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Factors Law Firms Look at When Hiring
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Summary: The market strongly dictates what law firms are in need of while focusing on 12 factors that will determine the desirability of a potential lawyer at the law firm.

Read How the “Invisible Hand” Operates in Law Firm Employment Decisions: The Top 12 Most Important Factors Firms Consider When Hiring (and Firing) Attorneys to learn more.


The “invisible hand” is a description first introduced by Adam Smith in 1776 of the way a market is able to control itself when participants act in their self-interest or a free-market driven by self-interest. Harrison Barnes takes this idea and relates it to law firms and how they act and think when it comes to the hiring process.

Six of the twelve factors that firms consider are as follows:

  1. Law firms want attorneys that have a real drive to work hard and actually be with the firm. Law firms can get a sense during interviews and through your application paperwork how badly you want the job or not.
  2. Law firms want attorneys that bring business with them and can build business. An attorney that is not able to maintain a strong client following is not one a law firm wants to hire.
  3. Law firms want attorneys that can follow the leadership of the firm and give respect to those they work with. Attorneys that like to work alone or do what they please will never make a good fit with any law firm. Law firms are a team that needs everyone to stick together.
  4. Law firms want attorneys that want to be part of the group, part of something greater. Law firms revolve around working together to best serve clients so when an attorney comes along that is not willing to delegate or ask for help, they won’t be worth the effort of hiring and won’t last long if they are hired.
  5. Law firms want attorneys with a quality education and grades from law school to prove it. Law firms like to hire attorneys with an elite pedigree or at least the qualifications that they are well-educated.
  6. Law firms want attorneys with experience. The level of experience an attorney has plays a big part in lateral hires. An experienced attorney will not only be qualified to take on the position applying for but the type of experience represents what level of quality they have as well.

Harrison Barnes Takes on the Tough Question of “What’s the Point?”

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