Understanding the state of the most in-demand law candidates will help you make better talent decisions.
- Where are candidates located?
- Where should you open your next office?
- Which of your competitors are vying for the same talent?
- What’s the size of the candidate pool you’re recruiting from?
Read on for insights into how to gain a competitive advantage in the hiring market.
The first step in hiring the right legal talent is knowing what a successful candidate looks like. Prioritize your desired skills and ideal experience. Then, you can dive into the crowded blur of professional networks confident that you’ll identify the most qualified candidates for your organization. Accelerate the hiring process even further and grow your candidate pipeline with these handy tips.
Today’s qualified legal candidates are in high demand, with top talent often entertaining multiple offers from industry leaders. You need a comprehensive, direct, and compelling job description to attract the best of the best. But crafting the perfect job description for multiple positions throughout your organization can take hours that you don’t have to spare – especially when it involves researching and describing a role that you don’t know much about. Luckily, there’s a better way to create compelling job listings that attract top-tier candidates without logging extra hours. Here are five job description templates to get you started.
For more, check out the full selection of job templates.
An attorney general is responsible for protecting the state’s citizens by enforcing local and national laws and passing new legislation. Their duties are wide reaching, ranging from overseeing criminal cases to ensuring environmental laws are upheld. To achieve these goals, an attorney general relies on other judicial officials within the state, and meets with other state attorneys general throughout the year to discuss relevant issues.
- Provide legal counsel to the state government
- Oversee criminal cases and appeals
- Enforce judgments and give formal opinions to state and/or federal agencies
- Ensure the state’s resources, interests, and citizens are protected
- Liaise with heads of divisions across the state’s judicial system, and other state attorneys general
Skills and Qualifications
- Juris doctor (JD) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA)
- Experience as a trial lawyer
- Excellent critical-thinking skills
- Ability to juggle numerous responsibilities simultaneously
Case managers help ensure a legal office runs efficiently. They interact with attorneys and clients to help manage cases and address any issues that arise. Case managers need to be highly organized and adaptable to handle the needs of clients, with a strong understanding of the law. In some cases, a case manager may specialize in a specific aspect of legal practice, such as medical malpractice or immigration law.
- Manage and organize files, and ensure necessary documentation is completed
- Provide research on cases
- Monitor the status of various cases
- Schedule appointments, such as hearings and meetings between clients and attorneys
- Address issues and answer client questions
Skills and Qualifications
- Bachelor’s degree, preferably relating to area of legal practice he or she specializes in
- 3+ years experience in case management
- Excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills
- Superb critical-thinking skills, organization, and analytical skills
- CCM and/or ACM certification
Lawyers, attorneys, and counselors-at-law are the backbone of the legal system, serving as guides to contract terms, laws, regulations, policies, and judicial decisions at all levels (federal, state, and local). Lawyers also advocate for specific, client-friendly drafting and interpretation.
As advisors, lawyers counsel clients about their rights, obligations, and risks in a variety of business and personal matters – and make recommendations accordingly. As negotiators, they represent the interests of their clients to skillfully gain a satisfactory result. As advocates, they step in for an adversary in a criminal or civil case, writing complaints and motions, gathering and presenting evidence, and applying it to support their arguments. In all circumstances, lawyers must understand the law – and apply it persuasively.
- Draft, review, and negotiate a diverse range of agreements, and file comprehensive complaints and airtight responses
- Work closely with team to prepare comprehensive briefs and motions on each case that goes to trial; prepare persuasive motions
- Interface with clients about discovery, depositions, trial preparation, and other case-related work
- Conduct depositions and discovery; perform industry research on legal matters related to specific matters, as well as applicable legislation
- Make frequent court appearances, hearings, and pre-trial conferences
Skills and Qualifications
- Juris doctor (JD) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association
- State bar certification in [state]
- 2 to 4 years of experience in corporate or business law
- Extremely detail oriented with an ability to work efficiently and meet deadlines
- Strong organizational and project management skills
- Litigation experience
- Great client interface skills
- Outstanding storytelling abilities (the root of a persuasive line of questioning or closing argument)
- The ability to review and understand a complex P&L and cash flow statement
Legal secretaries handle the secretarial needs of a law office. This includes maintaining the office, filing, and answering the phones, but it also requires specialized skills relevant to the legal field. Legal secretaries help a law office run efficiently by preparing various legal documents, maintaining databases, and scheduling court dates and depositions.
- Write legal documents, including motions, briefs, and subpoenas
- Conduct research, including reading legal articles
- Ensure filing is accurate and up to date
- Answer phones, respond to emails, and send faxes
- Schedule meetings, travel, and court dates
Skills and Qualifications
- Legal secretary associate’s degree or certificate preferred
- Excellent listening and interpersonal skills
- Highly organized with close attention to detail
- Good understanding of legal terminology and procedure
- Fast typist proficient in all Microsoft Office programs
Paralegals are an indispensable component of legal teams in a vast array of organizations, including law firms, government agencies, corporations, and more. They conduct legal research, investigate facts about a case, and draft legal documents for which lawyers are ultimately responsible. Expert researchers and information managers, paralegals can specialize in litigation, corporate law, intellectual property, immigration, and more. These professionals are well versed in the latest electronic discovery software and utilize a range of technologies to organize and present information – and accurately maintain legal databases.
- Provide managing attorneys with case-specific assistance on a wide range of assignments, including regulatory matters, negotiation and drafting of contracts, marketing issues, policy reformations, and rescission issues
- Draft and retain basic legal correspondence across all areas of the business, including case-specific reports, advance preparation of appendices and exhibits, evaluation and arrangement for special staffing needs, and tracking documents
- Develop legal arguments through extensive research and close collaboration with managing attorneys, executives, managers, and staff to thoroughly obtain all pertinent information and case materials
- Research and investigate the facts of cases and identify appropriate laws, judicial decisions, legal articles, and other materials that are relevant, reporting changes in regulations, guidelines, and laws to all appropriate parties
- Draft, revise, and finalize filings, and assist with their submission to appropriate entities
Skills and Qualifications
- Associate’s degree in paralegal studies (bachelor’s preferred)
- Appropriate industry certification from NALA, AACP, ABA, or similar organization
- Proven ability to maintain organized files and databases
- Excellent judgment and demonstrated discretion handling confidential information
- Proficiency working in a Mac environment, specifically with G Suite (Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, etc.), Dropbox, Excel, Outlook, and Word
- Extensive experience using legal database software, including Clio
- Previous administrative experience
LinkedIn is the ideal place to identify and connect with millions of potential candidates for legal positions throughout your organization. But sifting through that massive talent pool of professionals is tough. You have to do more than just type the job title into the search bar. Finding the right candidates means knowing exactly which skills and experience you’re looking for and streamlining your search with a few additional industry-specific search terms, rules, and filters that will put the best candidates on your hiring radar.
That’s where Boolean strings come in. Boolean strings let you filter your search results based on the things that matter most to you. You choose which skills and experience you prefer, which job titles might be relevant for the position, and any additional keywords (like experience in certain fields of legal practice) that can make or break a candidate.
LinkedIn’s Boolean operators are slightly different than other advanced searches on other sites, so it’s important to construct your searches properly to get the results you want. Use straight quotation marks (") around a word or phrase that must be included – curly quotation marks (“) won’t work. Or try adding the word “NOT” immediately before a search term that you want to exclude from your results. You can also use the word “OR” between search terms to find people who match at least some of your requirements, or the word “AND” to find someone who matches them all. If you need to narrow your search even further, you can put parentheses around multiple terms (more on that in a minute).
- Always type the words “NOT”, “OR”, and “AND” in capital letters, or else they won’t work
- The “+” and “-” operators, and wild-card “*” searches, are not officially supported by LinkedIn
Boolean searches work kind of like math, meaning LinkedIn Recruiter will read certain parts of the search string first. That means that ambiguously worded strings will lead to bad results. To avoid this, it’s important to know how LinkedIn prioritizes search operators, so you can lay out your searches accordingly. The order of precedence for LinkedIn Boolean searches is:
This is where parentheses come in. Using them around certain search terms clearly communicates your intentions to LinkedIn’s search engine, so you should use them as often as possible. Let’s look at some examples of how search strings can help you find talent for the most in-demand roles.
By wording your searches as clearly as possible and including all the details that matter to you, you can target your search to help you find the right talent more quickly. And remember, you can home in even further with additional candidate criteria. Just click “All Filters” near the top after running your search to narrow down candidates by location, industry, schools, and more.
Once you narrow the field with your tailored Boolean search criteria, it’s essential to engage those handpicked candidates with timely, meaningful interaction. Top talent, especially in niche or specialized fields, will often entertain several offers at once. You need to stand out from other recruiters and organizations while also getting candidates excited about the position and interested in your company. That means commanding their attention, and conveying exactly why your company is such a great place to work, in a clear and compelling way. Here are some tactics that will help you successfully engage with legal talent.
Getting a message from a stranger out of nowhere can be a good thing, especially if they’re offering you an exciting job opportunity. But in-demand legal professionals typically receive dozens of messages from recruiters and firms every week, both on LinkedIn and via email. That’s why it’s vital to make your message catch their eye.
Here are three best practices for connecting with candidates over email:
- Keep your subject lines short and impactful
- The best-performing subject lines often use keywords like “thanks,” “exclusive invitation,” “connect,” “job opportunity,” and “join us.”
- Design your message as a conversation starter
- Candidates don’t respond well to “look at the job and tell me if you’re interested” messages. Instead, start a dialogue about their career path and goals to encourage candidates to engage with the opportunity. It’s OK to ask questions!
- Use a conversational, enthusiastic tone
- Choose words that reflect your own personal voice. People like knowing they’re talking to another person, not a form letter. Infuse your message with your personality and cut through the white noise of typical email outreach. When you express a genuine interest in helping candidates with their professional goals, you’ll be surprised by the response. But bear in mind that legal professionals may be used to a more formal tone than those in other roles, so don’t get carried away.
Emailing or messaging a candidate on LinkedIn is all about establishing a personal connection and piquing their interest in a role. You’re not trying to hire someone on the spot. The goal is to get the conversation started. You can still use a template, but customize it as much as possible to match the candidate’s interests and desires, as well as your own personality and style. Here are a few examples to get you started!
I saw that you’re a graduate of [LAW SCHOOL] and was impressed with your work on [PROJECT] at [LAW FIRM X]. Would you be interested in working with a dedicated team on a similar project at [COMPANY]? Your skills as a litigation specialist and experience drafting patent law briefs would be perfect for the [JOB TITLE] role, and we’d like to build around your unique insights and specialty in those fields.
You’d be joining an enthusiastic, dedicated team with a passion for critical thinking and debate, and I think you’d make an incredible addition to the culture we’ve created here. I’d love to speak with you about the role and your career goals. In the meantime, I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Our real estate team couldn’t stop talking about the tenant advocacy case you argued earlier this summer. At [COMPANY], we’re always looking to connect with people who take on cases that challenge their skills and expand their knowledge. We offer that kind of growth at [COMPANY], and we think you’d be a good fit as our next [JOB TITLE]. Here, you’ll find a strong work-life balance, comprehensive benefits and competitive salaries, and continuous opportunities for growth and professional development, because we value our employees and want them to succeed.
Would you be interested in setting up a time to talk about your career goals? I’d love to tell you more about the role and the exciting culture we’ve created at [COMPANY].
I’m [YOUR NAME], and I’m growing our paralegal team at [COMPANY]. I took a look at the briefs you prepared for the [CASE AT COMPANY X] and I feel like you could be a great fit for our team. We’re working on a lot of different, interesting things – from patent law and antitrust suits to federal civil and criminal cases. I’d love to find a few minutes to chat soon about the [ROLE] position. Let me know if you’re interested!
You need a strong online brand to attract top legal talent. An online presence not only diversifies your reach and builds rapport with candidates, it also shows you’re willing and able to communicate and connect with candidates on their terms. Candidates will look at your brand’s LinkedIn Page, your careers website, and your social media accounts, so make them stand out and establish even more credibility. Develop your online brand and you’ll stay top of mind with candidates who are actively searching for their next role, or who know other professionals in their network they can send your way.
For the legal industry, where professionals are dedicated to helping clients in specific specialties, a mission-focused brand can be extremely effective. Make it clear what your organization does, what you believe in, and how that belief informs every stage of the work you do. If your mission resonates with candidates, they’ll reach out to learn more about your brand.
Here are a few things you can do right away to boost your online brand:
- Include pictures and videos to visually entice candidates
- Be authentic – no stock photos!
- Show actual employees interacting with each other
- Showcase what makes your vibrant work environment special
- Offer meaningful insights into your culture
- What’s it like to work there?
- What motivates your employees?
- What makes your culture unique?
- Share honest testimonials from your staff
- Provide clear details about the role and the workplace
- Show a personal experience that candidates can relate to
- Demonstrate that you’re an employer that values your staff
LinkedIn Groups give like-minded professionals a chance to network, share their interests, and discover new opportunities. With hundreds of law-focused groups on LinkedIn, recruiters can use these spaces to connect and engage with legal talent. But it’s important to explore the purpose and rules of a group before using one to find potential candidates. Some groups expressly forbid soliciting members or posting job openings on their pages, so read the rules carefully to remain respectful and welcome in the group. Here are a few groups to explore that are designed with recruitment in mind:
With over 195,000 members, this group was created to connect high-level legal professionals with the changing online practices in nearly every specialty. Just be sure to post any jobs in the jobs section.
- LAW JOBS NETWORK
A job-posting group of over 250,000 members, this group is specifically designed to connect legal professionals with each other, as well as with recruiters.
- IN-HOUSE LAW JOBS
Specifically designed for corporate or government legal positions, this is an example of narrowing your groups to a more manageable size to better target candidates.
How to join LinkedIn Groups
You can find groups in two ways:
- By name or keyword: Type keywords or group names in the search bar at the top of the LinkedIn homepage. Click the Groups tab on the Search Results page.
- By browsing groups recommended for you by LinkedIn: Click the Work icon in the top right of the LinkedIn homepage and select Groups from the menu.
There are two ways you can join a group:
- Click “Request to join” on the group Discussions page, or anywhere you see the button.
- Respond to an invitation from a group member or manager. Joining a LinkedIn Group is easy. After finding a group that’s relevant to your needs and clicking its page, click the button to join the group.
How to post a message in LinkedIn Groups
- After joining a group, you’ll see a box called “Start a new conversation in this group.” Here, you can type your message, post links, and even upload images or a video. You can type up to 1,300 characters in total, including spaces, so keep it short and sweet!
- When you’re happy with your message, simply click “Post” and you’re done.
How to start a discussion and engage group members
Share stories or post other content in a group to encourage other members to comment or even ask follow-up questions. This is a great way to get a conversation started, solicit guidance and feedback, and to get to know more about the group’s members.
Respond to members’ comments and ask respectful, interesting follow-up questions or comments. Everyone loves it when their posts create a dialogue, so don’t be afraid to start one yourself!
How to reach out to a candidate in LinkedIn Groups
- If someone catches your attention in the group, click their profile to learn a little more about them before you connect with them. Once you’re connected, you can message them by clicking the “Message” button on their page and reaching out to them in an InMail (a direct message on LinkedIn).
- Mention what made you reach out and why you enjoyed chatting with them in the group. Then you can give them a few enticing details about the job you’re hiring for. If they’ve interacted with you in the group, you already have a personal connection that they’ll respond to!
Recruiting the best legal talent for your organization can be difficult. But following these simple tips and tricks will make it easier for you to find, engage, and win over handpicked, qualified candidates for any position. In an industry that’s driven by attention to detail and navigating the specifics of every interaction, the most important step you can take is targeting candidates with the specifics and clarity they need to make the right decisions. So remember to share the specific skills and experience in your job descriptions, messages, and across your employer brand. Once candidates feel like they understand exactly what you’re looking for and what your company mission is, you’ll be halfway to hiring your next top performer!