Page 19 - Minnesota Vol 8 No 4
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Firm-Wide Recruiting Prohibi- tion. If your recruiting agreement (or theirs) mentions the NALSC Code of Ethics, it’s time to change your contracts. Require recruiters to sign a  ve-year,  rm-wide recruiting pro- hibition from the time of the most recent payment. Truly ethical  rms will be happy to do so.
No. 2: De ne Consequences for Poaching After Receipt of a Fee. If a  rm you’ve paid a fee, recruits and places one of your people elsewhere, the search  rm should refund an amount equal to the last fee they received from you. This will de nitely deter betrayal as a business practice.
No. 3: Thoroughly debrief all candidates hired through re- cruiters. Ask them all about the recruiter’s methodology, how many  rms they were submitted to and so on. That will separate the loyal rela- tionships from those that are purely transactional.
No. 4: With Respect to Partners with Portable Business, Request Alternative Fee Arrangements. Rather than paying recruiters based on the salary of the partner, pay them based on the revenues the partner ac- tually produces.
HOW RECRUITERS DAMAGE INDIVIDUAL LEGAL CAREERS
When I worked for Big Recruiting, my objectives were clear:
1. Gets as many resumes possible. 2. Send those resumes to as many
places possible.
3.Any interested client would be
touted as a great place to work. 4.Encourage the candidate to go where the highest offer was made, in order to collect the largest fee
possible. 5. Repeat.
My  rst couple of employers op- erated under a split-commission
business model. That meant that if I sent my candidate to the client of an- other recruiter, we had to split com- missions. So, if someone else had a far superior opportunity, instead of making $50,000, I would make only $25,000.
While recruiters will insist they would never try to make a placement with their own clients  rst, human nature makes clear what often hap- pens under that business model. If there were no splits or I had no cli- ents, the attorney’s resume would be shot-gunned to every client in town.
The better  rms do not split fees and they certainly never send a re- sume without an attorney’s permis- sion. Does that mean it’s not still done?
Robert Shapiro, a litigation part- ner at the prestigious AmLaw  rm, Duane Morris con rms it is.
“I once worked with a recruiter and I made the parameters very clear. She would check with me prior to send- ing my resume anywhere,” he paused and sighed. “She submitted my re- sume to every  rm in town, without my consent. No matter where I went, she wanted to get the credit for pre- senting me.”
As he continued, the frustration was clear.
“This included places where I had close personal relationships and would never have gone through a recruiter, as well as places that had reputations which would preclude an introduction. There was zero consid- eration of what would be bene cial to me at all.”
WHAT ATTORNEYS CAN DO ABOUT IT
No. 1: Don’t lie or work with any- one encouraging you to do so. In the long-term, exaggerating your book can cost you political capital or even your new position.
No. 2: Put the parameters and
consequences in writing. Send recruiters an email that reads thus: “Please acknowledge your full understanding that you will not submit my resume (in normal or “blind” format), my name or other identifying information to any potential employer without my prior, express consent. Failure to do so will result in my immediate communication to said employer that you were not authorized to do so and that no fee shall be due to you, should I join that  rm.”
No. 3: Ask if their  rm has a split commission model. If so, ask if there are any other positions their  rm has, that they haven’t told you about.
No. 4: Do your due diligence. If the recruiter doesn’t share both the positives and negatives about an op- portunity, something is wrong. No place is perfect. If they won’t give you the reality, do research on your own. Your career is at stake.
A recruiting  rm can offer signi - cant value to your  rm or career. The best legal recruiters can get premium candidates, groups or even targets for law  rm acquisitions to the table. They can help you identify opportu- nities that will accelerate or improve your practice, income, lifestyle etc.
However, just as with the practice of law, it’s time for both attorneys and clients to demand better value, loyalty and ethics from the profes- sion they sustain. The easiest way to accomplish this is to simply stop tol- erating the worst practices and work with those who exemplify the best.
FREDERICK SHELTON IS THE CEO OF SHELTON & STEELE (WWW.SHELTON- STEELE.COM), A NATIONAL LEGAL RE- CRUITING AND CONSULTING FIRM. SINCE 1993, FREDERICK HAS WORKED WITH ASSOCIATES, COUNSEL, PARTNERS, GROUPS AND COORDINATED LAW FIRM MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS.
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