Hiring a Legal Management Professional

The Candidate Search Process

There are a number of ways to recruit candidates, from daily or legal newspapers to online job boards. Consulting companies will recruit and screen candidates for you and charge a placement fee, generally a percentage of the hired person’s compensation during their first year with your firm.

A firm may also solicit candidates through the Association of Legal Administrators' Job Bank, which offers firms a timely and cost-effective way to advertise positions. Job bank advertisements are posted in ALA’s Job Bank and are accessed by hundreds of legal management professionals. 

Interviewing and Reference Checking

Be prepared to invest what may be a significant amount of time for screening and interviewing. Dedicating adequate time and resources to this process can help ensure you hire the right person to help achieve your firm’s success. This is especially important when hiring a legal administrator or other legal management professional as job descriptions and the office environment and culture can vary widely across law firms.

Potential conflicts in management styles may be eliminated if there is an understanding of expectations by the law firm and the legal manager. The firm’s history and assets, job requirements and the legal manager's personal qualities should be thoroughly discussed during the interview. The interviewer should also provide a clear understanding of the law firm's philosophy, goals, objectives and the different personalities within the firm. It is critical that you clearly and accurately articulate your firms' needs and what you require of a team member.

At an appropriate time in the search process, the firm should undertake a thorough investigation of the preferred candidate. Character references and an understanding of the candidate’s style, work ethic and soft skills can be crucial. If evaluating reasons for a legal manager's termination, be alert for scenarios where mutual expectations were not well-identified, where the legal manager was given responsibilities but not the authority to carry them out, or where the termination was the result of a merger or downsizing of operations. In instances like these, the termination of employment may have had nothing to do with the legal manager's abilities.

Get valuable tips on hiring and background checks in our featured podcast, "The Latest in Hiring and Background Screening" with Kevin Prendergast, President & General Counsel at Research Associates, Inc.