Relationships are everything to recruiters. Human connection and understanding are the most valuable tools. Placing a lawyer at a firm where that lawyer will not be happy may yield a short-term profit, but will ultimately cost the recruiter a great deal more. Happy lawyers refer friends and share information, and happy firms send more business a recruiter’s way. Nurturing friendships and connections at firms across the country allows recruiters to cultivate an organic sense of the industry they serve. Good recruiters do not need to read industry trade papers, though they often do. They know industry news before it breaks, from primary sources imbedded in the firms.
I’ve learned that the career of successful legal recruiters grows in exponential proportion to the number of positive, mutually-beneficial relationships they develop. Recruiters begin their careers calling into firms and establishing connections and friendships one placement at a time. Then, as their network of placements grows, and as those lawyers become partners, the recruiters become better informed and therefore more useful to prospective clients.
The more useful recruiters become, the broader the expanse of their client base, knowledge and utility. Therefore, good legal recruiters will always value the development of long-term relationships over the making of short-term deals, because the present value of any positive relationship is exponentially greater than the value of any one-time commission.
Great recruiters, however, need not do that math because they love people, love making friends, and want to see the people with whom they interact thrive and succeed. Any monetary incentive is just gravy for the best recruiters. Establishing and maintaining relationships are the prime motivators. That’s how Raj recruits, that’s why he’s had so much enduring success, and that’s why I’ve learned so much from him in such a small amount of time.