Why you should use a legal recruiter and how to pick the right one!

October 29, 2014

It is that time in your career when you have decided to make a move from your current law firm and look for a new legal role.  You probably have an idea as to what type of firm you would like to move to and probably an idea as to how much you want to (or feel you should) be paid.  What you have probably not considered is whether to use a legal recruiter and, then, which recruiter to use to assist you in your search for a new legal role.

Why should you use a legal recruiter?  In the past, the profession has been tainted by a particular reputation – salesy types ignoring what the candidate wants and sending CVs everywhere without authority.  Unfortunately, that still exists (albeit to a much smaller degree than you imagine) but there are many benefits to using a legal recruiter and these benefits outweigh any potential negatives.  The key is finding the right recruiter – one you can trust with your career and you know will listen to you.

What are the main benefits of using a good legal recruiter?

1. Good legal recruiters will know the market in which you and they operate inside out.  They should be able to give you impartial, unbiased and informed advice as to how the legal market is performing, which law firms are performing well and what the general legal market trends are.

2. Good legal recruiters should have an extensive contact base.  This means they will be aware of the best legal opportunities on the market at any given time – not just those that are advertised.  As a result of relationships they have with partners and senior solicitors, good legal recruiters may be able to open a door in to a law firm that would not be an option otherwise.  The key is for a strong understanding of the law firm’s business, where there is potential for growth and what they are looking for in a new recruit – both in terms of quality and cultural fit.  Often, there is no point putting a client and candidate together as the personality fit just isn’t there.

3. A good legal recruiter will be able to assess your strengths, wants and desires as to a new role and a new employer and advise accordingly.  This may seem like an obvious point, but solicitors tend to want a consultative approach rather than to feel shoe-horned into any available position because that is simply an easier job for a legal recruiter!  Only a good legal recruiter will offer you that consultative approach and an open and honest appraisal of your options.

4. A good legal recruiter is a trusted ally in the recruitment process.  There is an element of detachment for the solicitor from the process, allowing them to concentrate on his/her current job. A good legal recruiter will be able to highlight your strengths and positive attributes to a legal employer, but also maintain a middle ground and an impartiality which will be invaluable in any kind of negotiation surrounding remuneration or benefits.

So, how do you choose the right legal recruiter?

1. Whenever possible – meet up!  Speaking on the phone or communicating by email is fine (particularly when geographical constraints prohibit a face-to-face meeting) but nothing beats sitting in front of someone and getting to know him/her properly.  Ask questions about how the recruiter and wider practice operate and make yourself comfortable that this person can either represent you or, indeed, cannot.

2. Look at the pedigree of the recruiter.  Has he/she worked in the law?  How long has he/she been working in recruitment?  People will naturally place more or less importance on the answers to these questions depending on individual preference.

3. Seek recommendations from friends.  This is probably the best way to at least make contact with a recruiter – if you know someone who had a good experience, that should hopefully mean you will too.  That said, should you meet the recruiter and decide otherwise, then do not be afraid to disagree with the recommendation and use someone else.

Why should you pick CapeClarke?

At CapeClarke, we are proud of the feedback we have received from clients and candidates throughout our careers as legal recruiters.  Many of our candidates have been referrals to us from others who felt they received a good service and felt we could be trusted handling the confidential matters of either a particular need of a law firm or the interests of a legal professional looking for a move.

CapeClarke is a niche legal recruitment consultancy, formed and operating in Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle as well as other legal centres across the North of England.  We concentrate only on placing legal professionals – paralegals, solicitors and partners – into appropriate roles in private practice law firms or in-house positions.

The directors at CapeClarke are both legally qualified, having worked at Addleshaw Goddard and Walker Morris (two of the traditional “Big 6” law firms in Leeds).  This is quite rare and something we believe sets us apart from other legal recruiters.  We know what it is like to work in competitive commercial law firm and are able to appreciate the pressures the modern solicitor or legal professional is under.  Furthermore, we have been on the other side of the recruitment process and have been privy to both the good and bad sides of legal recruiters.  We know what your expectations are and we know how to exceed those expectations.

Confidentiality is of paramount importance to CapeClarke.  We guarantee our candidates that their CVs and any identifying details will remain confidential at all times, unless we are given express authority by the candidate to disclose such CV or details.  We will always discuss options with you as part of the consultative approach we offer.

We hope you decide to choose CapeClarke, but if you do want to look elsewhere the key to choosing the right legal recruiter will be to speak to your friends and trusted sources about their experiences of particular recruitment specialists, then get to know those who you think might be able to help you find the perfect new role!


We hope you have found this useful, but if you would like to discuss in greater detail, have been thinking about a move or would just like some general advice about options in the market, please feel free to contact Terry Cape or Chris Clarke on 0113 2385965.

CapeClarke is a leading niche legal recruitment consultancy operating across Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool and London. Please feel free to check out our priority legal vacancies by clicking here.  Please note these legal vacancies are only a small selection of those we have been instructed on, so please get in touch if you do not see a role which looks suitable.

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