Skills You'll Need as a Legal Recruiter
As a legal recruiter, you look for candidates to fill legal positions. You are given this task by individual clients or by a company you work for. In some cases, you work for an organization that has several legal clients looking to fill positions, and in other cases, you work in direct contact with the client on a consulting or other basis. In addition to finding people that will fill your clients' various needs, you also assist those candidates who are suitable in preparing for interviews.
Of course, these candidates must already be qualified, having graduated from law school and taken the bar as applicable. As a recruiter, you may be involved in checking candidates' references, checking to see that the candidate's resume is accurate, and other tasks related to helping a given candidate get the job in question.
As a recruiter, you are also basically the first line of qualification when it comes to hiring a candidate for a particular job. That means that you are responsible for making sure the candidates you submit to clients are absolutely qualified for the positions they are being recommended for. Furthermore, you want those candidates to do well in job interviews so that they have the best possible chances of getting the jobs you recommend them for.
Legal recruiting jobs in the industry basically involve having a recruiter work for a company that has several clients looking for qualified candidates. Alternatively, other legal recruiting jobs may be done on a consulting basis, which is when you basically hang out your own shingle as a legal recruiter. In this case, you've likely been in the industry for a while and know your way around it so that you can scout out your own clients and candidates without the structure of a company behind you. Arguably, these may be among the best recruiting jobs, since they give you the independence to work as you please.
The clients you serve may not just be involved in hiring lawyers for law firms. They may also be involved in hiring lawyers for corporations that use legal staff to help them stay on top of any changes in the law so that they don't unwittingly do anything illegal.
Working at a Recruiting Firm
Legal recruiters can also act as managers in recruiting firms, in which case they don't generally recruit themselves but instead act as liaisons between the candidates brought in and the firms or companies looking for candidates. They may contact candidates who have been brought in or help candidates work on resume and interview skills. You as the legal recruiter may also be responsible for doing background checks in certain cases on candidates brought in for interviews.
Becoming a Legal Recruiter
To become a legal recruiter, you must have an undergraduate degree in something that will provide you with the necessary background, such as education, business, or psychology. Increasingly, it is becoming popular to earn a degree in recruiting itself. This is seen as favorable by the industry, but many colleges still do not offer this particular degree and it's not absolutely necessary in order to become a recruiter. The most important things you need to be able to do are to put people at ease and be able to work with them on an interpersonal level. You also need to be good at judging people's characters, because you'll need to be able to determine whether or not a candidate is a good fit for the particular job you are recruiting for. Once a candidate gets the job, you may also have to utilize negotiating skills to help the candidate determine the proper pay rate and other details.
Compensation and Outlook
At present, recruiters are having a tough time in the legal industry because legal jobs in general are on the wane. However, when the economy turns around once again, recruiters' jobs, too, will rebound and be in demand.
Compensation for recruiters averaged about $41,000 per year as of 2006 across all sectors of the job market.