Pre-column note: Just at press time, we took an order from a great long-term client, Principal Financial Group. Competitive compensation and relocation package for ERISA attorneys who will consider the Des Moines, Iowa location. This is a terrific law department, everyone we have placed there loves it, and PFG is consistently voted one of the best companies to work for in the country. So, please help me out by spreading the word on this one. Thank you. Now, to my column, please enjoy the read:
Our placements in 2016 have me thinking about the title of this column (“Culture Fit”), and fondly recalling a memorable line from Bob Major almost 20 years ago. Let me explain.
In 2015, a lot of my attention was focused on helping one particular client build out its new law department with some specialized and VP level hires. Even with the complication of some geographic relocations, those orders went smoothly. By contrast, our order flow this year is broader, and I am spending significant time on our adjunct counsel service line.
I used to think of senior level direct hire search and contract attorney placement as two different businesses. I don’t anymore. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about making the right match. And the key to doing that is really understanding your particular law department culture. Even when it’s a temporary assignment.
A couple of you have been patient with me on this point. For example, I was recommending a couple of senior level career contract attorneys for an ongoing adjunct counsel role, hoping to use someone who had worked out well for us in the field previously. The right fit for this client, however, is probably going to be a more junior “BigLaw” refugee from a highly rated law school.
Last month, a different client selected a candidate with no industry experience after meeting two attorneys who looked like a better fit on paper. At the end of the day, it’s always about finding the right person, not just the right resume. Hopefully we get it right for you on the first candidate submission. The reality is that each order takes on a life of its own, and we will persist until you get the right result.
Which brings me to Bob Major, founder of the well-known search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa. I admire Bob, and attended a recruiting best practices session he ran many years ago at a National Association of Legal Search Consultants function. Bob told us to always remember that, “There is a house for every dog, and a dog for every house.” He explained that the winning candidate is not always obvious and advised us to stay open minded about who might be best suited for a particular job. We promise not to treat any of you like dogs, but the metaphor definitely stuck in my head!
I would like to get to know your law department’s culture. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an introduction, or even a re-introduction. I realize that roles and responsibilities change frequently, so please help me stay current on your needs.