Legal Search > : Frequently Asked Questions - Attorneys
 
Q. As an attorney candidate, why should I use a legal search firm in pursuing a lateral career move? Why should I select McCormack Schreiber Legal Search?

Q. As a lawyer who is interested in making a lateral move, should I work with many legal recruiting firms or choose only one?

Q. What is the ideal time in a lawyer's career to make a career move?

Q. As a recent law graduate, should I work with a legal search firm?

Q. I am planning to relocate to Chicago. Will it be difficult to find a position, and how do I improve my chances of finding the right position?

Q. Can McCormack Schreiber Legal Search assist me in my search and placement process if I am interested in moving outside of Chicago?

Q. As a candidate, do I pay a fee for your services?



ANSWERS – Attorneys

Q. As an attorney candidate, why should I use a legal search firm in pursuing a lateral career move? Why should I select McCormack Schreiber Legal Search?

A. A reputable legal search firm may be a great asset to an attorney seeking a new position. A search firm may direct you to the firms that have active searches in your field and assist you in the interviewing process. It is essential, however, to choose a reputable search firm that you feel will best represent you in such an important process. McCormack Schreiber Legal Search is such a firm.

At McCormack Schreiber, as detailed in the descriptions of the professionals at our firm, we have an extremely experienced group of search consultants to assist you in the search and placement process. We are all attorneys who practiced at top law firms and thus can provide knowledgeable advice and service. We operate under very high standards of ethics and integrity. We provide candidates with as detailed and candid information as possible regarding our clients. We meet with candidates to learn about their practices and goals so that we may better and more personally present and represent them to our employer clients.

Further, the professionals at McCormack Schreiber take the time to answer candidates' questions, review resumes, and counsel candidates regarding everything from interviewing and handling difficult issues that may arise during the interview process, to providing helpful feedback from clients when appropriate. In addition, we regularly remind our employer clients of the importance of a candidate's confidentiality. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, we do not submit resumes to employers without a candidate's express permission. As a result, candidates who work with McCormack Schreiber remain in complete control of the submission process -- only a candidate decides where and when a resume is submitted for a particular position.


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Q. As a lawyer who is interested in making a lateral move, should I work with many legal recruiting firms or choose only one?

A. The answer to this question depends on the type of search that a candidate is conducting. As a general proposition, when searching for opportunities in law firms, it may be best to start by working with one very carefully chosen recruiting firm. This will help avoid any potential for a "double contact"; i.e. a double submission for the same opportunity by more than one source in a six-month period. When a double contact occurs, it may reflect badly on the candidate, who may be viewed as having lost control of the process or who may appear too desperate to find other employment.

Larger law firms tend to work with many recruiting companies, and small firms may work with a handful; however, an "exclusive" arrangement with a single legal recruiter is atypical in the law firm context. At McCormack Schreiber, we work with virtually every high quality, large, mid-size and boutique law firm in the city. We are generally within that very small group of recruiting firms that work with many of the highly regarded, small firms in the city, and we have exclusive law firm searches -- for which we are the sole recruiter -- for exceptional boutique firms. We also have corporate in-house searches, university and hospital searches, and public interest positions. In short, we believe that law firm candidates working with McCormack Schreiber do not need to work with other recruiting companies.

For candidates searching in the in-house arena, our advice differs slightly. In-house searches, unlike law firm searches, are often exclusive to a single search firm. For that reason, it can be important to contact a select number of top search firms to inform them that you are looking for a certain type of in-house position. At McCormack Schreiber, we have many in-house searches for companies ranging from small real estate development companies to large publicly traded firms. Further, we have in-house searches for excellent positions in a wide range of practice areas, including real estate, corporate, finance, securities, litigation, intellectual property, telecommunications, healthcare, and employee benefits. Again, it is important to ensure that you are working with a reputable recruiting firm prior to actually sending your resume to the firm.


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Q. What is the ideal time in a lawyer's career to make a career move?

A. There is no "one size fits all" answer to this question. However, there are some general rules of thumb that candidates should understand when determining the ideal time to make a career move.

Generally, an associate who is interested in moving to another law firm is most marketable when he or she has 2 to 5 years of legal experience. These levels may be stretched one way or another from time to time, depending upon the practice area and the economy. Generally, however, more junior candidates (less than one year of experience) are less attractive to a law firm because law firms have filled their ranks at those levels with recent law school graduates. Once a candidate becomes more senior (5+ years out of law school), the concern of many law firms becomes the attorney's proximity to partnership, and it may be a more difficult time in one's career to make a move without portable business. McCormack Schreiber has a number of excellent partner-level opportunities for attorneys with portable business and, in certain practice areas, we have exciting opportunities for attorneys with strong legal experience and no current portable business.

The most marketable period for attorneys seeking in-house positions is less clear. However, many in-house searches tend to fall within the range of 5 to 10 years of experience. Occasionally, searches for more junior candidates arise; however, such searches are less common in light of the inability of most in-house legal departments to devote their resources to training young lawyers. Searches for more senior-level attorneys arise occasionally as well, but because these searches are usually for more senior-level in-house positions, they often are filled by candidates who already have spent time in other in-house positions.


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Q. As a recent law graduate, should I work with a legal search firm?

A. As a general rule, a legal search firm will be nothing but an impediment to a recent law school graduate (less than one year out) as law firms and corporations rarely are willing to pay a placement fee to a search firm for candidates without at least one year of legal experience. Candidates who are completing clerkships occasionally are exceptions to this rule. As a recent law school graduate, it is important to use the resources available to you through your law school placement office, as well as advertisements, both in print and on the Internet.

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Q. I am planning to relocate to Chicago. Will it be difficult to find a position, and how do I improve my chances of finding the right position?

A. At McCormack Schreiber Legal Search, we are extremely knowledgeable about the Chicago legal market. Thus, we are particularly well-equipped to assist candidates who are moving to the area. Many lawyers relocate to Chicago with great success. However, there are a few aspects of a relocation -- whether to Illinois or to any state -- that may affect the interview process.

First, membership in a particular state bar may be an issue. It can be quite helpful to take, waive-in, or at least register for a state's bar prior to embarking on a search in that particular region. In addition, prepare your resume in a way that demonstrates any connection that you have to the area. Further, if you are committed to staying in the area for the long-term, it is important throughout the interview process to make potential employers aware of your commitment.

At McCormack Schreiber, we regularly assist candidates who are relocating. This assistance includes helping the candidates to decide which opportunities best fit their career goals, as well as helping guide the candidates through the interview and placement process.


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Q. Can McCormack Schreiber Legal Search assist me in my search and placement process if I am interested in moving outside of Chicago?

A. Yes. Although our focus is Chicago, we have facilitated placements throughout the country. We have relationships with outstanding recruiting firms in virtually every major metropolitan area, and work closely with these recruiting companies in relocating candidates to other parts of the country.

It can be quite an intimidating process to approach a new legal market without knowing where to go for assistance. McCormack Schreiber Legal Search can help direct you to appropriate search firms who share our commitment to ethics, integrity and client service.


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Q. As a candidate, do I pay a fee for your services?

A. No. As is standard in the industry, McCormack Schreiber Legal Search is compensated by the employer based on a previously-negotiated rate that has no impact on the compensation that you will be offered by the employer. Further, at McCormack Schreiber, we conduct certain pro bono searches, at no charge, for universities, hospitals, and public interest groups as a service to these organizations and to the attorney candidates looking for alternative legal opportunities.

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