background is perfect, everyone can benefit from having their accomplishments reviewed to ensure they are a good fit for the right firm.

Putting together a compelling resume can make a big difference. The best recruiters work with you to ensure your resume reads well and doesn’t create any red flags.

The recruiter should ask you for a Representative Matters or Transactional Deal Sheet. A deal sheet is an important tool to help quantify your value when you ask for a raise or want to put yourself back on the market. The Deal Sheet helps take stock of your experience and assess where you are, and where you are going.

The top recruiters create a compelling story about how your unique skills will help the law firm succeed. And only then do they negotiate the best deal that is right for you now and for your future.


Good recruiters keep you informed about what is going on with your candidacy. They return your phone calls and look out for your best interests.


Good recruiters should make an effort to respond to all inquiries, even if they cannot ultimately work with you. Work with a recruiter we serve the interests of both their clients and their candidates.

Strong transparent communication helps to develop a strong, trusting relationship. Let your recruiter know up-front what your expectations are. Follow these tips and you’ll find exacting what you’re looking for.

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On Balance Search Consultants

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