The first step in recruitment and to attract lawyers is to find and to identify the people that are ‘right’ for your company’s needs – today and in the future.
It doesn’t help to identify and locate them if you are not able to actually attract lawyers of high potentials and convince them to join your company and stay with you as a real contributor to your bottom line.
This article looks in detail at 5 different ways to attract lawyers and more specifically, the right candidates and sign them up :
1.Internships – Future Generation Hiring
2. Network Hiring
3. Money, Money…
4. Employer branding
5. Professionalize your search: Use a Specialized Agency
We advocate using each of these 5 flexibly, depending on the specific needs, urgency, available internal resources, and opportunity.
1. Future Generation Hiring – Internships
To attract lawyers in private practice, internships remain the obvious and “fee-less” method.
Therefore: the attraction and selection of interns is a vitally important step and senior lawyers or higher should get involved, as it is often the only form of continuous recruitment used in the legal profession. Aspiring lawyers have the freedom to apply for the most interesting firms and slots. Also for them, it is a life and career-defining choice.
A competitive marketplace develops and it pays for both parties to turn up at their best and show their potential.
The right hiring decision here will have a major, long-term impact on the quality and breadth of your service offerings and therefore on the future of your firm.
Do you have a favorite university to get in touch with?
How often do you limit yourself to your own alma mater?
Or do you rely on some of the professors to give you insider tips on talented students?
The person manning the university’s placement agency is another typical point of entry to contact promising youngsters.
But overall, it’s a great strategy and works best if you can sustain it long term without extended breaks and this way keep your pipeline filled.
How do you guarantee a reasonable degree of diversity in your firm? Diversity in terms of ways of thinking, in terms of network contacts, in personality traits, in the application of legal procedures? Differences in values and attitudes?
Do you allow out of the box thinking? Do you encourage people to challenge the status quo without losing valuable players along the way?
Bear in mind Thai culture does not favor outspokenness:
” Thais are ‘indirect’ communicators and, as such, are unlikely to directly say anything that may hurt or offend you. Instead, they may use vague responses or try to change the subject. Although this may appear to be indecisiveness on their part, efforts should be made to try and interpret their true feelings.” (1)
One dimensional cultures, the one-of-the-same-mold staff creates homogeneity and “peace” – people will rarely have open conflicts and third-party observers will recognize the style as typical for your company. Mono-cultures create in-breeding and a belief of: we are always right and invincible (and all the others are wrong).
Long gone are the days when you could immediately sense that somebody was working for IBM ( the Big Blue boys) – without even exchanging a word. And as said: those days are long gone and so is the “Old” IBM… surpassed, by-passed from all sides.
For a while, strong cultural identity can work to your benefit as it enhances speed to market and limits conflicting strategies in order to attract lawyers.
“When an organization has a strong culture, three things happen:
Employees know how top management wants them to respond to any situation, employees believe that the expected response is the proper one, and employees know that they will be rewarded for demonstrating the organization’s values.” cited from the the Society of Human Resource Development (2)
However careful balance needs to be found between singularity and openness – call it a Culture Patchwork – to sustain growth and success in the long run. It pays to use other attraction points than your strong culture from different sources.
2. Hiring Who Knows Who
The next preferred method to attract lawyers is to rely on your professional network.
First, you can approach practicing lawyers whom you know or whom you have seen in action personally. You can approach your “target” in person by yourself or via one of your colleagues/staff as a less committing option and as an advocate for your firm.
Watch out: poachers are rarely appreciated in professional groups or anywhere else for that matter, and they might do the same to you the next day.
Second, you can ask a trusted “confrere” for tips, “leads” about lawyers ready to take on another job.
But: Why would a colleague-competitor give you the best of the best?
Both ways -interns and network hunting- represent fairly passive, narrow attraction strategies: you don’t fully control the outcome, but it is luck that defines you in terms of qualifications, character and availability/timing
Instead, you could ask yourself: What really appeals to lawyers? And how can we use this knowledge to proactively attract the people that we want?
In June 2020, JobsDB Thailand published the results of an online survey conducted between December 2019 – January 2020 under the telling title “Laws of Attraction”
JobsDB says in its’ introduction: “It is Thailand’s largest recruitment study with more than 6,000 sample candidates surveyed across 20 industries and job functions to identify their key motivators at work” (3)
They contacted existing candidates from their enormous database and statistically stratified them from various viewpoints: age, gender, job level, employment type – and then reported the results per industry sector and per job category.
For the purpose of this article, we will make some deductions from the overall survey results as the Legal Profession was not covered separately.
What Appeals to Attract Lawyers in 2020?
3. Money, Money…
Across the board, all categories said they were mostly driven to accept a job opportunity by the salary/compensation on offer for the position.
Can we assume that lawyers are not that different from the other categories?
Yes – from our own experience of talking to candidates – money is the key driver to accept a job, closely followed by an expectation/confidence of job security (money today and money in the future).
What is the right salary to attract top candidates?
Your target candidate’s current monthly salary is the minimum threshold to open a conversation; the Loss Aversion Bias prohibits people to accept offers that are lower than what they currently have in monthly salary, even though the total annual income might be higher. (read more on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loss_aversion or check out the books listed in the bibliography at the end (4)) .
Beside psychological hurdles, many candidates face constraints of accepting a lower monthly salary based on current obligations a person has to meet.
Based on the JobsDB survey, candidates expect between 20 and 30% uplift – and here is room for negotiation to balance the weight of the different income components in an annual income framework.
Where does that confidence in job security come from?How is it generated?
In pre-internet days, young and established lawyers would rely on the “buzz” in the legal community to make that assessment by looking at the historical performance as a law office and as an employer, visibility, and perception in the legal community, the standing of the partners, the legal opinions published in law reviews and client representations.
Today with the overload of available sources of information on everything and anything, law firms have to establish their Employer Brand just like any other company to attract top talent.
4. Attract Lawyers With Employer Branding
In the JobsDB survey, the attraction of “money” to join a company was closely followed by career and development opportunities as communicated by the company and perceived as credible by the candidate.Communication and Credibility are operational words here.
One firm says it very nicely on their career website :
“We promise to make you a better lawyer”
People are attracted by clear and consistent messaging.If you are not able to lay out an employee value proposition as a matter of policy, you are bound to lose out on the top talent available .
Establishing the brand of your firm as an attractive employer is an ongoing effort and surely not a one shot exercise. In true fact you, your employees, add to your “employer brand” continuously through your interactions with the public in general, with clients, with competitors and colleagues and with potential candidates of course.
Take a good look at your WEBSITE
In recruitment (and legal recruitment in particular), the company’s website – more than any other medium – is the initial face of a firm to a candidate.
Most legal websites are designed “to turn visitors into prospects. And the way to do this is to identify the major user types visiting your site, speak to their needs and give them a clear action step to take next.” (https://weblium.com/blog/) (6)
Candidates are a very identifiable user group for your website.It pays to have a separate “Career” Level 1 action button on your website, dedicated for interactions with candidates.
However the general content should be considered as equally important, while it will educate candidate-visitors about the scope of your legal services.
This is the point in the process where you will lose visitors to your site or attract them for further browsing and reading: if your website is designed to attract clients AND candidates, then they logically will end up in the Career section of your website.
Develop your EMPLOYEE VALUE PROPOSITION
In the Career section of your site, to attract lawyers and candidates you require a realistic but attractive employee value proposition.
Depending on your business context, you can opt for a two upto a four prong approach:
MUST HAVE SECTIONS
1. Job Categories/ Listings –
High quality job descriptions – describe as best as possible what is expected and what you expect in terms of qualifications. You can include behavioral qualities and characteristics that you are looking for in candidates – it will give people a view of what kind of law firm you are.
2. Life @ / Working @ the firm
This is a good place to highlight the principles and values that you stand for as a company and how these are applied in the daily work routine.
Rewards and/or certificates that the company has received over the years have a nice home here as do a selection of your most recognizable clients.
Law firms tend to list their legal teams in a different section, but renowned partners or representations in professional organizations carry a lot of weight and will heighten the credibility and the trust a candidate can put in the firm.
NICE TO HAVE SECTIONS
3. Career Tracks
The explanation can be as basic as saying that you look for legal professionals at intern, junior, associate , lawyer, partner levels or you can describe typical career tracks in specialist and generalist rolesor that you appreciate working with interims
4. Benefits and Perks
While most firms don’t want to advertise their salary ranges for a variety of reasons, Benefits that are extended to all employees can be presented here: provident fund, insurance policies (medical, life, income guarantee..), home-work travel reimbursement
Perks: extra days annual leave, work from home flexibility, quality of office, location with easy access to quality public transportation, free reserved parking, day-care-centers for kids and others.
The website and its content are just the very visible tip of the Employer Brand iceberg, and other handles need to be managed professionally. You can turn to MIDAS PR for further guidance today for more information or get in touch with them by email. Midas and BMS jointly published a full scope blog on the subject of Employer Branding.
Your company will immediately and directly benefit from every dollar spent in this field for instance by getting better candidates through your own efforts or by using a recruitment agency to attract lawyers.
5. Professionalize your Hiring and Use a Specialized Agency
Why use a recruitment agency to attract lawyers- when you can do the job search yourself?
Using a professional recruiting firm will cost money, but engaging a specialized agency will multiply the chances of attracting the best-fitted players for your company. It is their profession to find and ATTRACT!
Agencies in general
- Approach hidden and/ or passive talent
- Function as a safe intermediary, so you don’t become the villain-poacher
- Offer a no cure no pay solution, with a free replacement guarantee.
- Save you a tremendous amount of time
Why work with us?
Agencies specialized in a particular sector or profession are familiar with candidates and companies in that sector and add immediate understanding to what a company needs and what candidates want at a particular time in their career.
We are one of the few if not the only dedicated legal and HR agencies in Thailand and we are committed to advance both sectors in terms of development trends, shortages, reward strategies.
We believe the complexities put on the world today, warrants a specialist approach with dedicated resources and efforts, to make sure that you will have the right people on board, in an environment and culture that doesn’t hinder people to develop.
How do we do this?
We work in partnership with our clients by making both companies and candidates more successful to attract lawyers.
We do not pretend to be able to fill all jobs assigned to us or to find a position for all our candidates, but we have a common interest to always do our utmost to respond to your particular needs.
None of the 5 attraction approaches on itself will satisfy all your needs. But we are strong advocates of using all 5 flexibly depending on specific need, urgency, available internal resources and opportunity. We are very interested in discussing your ways of attracting people.
For more insights on legal and HR recruitment, you can check out our other blogs on the BMS Recruitment website : https://bmsrecruitment.co.th/bms-legal-hr-blog/
Or just get in touch!
- Thailand – Thai Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette
- Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow (available from all major bookstores)
- Richard Thaler , Misbehaving (available from all major bookstores)