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Hiring Recent Law Student Graduates At Your Law Firm

  
  
  
  
  
  

Legal HiringAfter years of vigorous study and preparation for a career in law, graduating students are ready to begin their long sought out careers in the field. Given the extensive preparation needed for a legal career - a 4-year college degree, 3 years of law school and a passing grade on a written bar exam - graduates are prepared and eager to join the workforce in the legal industry. They have the motivation to succeed and are well versed on the latest legal topics that are important to being a well-developed attorney or law professional.

Finding the top graduates for your law firm can be critical to future success. Forward thinking law students start building experience for their careers while they are still in law school. Good grades are important because some firms only accept the top 5 to 10%. Practical experience, such as writing briefs, arguing substantive law, interacting with and developing strong relationships with clients, is very important to law firms looking to hire new grads. Top candidates take part in clinical programs, and become involved in practice trials and projects under the supervision of lawyers and their school faculty.  Associates can also get good experience by volunteering in legal-aid offices or on legislative committee as well as part-time or summer clerkships in law firms, government agencies and corporate legal departments.  

According to the National Employment Matrix, 1,113,700 law professionals were employed in the legal industry in 2010, while those numbers are expected to reach 1,177,900 in 2020. According to a recent Forbes article, American law schools produce 45,000 new graduates each year.   

Choosing the top candidates from this pool that are the right fit for your firm, can still be a difficult task. Many firms offer training programs and clerk experience before deciding on which students to offer a full time position. Many firms also use legal staffing firms as a means of reviewing top candidates. These staffing agencies provide the opportunity to find motivated, hardworking individuals that would be the right fit for your company. After reviewing candidates' credentials, skills and experiences, staffing firms place qualified candidates in job positions that match both the needs of your company and candidate’s goals.

Alternate hiring methods, such as temp-to-hire, allow firms to gauge the candidates fit prior to making a permanent hiring decision. Law Dawgs® provides full-service legal and corporate staffing and placement of support and administrative personnel.  Contact Us today to learn about temporary, project, temp-to-hire and direct-hire employees. 

Law Dawgs® -  LEGAL STAFFING SPECIALISTS SERVING THE LEGAL AND CORPORATE COMMUNITIES

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Hiring Summer Associates for Your Law Firm

  
  
  
  
  
  

It's that time again where companies tend to hire interns or temporary workers for summer training, experience building or fill-ins for associates on vacation. According to recent report by the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), law firms spent more time on-campus looking for summer hires, even though they did not recruit as much as they did before the 2008 recession. However, law firms did offer a higher percentage of callback interviews to prospective summer associate hires last fall, with the median number of 10 offers.  Smaller summer associate class sizes have also allowed firms to extend permanent job offers to an overwhelming majority of summer associates.

Law DawgsThe report also focuses on the number of law school graduates who received a permanent job offer from the firm where they completed summer clerkships.  In the class of 2012, 91.4% received permanent job offers, which is the second-highest offer rate in over 17 years (topped only by the 92.8% rate measured in 2007).  Of those job offers, 85% accepted, which is close to the rate of 84.5% for 2009.

Recruiting rates of U.S. law firms on the campuses of U.S. law schools has shown modest gains during the late summer and early fall of 2011, leading to growing confidence in top legal industry lea

ders. Even though entry-level recruiting rates have yet to return to robust pre-recession levels, 2011 marked the second year in a row in which law firms returned to law school campuses in somewhat greater numbers than the year before. Across employers of all sizes, the median number of offers extended rose from 9 to 10, which is up from 7 in 2009. The mean number of offers rose to 22, from 19, and while this is up from an historic low of 16 in 2009.

NALP

These are among the key findings reported in NALP's just-released Perspectives on Fall 2011 Law Student Recruiting, an annual report based on NALP surveys on selected aspects of fall recruitment activity and the experiences of both legal employers and law schools.

While law firm recruiting activity and volume vary greatly from one office to another, these national hiring rates show that recruiting volumes continue to rise for the second year in a row as law firms try to return to pre-recession levels.

Law Dawgs is an experienced legal staffing firm that can help your company connect with the brightest law professionals throughout the country.

Law Dawgs® -  LEGAL STAFFING SPECIALISTS SERVING THE LEGAL AND CORPORATE COMMUNITIES

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Current Job Position Trends Within the Legal Industry

  
  
  
  
  
  

The legal industry has been going through massive structural changes recently, and it isThe Legal Industry important that your law firm or company has the right legal professionals for your industry and business success. Lawyers have many responsibilities that they need to master that are indicative of a successful career:

  • Representing their client in litigation

  • Advising clients on actions that effects long and short term interests

  • Educating clients on laws, legality of actions and offering other legal advice

  • Heightened research or contract analyzing for litigation or investigation

According to a recent article from ABA Journal, in the past 30 years, the legal market has changed dramatically.  There has been massive growth in overall legal work, which consists of mostly process work due to the greater amount of information available.  There has been strong growth in in-house legal staffing versus outsourcing to legal firms due to a cost advantage. 

Current legal work trends:

  • Advocacy - This type of work has consistently remained the most prevalent position for legal professionals.  The cost per hour and demand for this type of work continues to grow within the industry. 

  • Counseling – Counseling work is usually done in-house due to the necessity of a deep understanding of the client, its employees and business. However, law firm counseling service provides an unbiased, third party perspective as well as a broader set of experiences.

  • Content – Work in this sector has been decreasing for some time. The price of content writing, such as memo writing, has been falling since it can be completed by specialty content firms.  Revenues in this field will continue to drop for law firms.

  • Process – This work will continue to grow, but it will increasingly be the responsibility of lower-cost people, management process and technology maintenance. Most of this work is done in-house, however demand for process work will continue to outpace other areas of legal work. 

LAW DAWGSIt is important for law firms to have employees working in each of these vital fields to conduct business successfully in the legal industry. Appropriate staffing for these positions will reap long-term benefits for the success of your company. Hiring hardworking, motivated individuals in these job positions will allow your firm to be more productive and charge premium rates for your services. Law Dawgs®staffing professionals can help your firm or company find the most qualified talent in the industry. Our Legal Specialist Recruiters can also provide you with temporary legal staffing if your company is not ready to hire new, permanent, full-time employees.

Law Dawgs® -  LEGAL STAFFING SPECIALISTS SERVING THE LEGAL AND CORPORATE COMMUNITIES

How Evolutionary Technology has Affected the Legal Industry

  
  
  
  
  
  

Virtual TeamsEvolutionary technology has allowed great flexibility in the workplace, granting companies the opportunity to allow virtual work among their employees.  Virtual work has become a new trend among companies by bringing significant benefits for paralegals in terms of productivity and quality of life.  It allows lawyers to work more closely with clients and save their firm money.  With the technology already available and becoming more widespread, it is expected that telecommuting will be a viable option that many lawyers will consider at some point in their careers.

 

Much of the work done by attorneys and paralegals is done outside of the law firm's office.  Internet research on precedents for a case and any writing can easily be done anywhere and shared via e-mail or fax.  Meetings can also be held outside of an office, with participants (who may be all over the globe) joining a teleconference with the presenter sharing information over the Internet through visuals and the phone.  Since everyone can be comfortable in teleconferences that do not require in-person meetings, participants may be more attentive if the presentation is interactive.  Many clients may be just as comfortable meeting their attorney at a coffee shop as they would at an office.  A telecommuting attorney may also have more time to spend with the client because they are not bound by office hours.

Telecommuting

Telecommuting may not be practical for everyone in the law industry. Attorneys are the most likely to be given the option to telecommute, since they tend to have higher authority. Paralegals are less likely to telecommute since their presence in the office makes them more accessible to attorneys when they are needed.

In addition to telecommuting, virtual teams are also prevalent in many law firms.  Successful legal teams are based on trust and competence and are performance-focused.  Competent and productive virtual team players encompass the following qualities:

  • Excellent communication skills to avoid misinterpretations and misunderstandings.

  • Strong job competency, which is seen achieved through an above average performance rating in their job responsibilities without the need to be continuously coached or ask for help.

  • Technical tool competency, which is the knowledge of how to use all hardware and software tools that are required for communication and knowledge sharing.

  • Organizational and time management skills in setting up a virtual work space that needs to be maintained. Coordination, communication and work flow also require high levels of organization and time management.

  • Conflict management to have the willingness and ability to deal directly with opportunities, issues, challenges and conflict instead of avoiding them.

  • Knowledge of firm policies, procedures and cultural norms to avoid unintentionally creating a financial risk or unethical situation.

  • Ability to set boundaries to separate work and pleasure in your home, such as separating phone lines, setting clear work hours and using designated workspace away from distraction.

In its list of top 50 law firms for women, Working Mother magazine reported on telemarketing trends in these firms.  Nearly all of its top 50 firms said they offered reduced-hour schedules, with 62% offering full-time telecommuting.  While telecommuting and virtually working with a team is a fairly new trend, it seems to have become widespread due to its practicality for both the law firm and its attorneys.

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Using Social Media in the Legal Industry

  
  
  
  
  
  

Social media is a useful corporate tool to spread news and updates about business and the industry as a whole. Even though the legal industry has been reluctant in using social media in the past, many firms and professionals are starting to see the benefits of using this means of communication to make announcements and news of interest as well as connect with others in the industry.

Law Dawgs

There are several ways to get involved on social media in the legal industry:

  • LinkedIn is used by professionals to highlight their previous experiences, education and skills, in addition to networking with other professionals. LinkedIn is also used by law firms to post industry updates, update potential clients with company news and provide overview and contact information for the business. Law firms are able to connect with LinkedIn groups related  to their business as a way to discuss topics of interest with other professionals.

  • Twitter is used by law firms to post quick updates on the industry and other relative news.  Lawyers and law firms can also use Twitter to obtain new work by answering questions people ask relating to their respective practice areas. 

  • Facebook is also used by law firms to connect with potential clients and law professionals and provide industry and company news and updates.

Law Dawgs

LexisNexis surveyed 110 law firms around the world during the months of April and May 2011 to study the prevalence of social media in the law industry. The study found that 77% of surveyed law firms have at least one social media presence. At 77%, LinkedIn was the most used social network by law firms, and Twitter was the second most used, with 35% using it.  However, the study noted that even though these law firms claimed to be on these social networking sites, many of them are not really using them to their potential - some just claiming their usernames or using it to broadcast press releases. 

If you decide to start using social media, you should make sure you adhere to specific professional standards as to not compromise the integrity of your business. It’s important to maintain client confidentiality and not discuss or share information that is private to the client. Make sure to identify yourself and your company as a way to take responsibility and trust for what you decide to share.  Also, it is vital to be respectful of colleagues, the firm and competitors as a way to maintain the integrity and respect for what you share.

For examples of how we use Social Media see below:

Workplace Diversity: Employee Trends at Law Firms

  
  
  
  
  
  
Workplace Diversity

In modern society, it is vital for companies to ensure equal opportunities and fair hiring practices when looking through job candidates. Workplace diversity fosters the equal treatment of culturally diverse people, which includes people with unique group identities, such as gender and race.

According to a recent edition of the NALP Directory of Legal Employers, the percentage of minority lawyers in the U.S. rose to 12.70% in 2011 from 12.40% in 2010, an increase of 372 minority workers. Also, minority women account for 6.23% in 2011, as compared to 6.20% in 2010. However, just under one-third of lawyers are women, with 32.61% in 2011, a drop when compared with 32.69% in 2010. In the past 19 years, research has shown an increase in the presence of women and minorities in both partner and associate ranks.

James Leipold, NALP’s Executive Director states, “The 2011 figures reveal that a year later, while the figures for minority associates have bounced back, the overall number of women associates actually declined further. This is a significant finding.”  

In respect to the future of law firms, he notes, “The newest data suggests that the temporary set-back for minority representation has been reversed but that the representation of women among associates has continued to trend downward. The loss of women has slowed, but at a time when far too few women make up the partnership ranks of US law firms, this is not a trend that can be ignored.”  

A culturally diverse workplace environment is important in creating a productive industry, made up of talented individuals from a multitude of different backgrounds and ideas.  Here are some of the ways workplace diversity enhances work performance:

  • Reduction of workplace discrimination

  • Collaboration between people of various cultural backgrounds leads to alternative ways of solving problems

  • Employees become more tolerant of one another

  • Pre-conceived notions and stereotypes are abandoned

  • An environment of acceptance and value of workplace contributions is cultivated amongst employees

  • Employee are free to work to their full potential

As research shows, workplace diversity is becoming more vital in employee selection for law firms throughout the country.

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Legal Sector Employment Update

  
  
  
  
  
  

Many industries throughout the country have been suffering from the crippling economy that we have been facing in recent years. The unemployment rate peaked in the past decade at 10.1% in October 2009, from since it has been sporadically decreasing. This past October, the unemployment rate dropped to 9.0% from 9.1% in September. This labor situation has affected a multitude of industries across the country, including the legal sector

U.S. Bureau of Labor StatisticsThe U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a report every month on the employment situation of nonfarm payroll employment throughout the country broken down into sectors. According to the October 2011 report, nonfarm payroll employment continued to trend up in October, adding over 80,000 jobs. However, The New York Times reported that these figures fell below most economics’ estimates. 

It is important to note that the legal sector added over 400 jobs this past October. However, despite this increase, the legal industry had added significantly fewer positions than it had in October 2010. Statistics show a +0.4% growth from September 2011 to October 2011. In September, the industry lost 1,300 jobs in addition to the 300 jobs lost in August of this year. Despite this fall in legal jobs, this past July had the most positive job growth with 4,100 jobs being added. 

Legal AuthorityThis past year’s legal employment data shows that the legal sector cannot expect to be dramatically enhanced despite an improving economy. Regardless of these statistics, the fact that the legal sector improved in this past month shows that employment in this industry may lead to a steady increase. If your firm is not ready to hire permanent workers yet, consider taking on a temporary worker.

Hiring temporary workers allows your firm to have more control over your workers and your clients’ confidential information. Temporary employees work within your company walls and become a part of the work environment, which fosters commitment and loyalty to your firm. We conduct complete and thorough onboarding checks on candidates to ensure they are not a threat to your company’s well-being. Based on our screening process we are able to ensure that the temporary worker placed by Law Dawgs® will transition into your firm with relative ease.

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20 Questions for Interviewing Legal Candidates

  
  
  
  
  
  

Interviewing Strategic workforce management begins as early as the interviewing stage of the hiring process. Preparing to interview candidates for your open positions is actually critical to ultimately cultivating a strong team. By asking the correct questions right from the start, you are better able to gauge how well an individual will contribute to your law firm.

Once you have determined the necessary qualifications for the job position, it’s time to receive resumes from legal candidates eager to work at your company. After going through the daunting task of reviewing resumes, you pick out the applicants that you feel may make a good fit and bring them in for an interview.

As the interviewer, there are specific topics of discussion that you should cover to evaluate the best match. During the interview, it’s integral to both analyze a candidate’s technical skills and ability to fit in with your company culture.

Top Questions for Your Interview:

  • Why did you decide to seek a position with this firm?

  • How did you hear about us?

  • What do you know about us?

  • What made you decide to go to law school?

  • Do you think your grades are an accurate reflection of the kind of work you will do as an attorney?

  • What courses did you like most/least?

  • Why did you choose your law school?

  • How has your law school experience prepared you to work here?

  • What would you say is your greatest weakness?

  • Tell me about a recent mistake that you have made.

  • Tell me about a recent accomplishment that has given you the most satisfaction.

  • What do you do for fun?

  • How would you describe your personality?

  • Tell me about your style of leadership.

  • If you do not get hired by this firm, what will you do?

  • What unique contribution do you feel you could make to our firm?

  • What are your long-term and short-term goals?

  • How are you preparing yourself to achieve them?

Implementing a specific interviewing strategy will assist you in choosing the best candidate to contribute positively to your workforce

Lowering the Bottom Line to Increase Employee Engagement

  
  
  
  
  
  

Let’s face it, most companies focus completely on the bottom line - profits and earnings. However, companies would not have the means to thrive without their employees. Companies are a team and are only as strong as their group effort to succeed. Prioritizing employees’ happiness and overall satisfaction is the yellow brick road to continued success.

Organizational justice is the supreme justice of a company’s own government system of functionality. It refers to how fairly an employee feels they are being treated, which in turn impacts their job attitudes and behaviors at work.

Anyone with work experience can tell you that the happier he or she feels at their job, the more motivated they are to complete their responsibilities with the upmost effort and energy. This also creates a sense of commitment and pride towards the company, which leads to a stronger drive to help the company succeed.

Consequently, companies want engaged employees so that profitability and productivity are high. Employees with high productivity lead to be more profitable, more customer-focused, safer, and more likely to withstand temptations to leave. Companies want employees that respect the rules of the office and are loyal to the organization.

A recent Gallup meta-analysis demonstrates the significant differences between engaged workgroups and disengaged workgroups in productivity, profitability, safety incidents and absenteeism. Engaged organizations have 3.9 times the earnings per share (EPS) growth rate compared to organizations with lower engagement in the same industry.

Five Key findings of the 2011 Employee Engagement Report

  • 31% of employees are engaged, while 17% are disengaged

  • Strong correlation between engagement levels and age, role/level, and tenure in the organization. are engaged, while 17% are disengaged

  • Employees have a tendency to view opportunities to apply their talents, career development and training as top drivers of job satisfaction.

  • Trust in executives appears to have more than twice the impact on engagement levels than trust in immediate managers does.

  • Engaged employees plan to stay for what they give, while the disengaged stay for what they get

Now let’s take a journey through the eyes of the employee. What are the important aspects of employee job satisfaction? 

Employee Engagement

High employment engagement is a great benefit for a company. Improving employment engagement translates to the driving force behind motivation and success for your company!

 

Strategy For Your Legal Staffing Search

  
  
  
  
  
  
Hiring Strategy

Whether your company is on the 2012 list of top law firms to work for or not, your business is faced with making strategic hiring decisions. Organizations are looking for professionals who provide exceptional service, keep pace with client demands and pursue new business opportunities that will generate revenue. When considering candidates to hire, many firms first look to see where applicants attended law school and refer to law school rankings. The next step in the qualification process is to decide if the identified candidates have a sufficient level of technical skills to handle the position.

If you have testing in place to determine a candidate’s practical skills, you might believe your new hire is going to make the grade. Basing a hiring decision on skills seems to make sense… but it might not be enough.

According to a three-year study by Leadership IQ, a global leadership training and research company, 46% of newly-hired employees will fail within 18 months while only 19% will achieve unequivocal success. Contrary to popular belief, technical skills are not the primary reason why new hires fail; instead, poor interpersonal skills dominate the list. The study found that candidates were lacking in the following areas:

  • Coachability (26%): The ability to accept and implement feedback from bosses, colleagues, customers and others. 

  • Emotional Intelligence (23%): The ability to understand and manage one's emotions and accurately assess others' emotions.

  • Motivation (17%): A sufficient drive to achieve one's full potential and excel in his or her job. 

  • Temperament (15%): Attitude and personality suited to the particular job and work environment. 

  • Technical Competence (11%): Functional or technical skills required to do the job. 

Leadership IQ compiled these results after studying 5,247 hiring managers from 312 public, private, business and healthcare organizations. Collectively these managers hired more than 20,000 employees during the study period. Click here to read the full results

To ensure a more strategic hiring decision, our hiring process starts with an in-depth evaluation of each client's unique personnel requirements and corporate culture. We find out the most important qualities a candidate most possess in order to succeed in the organization. Then, we look beyond the resumes and rankings when considering candidates; we’re searching for individuals who have the identified “personality” factors and possess qualities such as coachability and motivation.

Many of our clients have also found that a temp-to-hire arrangement leads to greater hiring success. In this option, a firm gets to “try out” a professional to ensure that he or she is the right fit before officially bringing them on to their payroll.

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