Legal Recruiter FAQS

6 Important Questions to Ask a Legal Recruiter

Working with a Legal Recruiter

If you are a highly skilled and talented lawyer seeking a meaningful evolution for your career, Above the Bar Legal Recruiting is a search firm focused on placing you with a top-quality law firm or company.

Though if you’ve never worked with a legal recruiter before, you probably have questions. We’ve compiled six of the most frequently asked questions we tend to get from attorneys considering working with us.  Feel free to contact us if you have other questions.


1. How does the business model work?

  • Legal recruiters are paid by employers, not job seekers
  • Most recruiters work on a contingency basis
  • Beware of recruiting agencies charging a candidate a fee for their services!


2. How do I know if a legal recruiter is top-notch
(or, Above the Bar)?


  • They are a former attorney
  • Knowledgeable about legal employers & practice areas
  • Provide market intelligence
  • Alert candidates to hidden opportunities
  • Help refine your resume & cover letter
  • Give guidance on interview preparation
  • Provide insight on whether a job is the right fit for you
  • Are honest about your best interests in working with or without their services

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3. When should an associate make a lateral move to another law firm?

  • Associates with 1-6 years of experience will find the greatest number of law firm opportunities available
  • If a candidate doesn’t see a long term future with a particular firm, they should seriously consider making a move before the peak window of opportunity closes
  • ATB recruiters understand the nuances of numerous practice areas and can advise on what would be strategic timing for a lateral move
  • The number of roles typically drops sharply after about 5-6 years of experience within law firms (although associates who have a substantial portable business or those who have amassed experience in a niche practice area may not face the same “up and out” pressures)


4. How long does the legal recruiting process take?

  • It depends on a variety of factors including (but not limited to):
    • Credentials and experience
    • Geographical location
    • How well the candidate interviews
    • Motivation level
    • Number of roles available
  • A strong eager candidate can make a lateral move within weeks at the earliest


5. How has Covid impacted the lateral hiring market?

  • Immediately after lockdown, hiring slowed
    • Many firms reduced salaries and furloughed lawyers and staff
  • The devastating impact of the pandemic created legal work
    • Labor and employment law saw increased demand, for example
  • The beginning of 2021 saw an unprecedented demand for attorneys
    • BigLaw increased salaries
    • Some Firms paid associates special Covid bonuses


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6. Why is diversity important with
attorney recruitment?

  • In 2016, for the first time, women made up a majority of law students
  • The legal profession has been known to be lagging in the areas of diversity and inclusion
  • In BigLaw, 81.69% of lawyers in law firms are white (Vault/MCCA)
    • 89% of partners are white, less than 24% are women, 2% are Black, less than 3% are Hispanic or Latinx, less than 4% are Asian American, and less than 2% are openly LGBTQ
  • There are inherent equity reasons for having a diverse law firm
  • Business drivers underscore diverse recruiting:
    • A diverse workforce is more likely to understand a firm’s clients’ needs and come up with ideas to fulfill them
  • Diversity in the workplace increases employee morale and instills a desire to be more effective and work more efficiently
  • For information on an initiative to combat bias in law, visit the Move the Needle Fund.



Connect with our team of legal recruiters and our extensive network of hiring decision-makers within the legal job market. We celebrate your diversity and are ready to elevate your legal career.

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