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10 Reasons Attorneys Are Hired Over the Competition
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Summary: There are ten reasons that attorneys are preferred by law firms over other attorneys.

There is often a big difference between how successful different attorneys become. Harrison Barnes’ article “Showing Up: The Difference between Those Who Get Hired and Advance in Law Firms and Those Who Do Not” explores why attorneys get hired and advance and others struggle. Barnes explains 10 reasons that some attorneys are able to distinguish themselves from the rest.


  1. Top Credentials

Law firms will give a preference to attorneys that went to a top law school, got great grades and held positions with the most prestigious law firms as summer associates, first-year associates, and so on. These attorneys are showing they have a history of doing well and getting things right.

  1. Billing Hours

Law firms want attorneys that are billing a lot of hours. In fact, some law firms place it as a top priority. Some of the reasons that law firms want an attorney that bills a lot is that is that it shows the attorney has the energy to get lots of work done, enjoys what they are doing, adds value to the firm, and is willing to sacrifice their time for the law firm.

  1. Age

The age of an attorney has a lot to do with which attorney is hired and can advance within the firm. The legal industry is a demanding job where youth generally means more energy. Once an attorney reaches their 30s, they start fading. Very few can continue with the same energy, enthusiasm, and stamina as they did when they first started out in their 20s.

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  1. Motivated

An attorney with top credentials shows they understand what will get them ahead and are motivated to do so. The law firm sees that the attorney wants to impress them, which translates to long hours and quality work. Having things that motivate an attorney to keep working hard such as a family, debts, or a background that shows they have something to prove are good signs to a law firm.

  1. Committed

Law firms like to see an attorney that has stuck with law firms from the start of their career. An attorney that has moved around a lot to various in-house positions, government jobs, and other areas of law besides practicing in a major law firm is a flight risk.

  1. Steady Employment

An attorney that has gaps in their employment for whatever reason, whether willingly or not, is a red flag. Quite often these attorneys were fired from a previous position or took time off to pursue something else.

  1. Appearance

Appearance is everything in the legal world. An attorney that is physically fit, well-kept and dressed well will go far. Doing these things show they are concerned with how they are perceived and care about themselves and their work.

  1. Positive

Everyone wants or at least should want to be surrounded by those that are positive. Being surrounded by those that are working to make those around them feel better about themselves will be liked and hired over those that radiate negativity.

  1. Number of Jobs

Preference will always be given to an attorney that has fewer jobs on their resume. An attorney that has held a lot of positions with law firms is a flight risk. They will be expected to leave again soon so no firm wants to waste time and money hiring them.

  1. Confidence

Law firms can tell when an attorney is confident in what they do. These attorneys do what is asked of them without causing a problem. These attorneys believe in their abilities to get any job done for the law firms and their clients.

What do you think is the best way an attorney can distinguish themself from other attorneys? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about what law firms look for, read these articles:




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