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Don’t Turn to Family and Friends to Get a Job
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Summary: Attorneys assuming their family or friends will get them a job at their firm will be surprised that most will not put in much effort to help them out.

How well do you know your friends? Are you confident they would say only positive things about you? Are you confident that they are well liked by their current employer? There never really is a way of completely knowing how anyone feels so you should never rely on the recommendation of a friend to get you a new job. In “The Danger of Getting Legal Jobs Through Friends,” Harrison Barnes explains how his experience has shown that relying on the word of a friend to get you a job is dangerous.


There are a number of reasons that working with a family member or friend can be a bad idea. Here are three of the primary issues that can arise.

  1. Friends and family will not help as much as you might think.

Attorneys often think their friends are their best resources for a job. They think that their friend understands them better, knowing their strengths and skills so they will talk them up to the employer. However, the legal industry is a competitive market and attorneys are extremely competitive. Your friend may realize that you are a good attorney so you would end up being their competition to get the best cases and eventually make partner. Also, remember that your friends and family are often more polite to you about what they really think than a stranger or acquaintance might be. The truth may be that the family member or friend feels you are reckless, unreliable, etc. and don’t want to be responsible for your bad actions should they be the one to help you get hired by their employer.

  1. Hiring family or friends of current employees can create problems for the firm.

You would treat a friend or family member differently than you would a standard colleague. This what law firms fear will happen. The new attorney may end up being a problem but allowed to remain because of their relationship to the current attorney. Your friend or family member may abuse your relationship, requiring you to do additional work, cover for them, etc. Also consider that the firm may not even like your family member or friend, so a recommendation from them is actually a turnoff.

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  1. Having family or friends get you a job comes with catches.

If you do end up having a friend or family member get you a job with their firm, you will be expected to stay with the firm. Should you realize that you don’t enjoy working for that firm, trying to move to another may uncover that you don’t have the qualifications for an equivalent position at another firm. This leads to resentment for the family member or friend that got you a job you were underqualified for and now stuck with. There may also be a feeling that you owe the family member or friend for their work in getting you the job. They may also expect special treatment from you for this favor as well. Either way, your relationship can become strained and will no longer be what it once was.

While it may seem natural to reach out to those you know when you are looking for a new job, the better option is to use a legal recruiter who can appropriately submit your resume to the proper people. It doesn’t hurt to use a friend or family member to learn more about the firm so that if you do get an interview, you will know more about the culture of the firm beforehand.

Do you think you should rely on family or friends to get you a job? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about how to find a new job, read these articles:




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