Which types of associates should law departments favor for recruitment?

By Mark I. Sirkin, Ph.D., Hildebrandt International

A previous post explains how associates in law firms break into four distinct segments characterized by different goals, different work styles, and different needs (See Mark Sirkin’s post of Dec. 11, 2007.). Only two or three of these segments are really relevant for law departments and understanding them should help in recruiting and retaining the best lawyers.

Approximately 16 percent of the Flexibility Seekers and 14 percent of the Called Lawyers aspired from early on to practice law in a corporation. Both groups, however, chose “Don’t Know” as their career goal a quarter of the time. The Called Lawyers aspired to public service or the judiciary about 22 percent of the time.

Hence, Flexibility Seekers have a relatively active interest in law departments. Called Lawyers do too, but they may be seeking more idealistic career goals down the road. Willing Workers, who we know have a moderate interest in work life balance, could be convinced that law departments are good career choice for them with the right financial and work/life balance incentives. Recruiters, start your engines!

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