How to Search Effectively for the Top Legal Talent

January 7, 2021

It’s no secret that the very top of the legal talent pool are already employed somewhere else.  More than ever their employment options range beyond traditional law firms to include alternative legal service providers, on-demand contract positions, accounting firms and a variety of in-house roles at public, non-profit and private companies.

Given the increased opportunities available for lawyers to choose from, employers need to assess their recruiting competency and process.  How well do legal employers draw in the most high-powered candidates to join their legal teams?  Are employers struggling to select one preferred candidate from a handful — all interested and fighting for the opportunity?  Are offers accepted unequivocally or are you experiencing that last minute candidate call informing of their decision to accept a competing offer. Or alternatively, is the recruiting process dragging on and on for months because the pool of available top talent is absent or being drawn elsewhere.

With the increased competition for the best legal talent and the diversity of options available for them to consider, attracting the very best legal professionals is more challenging than ever.  As a result, employers require a more sophisticated approach and need to professionalize their recruitment methods to minimize losing out on the preferred candidates and falling behind on the overall caliber of their bench strength.

Developing strong relationships with legal recruiters and university placement officers will help to ensure a steady flow of talent to your doorstep. Legal recruiters add value to the recruitment process by knowing which superstars in the field are inclined to make a career transition and proactively approaching them at the right moment to position new opportunities. They canvass the market in an organized, targeted fashion. The very best recruiters are integrated in the legal sector, networking at conferences, events, online, and within professional organizations.

Those firms specializing in legal talent management can offer more than simple legal headhunting.  Like The Counsel Network, such legal recruiters offer valuable consulting services to assess existing recruiting methods and programs.  Their unique insight and experience helps legal employers adapt to the evolving challenges of finding the right legal professionals.

Last but not least, actively involve your existing Associates in the recruitment process. Perceptive Associates will be able to approach like-minded colleagues who will be an excellent fit to your organization.  And for those Associates tapped to play a leadership role in the recruiting process, there is the added bonus retention wise as they become increasingly invested in building the future of the firm or legal department.


Dal Bhathal is a Managing Partner at The Counsel Network, a Canadian legal recruitment firm specializing in legal talent management strategies covering all levels of lawyers and practices for both corporate legal departments and law firms. To discuss talent management strategies that drive attraction of top legal talent, contact Dal at or 416.364.6654/604.643.1708. 


Join our network to receive helpful news and information from the legal profession.

Follow us @Counsel_Network