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Top Law Firms Consider These 8 Categories When Hiring
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Summary: Big law firms only want the best in their lateral hires, so they consider these 8 categories and the points within strongly when looking at new attorneys to hire.

Read 30 Factors That Make You More Employable With Big Law Firms to learn more.


The top law firms in the country follow a set of guidelines in their hiring process that may be a little different than the rest. They are able to select the best in the industry so they can be more particular in their hiring. There are 8 categories for a total of 30 factors that law firms look at in candidates. These factors are all things that are controllable and that you can improve upon yourself.

Attorneys that stand out will be well positioned in their current firm. This means having only 1-5 years of experience. Once you have over five years things change. You need to be practicing in a busy practice area where there is a need. Being admitted to the bar where you are looking is especially if you are looking at relocating states. Start looking for a new position in a good economy; don’t wait until things get bad.

Do not leave your current job and then start looking. You must be currently employed with a law firm in order to stand out to any major law firm. They want to see that you are also coming from another large law firm. Looking for full-time work compared to flexible or part-time will also make you more employable.

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Read Top Ten Ways Attorneys Can Move to a Better Law Firm and Get a Better Attorney Job.

Successful attorneys always stand out. The best law firms want to see candidate that were summer associate for a major law firm and already carry with them a significant amount of business. Attending a top law school is not the only factor – you must do well at that law school as well. Receiving top grades at lesser ranked law schools is good but may not be good enough to get in with a top law firm.

Being an expert in one practice area will set you a part when compared with an attorney that is knowledgeable in a variety of practice areas but does not excel in any one. Become a narrow specialist that works in a niche practice area so that the demand for your knowledge and experience will be big.

Find an advocate that will fight for you to get a great position. A good recruiter will be able to approach law firms without formal openings and be successful getting you an interview because they understand how your background can benefit the firm. Having a connection with a successful partner already at the firm will also be great bonus when trying to stand out above the competition. Law firms also like to see attorneys relocating to the area because they have family or strong connections in the area that will keep them there. Commitment is a big deal for law firms.

See Law Recruiter Explains Why Older Attorneys Struggle to Join Firms.

Law firms can tell when a candidate has a sense of entitlement and will quickly throw them out of the options. Remain positive about your current or past employer even if the situation wasn’t very positive. Do not be overly vocal about social issues or even yourself. The firm doesn’t need to know every little detail about your family, financial situation, etc… Don’t move around from one firm to another because then you will be seen as a flight risk.

Trying to find a position is a smaller city or a position with a smaller, lower-paying law firm will obviously make you stand out. There is less competition that you will have to deal with but that doesn’t mean the job isn’t worth it. Be one of the first applicants to a job opening and look at more than one market to increase your chances of success.

Looks are important. Not everyone is the in the same level as a supermodel but being well-groomed and well-dressed will make you more attractive. The way you speak is also important to how professional you are perceived as. Be well-spoken and confident. Acting like this will show the firm that you are committed to making your career as an attorney with the law firm and not likely to skip out to an in-house position or quit practicing all together. Diversity is also something that many law firms are working in strengthening.

If the time has come for you to think about moving firms, take a look at this infographic to quickly learn if are employable by another major law firm or if there are things you need to address first.

Do you agree with the points discussed or do have any important factors that were missed? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about being an employable attorney, read 10 Mistakes Attorneys Make That Kill Their Careers.




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