One of the biggest pain points a lot of my clients have is in the hiring process. They reach the point where they need more time to work “on” their practice rather than “in” it. Or they have more legal work than they can handle by themselves and they need to build capacity.
Hopefully you're already in the position where you need to hire an associate but if you're not you probably will be soon.
So let's discuss the problems with hiring attorneys.
- You want an attorney who has the skill set and the experience you need at or less than current market value.
- Attorneys, with any experience, generally believe that they are worth more than market value.
This creates a dichotomy between you and your desired goals.
Most Law Firms place ads that request the attorneys to submit salary requests. I myself did this for years.
The results were always the same. I narrow the choices down to three attorneys I like. Then they come in for an interview we like each other and then salary discussions start.
90% of the time, we are offering considerably less than they requested. We struggled with how to present the offer in a way that didn't insult them. They felt insulted anyway and whatever good things they thought about our firm were eliminated.
Here's the solution. In the ad, regardless of where it's listed, tell them the salary. If it includes a bonus tell them what they could expect. If they will be expected to work nights or weekends tell them. Tell them how much vacation time you offer and how many hours they are expected to either bill or designate to the firm weekly.
Although this may seem like a counter intuitive manner in approaching the hiring process, for attorneys, this works best.
How do I know? Well, I've tested it and it works.
I'm not going to take credit for this idea, it was given to me by a client who was frustrated that all the “good talent” was asking for a fortune.
I heard it from my client, Elliott Stone, of California Consumer Law Center. He'd heard it from another attorney who'd been down that road before and so he gave a try and BAM. On the first ad, he found the talent he was looking for at the price he was willing to pay.
So the next time you're looking for an associate try being 100% upfront about what you are willing to pay and how much work is going to be involved rather than hoping you will be able to negotiate with someone expecting significantly more. If you start the hiring process off with the right expectations your life will be infinitely easier.
The next time you're looking for an associate, use this method, it really does work.
Building a better business, one hiring process at a time…