Executive Legal Search Consultants
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Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Companies Looking to Expand Their Legal Departments

10. Stop relying on internal recruiters to save money.  There are many talented internal recruiters but most have expertise in the industry they work in not the area of law.  It’s asking too much to expect them to get up to speed in an area they’re not deeply entrenched.

9. Stop using executive retained search firms to hire your legal staff.  These search firms are not attorney placement specialists and are therefore not equipped to manage your searches as effectively as a legal search firm with recruiters who speak to attorneys on a daily basis.

8. Stop using multiple search firms.  Using one search firm that you trust will encourage a collaborative relationship and ensure that a uniform and accurate message is being delivered to the marketplace.

7. Make sure the hiring manager is available to discuss the open search with the recruiting firm at the outset.  This will prove invaluable to the hiring manager and will arm your search firm partner with the requisite information he or she needs to source for the best candidate.

6. Make sure your job description isn’t too broad.  The broader the job description the more likely you are going to be inundated with inappropriate resumes.  Focus on the crucial skill-set and, if it really is a multi-faceted position, discuss the breadth of the role during the interview.

5. Take the time to provide meaningful interview feedback to your search firm partner.  “He or she just isn’t the right fit” isn’t going to cut it. You need to truly develop a collaborative relationship with your search firm partner and providing detailed feedback on candidate interview performance is vital in establishing such a relationship.

4. Start hiring “best athletes” especially in esoteric practice areas with limited candidate supply.  Practice area expertise is important but often times can be learned and developed quickly.  Talent can’t be taught.

3. Start hiring “older” attorneys.  You’ll find they are generally more experienced with problem solving and decision-making.  Further, many older attorneys are past the early stages of child-raising and have more time to commit to their job.

2. Start being more flexible about telecommuting.  This will expand your candidate pool significantly and employees will reward your flexibility with hard work and loyalty.

1. Streamline your interview process.  Anything longer than two full rounds is unnecessary and can turn the best candidates off.  Remember that a candidate’s time is valuable too.

Ten Interview Tips from a Former Law Firm Human Resources Professional

1)      Everything on your resume is fair game.  That’s right.  Even your law school internships and that marketing job you had for two years between college and law school are fair game in an interview.  If you’ve listed it, you need to be prepared to answer questions about it.

2)      The questions you ask are just as important as the answers you give.   Many candidates win points with interviewers by giving strong, well thought out answers only to lose those points by asking bad questions.  Make sure they’re appropriate and that at least some of them serve to illustrate that you’re a top quality candidate.

3)      Practice talking aloud about your work experience until your answers are clear and concise.   When you haven’t thought about a deal or a case in some time, it’s always best to go over it out loud to make sure your explanation comes across in a clear and concise way.  Also, sometimes a deal or case can be so complex, or your role so substantive, that when the time comes you don’t even know where to start.  That’s where a mirror, a friend or spouse, or your recruiter comes in handy.  Go back to your law school days of IRAC and make sure you can relay to the interviewer a few short, concise statements about what the issue was, the applicable law and its application, and the outcome.  Most importantly be sure to highlight any significant role you had.

4)      Never let a tough interview or question throw you off for the rest of your lineup.  You can never know for sure if a seemingly difficult interviewer had a bad day, is distracted by a work emergency, or is, in fact, difficult.  The only thing you can be sure about is that one difficult interview or question might not sink your candidacy.  However, taking that negative energy into the rest of your interviews will certainly take you out of contention.  Remain positive, brush it off, and stay on your A game.  Many times it’s a salvageable situation.

5)      As a lateral it’s all about what you bring to the table-not what the firm/company can do for you.  You’re not an incoming first year anymore.   While you need to convey why you think the firm/company makes sense for the next phase of your career, you should be prepared to focus on what skills and experiences you bring to the table.

6)      Brag, brag, brag.  I know it can be uncomfortable to brag about yourself but an interview is a 30 minute chance for you to sell yourself.  If you don’t illustrate for the interviewer why you’re the best person for the job, who will?  For a more subtle approach, find opportunities to highlight your positives in the questions you’re asked.  For example-When an interviewer asks what you’re working on lately, use your response to not only explain your current work load, but to highlight any significant responsibility you have been given on the matter, or positive feedback from clients and higher-ups.

7)      If you’re talking about basketball for 30 minutes, don’t expect a call back.  Again, it’s your responsibility to make sure you sell yourself to the firm or company and relay why they should hire you.  It’s great if you have something in common with an interviewer or something unique on your resume, but if you’re using all of your precious interview time to bond, the interviewer never gets a sense of what experience and skills you bring to the table.

8)      Be consistent with your Q&A.   You may feel like a robot asking each interviewer the same questions and giving each interviewer the same answers to theirs.  However, giving consistent answers will ensure each interviewer has a similar picture of your candidacy which can make the process of deciding whether to hire you that much easier.  Also, asking each interviewer some of the same questions can help you learn if there’s consistency amongst the department you’re thinking of joining.

9)      Plan out long interviews.  If you have three hours of interviewing ahead, plan accordingly.  Try and get a good night’s sleep so you’re not exhausted by the final interview.  Also, make sure you’ve had a nutritious meal before the interview so you’re not light headed, starving, or sluggish toward the end of your lineup.    

10)   Connect the dots.  For those retooling or looking to specialize or broaden their practice: while you never want to oversell your experience or outright misrepresent your skill set, when interviewing for a job outside of your current practice focus you must connect the dots for the interviewer.  You cannot expect them to know why your background is relevant.  It is your job to explain why your past experiences, education, and careers would allow you to transition smoothly to their practice.

Recent Successful Placements

MARA’s track record of placement of associates, partners and in-house counsel on a national level speaks for itself.  In addition, we have placed numerous attorneys overseas in a variety of locations, including London, Paris, Munich, Hong Kong and Sao Paulo. Below are some of our recent, successful placements, demonstrating the diversity and geographic reach of our business:

  • Corporate attorney from AMLAW 20 firm to publicly-traded media company in New York City.
  • Broker-dealer attorney from AMLAW 50 firm to international investment banking firm in Connecticut.
  • Intellectual property attorney from Texas-based firm to publicly-traded medical device company located in Boulder, Colorado.
  • Leading brand management partner from AMLAW 50 firm to New York office of leading West Coast-based firm.
  • Senior real estate attorney and midlevel capital markets attorney from two AMLAW 100 firms to publicly-traded global REIT in New York City.
  • Senior IP transactional counsel from AMLAW 20 firm to premier New York City based firm.
  • Multiple corporate associates from AMLAW 50 firms to boutique investment bank on the business side as investment bankers in New York City.
  • Commercial litigation partner from New York regional firm to New York office of Virginia-based firm.
  • Corporate attorney from AMLAW 100 firm to publicly-traded publishing company in New York City.
  • Tax and benefits attorney from premier New York City firm to high-end boutique in Portland, Maine.
  • Immigration partner from AMLAW 100 firm to high-end boutique in New York City.
  • Corporate attorney from AMLAW 5 firm to leading emerging company/venture capital firm’s newly-opened New York City office.
  • More than 250 associates working in a variety of practice areas including M&A, private equity, capital markets, investment/asset management, bank finance, project finance/energy, structured finance/derivatives, real estate, litigation, intellectual property, bankruptcy, labor & employment, tax and ERISA into law firms of varying sizes in cities such as New York, Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco/Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Denver, Seattle, Portland, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Baltimore, Detroit, Columbus and throughout New Jersey and Connecticut.

Why Use MARA to Change Jobs?

We take pride in the fact that a significant percentage of our placements are from referrals. To us, that is the highest form of flattery.  Attorneys who work with MARA consistently refer us to their friends and colleagues because:


We don’t view you as just a placement.  Your career fulfillment is our biggest goal.  At the outset of your search we assess your skills, short and long term goals, and review your expectations in order to establish realistic objectives.  As part of our initial consultation, we assist in the preparation of resumes, deal sheets, business plans and other marketing materials.  We’ll act as your “Career Counselor” marketing you to the people who are looking for your specific skills and talents.


Relying on a relationship driven approach to recruiting, we have built an established network of hiring partners, human resource professionals and in-house counsel which uniquely positions us to be able to guide you to the best opportunity.  In recruiting it’s not just “what you know” but “who you know” that makes the difference in landing the job you are seeking.


We are experts in assisting attorneys in refining their interviewing techniques and effectively representing their strengths to potential employers.  We provide you with key information for your interviews, including background on the organization and interviewers, and what they are really looking for during the interview.


We are very respectful of how important your confidentiality is and will never reveal your identity prior to obtaining your express consent.


We will never forget about you after you are placed.  We will check in to make sure the job transition is going as smooth as possible and continue to serve as your career advisors as your career continues to develop.

Why Choose MARA?

The MARA Group understands how critical it is to your business to hire the right person and will conduct each step of the search process in recognition of that responsibility.  We have an established track record of building long term relationships with our clients which is the ultimate proof of our capability.  Our clients continually engage MARA to build their organizations because:


We understand that we are an extension of you when representing your brand in the marketplace and value being your partner in building your business.  We are not a volume recruiting shop focused on the “quick deal”.  We make it a point to learn everything about your business and culture so we are well positioned to produce a favorable outcome.


Our process ensures that you spend time interviewing only those candidates with the highest potential for being the best fit.  We carefully screen each candidate and won’t waste your time with the “spaghetti against the wall” style of recruiting.


Our search process is more comprehensive and thorough than others.  It is during the more challenging engagements where our clients benefit the most from our methodology and persistence and where our firm shines. We exhaust the market until we find the perfect fit. Our goal is to find what you want, not to sell you what we have.


We will find candidates you won’t find on your own.  We feel the best candidates are referrals, not ones who are browsing ads and internet postings. We are focused on long term relationships and as such, we have a vast network of passive candidates and referral sources enabling us to identify the best candidate efficiently.


We never give up on a search and pride ourselves on identifying the “needle in the haystack” candidate for our clients.  We consistently receive feedback from our clients that our analysis of candidates and markets are as thoughtful and thorough as they have ever seen.