The Joys of Job Hunting...
As most of you who know me know, I have been looking for work as an attorney for some time now since graduation. Today, I submitted my resume for a job listing through www.bcgsearch.com.
I've decided to post the correspondence we exchanged today. Please bear in mind that my opinions and suspicions expressed in my response to BCG are merely opinions and suspicions. Form your own opinion about the companies. I have edited out the personal names and phone numbers.
This is what BCG Attorney Search wrote to me
On Mar 22, 2006, at 8:49 PM, BCG Attorney Search wrote:
I wanted to drop you a short note to thank you for taking the time to contact BCG Attorney Search. I just finished reviewing your resume and, prior to that, a BCG Attorney Search recruiter in the area of the United States you are interested in reviewed it as well. I offer the following observations.
First, there is no doubt that you have an outstanding record. Your record since graduating from law school appears quite strong in all respects. We feel privileged that attorneys in positions such as yourself contact us on an ongoing basis.
Second, the issue we have with your candidacy is that your most recent experience has been in an in-house environment, and at BCG Attorney Search we do exclusively law firm placements. As I am sure you are aware, the transition from an in-house to a law firm environment is not an easy one to make. It is our belief that you would be best served by pursuing a search for another in-house position (it's up to you, however) and are likely to experience the most success by pursuing this line of employment. The issue with a recruiting firm such as BCG Attorney Search representing you if you want to work in a law firm is that your odds of success would be greater if you were to do the search on your own. When a law firm uses a recruiting firm, they typically want people who are a "perfect fit" and coming directly from another law firm with a very narrowly defined skill set. Nevertheless, that is when a recruiter is involved. Were you to apply to law firms directly, the result wou! ld likely be different. Below I would like to explain what we believe is the most effective means for going about finding either another in-house position or a law firm position.
As I am sure you are aware, an in-house position is typically difficult to obtain. Some of the largest obstacles to getting an in-house position are (1) the dearth of recruiter opportunities in this field, and (2) the dearth of advertised opportunities in the in-house field. At BCG Attorney Search, we used to make in-house placements but found the entire process extremely inefficient. With so few in-house opportunities, it was difficult to give our candidates the type of options and breadth of choice that should be the cornerstones of any effective job search. When is the last time you heard of a recruiter having 10+ in-house opportunities, for example? In addition, how many job boards do you frequent that have a high number of in-house positions? Virtually none.
An Excellent Way To Locate Actual In-House Openings
Because we are a legal recruiting firm, a large part of our job is screening candidates for employers. More importantly, due to the fact that employers pay us to locate attorneys, they also give us much more demanding hiring criteria than they might otherwise have if you were to approach them for the same positions on your own. This is especially so when you are coming from an in-house environment. A law firm is more likely to hire you if you are applying on your own than coming through a recruiting firm. In addition, because we are contractually obligated to only introduce candidates matching an employer's "specific" hiring criteria, we cannot give away the identity of our clients with positions unless someone meets exactly what they are looking for.
One source which can provide you with immediate access to virtually every open attorney position in the United States is LawCrossing. Since the same opening you expressed interest in on the BCG Attorney Search website is also most likely on LawCrossing, you probably could profit from checking them out. LawCrossing is very effective in tracking down intelligence on jobs and distributing that information to attorneys. LawCrossing is a "job aggregator" and has virtually every in-house position in the United States listed on its website. You are going to find a large number of in-house and law firm openings on LawCrossing that you will not locate elsewhere. However you are going about your search, LawCrossing is a good way to know! what is going on in the market.
The Most Effective Way To Initiate Contact With Employers On Your Own
Probably the most effective way to get a position is through Legal Authority. Legal Authority can assist you in applying to not only the law firm opportunities BCG Attorney Search recruits for, but also in-house, government and public interest opportunities as well. From what I understand, Legal Authority is responsible for getting more attorneys jobs than any other single organization in the United States. Numerous in-house attorneys use this service to transition into law firm environments each year. Some of the success stories from Legal Authority are really quite remarkable. Most people that have used Legal Authority have received multiple interviews - regardless of their background.
In terms of finding a law firm or in-house environment that matches what you may be seeking both culturally and financially, we believe you are going to have far better luck using a company such as Legal Authority than any American recruiting firm. There are thousands of potential opportunities in the United States you would be suitable for, and Legal Authority has access to all of them.
Once again, [EDIT], we appreciate you contacting BCG Attorney Search and wish you the best in your search. I hope my advice has been helpful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone in our Los Angeles offices at 213-895-7300.
Chief Executive Officer
BCG ATTORNEY SEARCH, INC.
175 South Lake Avenue, Suite 200
Pasadena, CA 91101
This e-mail message is confidential, intended only for the named recipient(s) above and may contain information that is privileged, attorney work product or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this message in error, or are not the named recipient(s), please immediately notify the sender at 213-895-[EDIT] and delete this e-mail message from your computer. Thank you.
THIS IS WHAT I WROTE BACK
I must say that I am surprised that the CEO of BCG has personally reviewed my resume! I appreciate that your responses must be somewhat "canned" due to the large number of resumes you likely get on a daily basis. If you had looked at my resume more closely, you would have seen that I have spent a few months filling in a temporary position at [EDIT name of University]. While I would enjoy working in such an environment, I doubt that I have pigeonholed myself as an in-house attorney as you have suggested. If you look more closely, you will see that I have significant experience with a number of law firms, a government law office, a summer clerkship for an appellate court, and that I am a motivated self-initiator who has taken an otherwise unfriendly job market and created work for himself by independently finding and negotiating consulting contracts.
I have previously employed Legal Authority, who happily took my $750 and sent me a couple hundred envelopes to stuff. I have learned that if I want to do a mass mailing campaign (that ultimately proves to be of marginal utility), I can save a lot of money by doing it myself.
As for Law Crossing, no thanks. It is a matter of common knowledge that "job aggregators" that charge for job-seekers to see their listings are a waste of money. I'd rather spend the extra money on extra cell-phone minutes calling the employers myself to see if they have openings.
Also, to an unfamiliar person, you would seem to be giving objective advice about Law Crossing and Legal Authority. At first glance, you would appear to be selflessly honest - telling me that your people probably can't help me, so go ahead and check out these other services, they can probably help you better than we can. My, a company turning down business? They must be telling the truth. However, as I am familiar with both companies, it is readily apparent from your web-design alone that BCG, Law Crossing and Legal Authority are all fruit of the same tree and likely share a close corporate relationship.
That said, and being somewhat disappointed that BCG appears to be fishing for attorneys who aren't a "perfect fit" so that it can refer the dejected candidates to its sister companies to then PAY for their essentially valueless services, please forgive me if I have some doubts about the genuineness of your reply.
It is difficult enough as it is trying to make ends meet when you went $150,000+ in the hole earning a law degree from a top 25% law school, only to be borne into a depressed Baltimore job market where you have to compete with 50 to 100 or more resumes for even the most menial of attorney positions. I certainly do not need to be donating any more of my hard earned money to companies who offer only marginally helpful services.
I have worked for real placement agencies such as Special Counsel. I know they're real because they call me on a regular basis to find out where I am, whether I'm working, what kind of work I'm looking for, etc. Best of all, they actually come through with jobs. You see, they don't have sister companies to pawn me off to, so they are motivated to take a talented individual like myself and place me into a job that is a good fit for the client and for me. People like me make people like them very happy. I do excellent work every time I am placed. I get rave reviews from each place I do work. That makes the agency's clients happy and gives the clients more confidence in the agency. The agency's reputation thus grows stronger in the community ultimately generating greater profits for the agency.
I feel that any recruiting company that's worth its salt ought to be looking for candidates to fit each individual job. The impression I got from your response was that you could tell by looking only at my most recent position, that I would not be a "perfect fit" for any position that BCG would have to offer. Bad for BCG, but good for Law Crossing and Legal Authority.
Feel free to take a second look at my resume and actually compare it to individual positions as they are posted to see if, indeed, I am not the kind of person that anyone BCG services would want to hire.
I look forward to hearing back from you.