Tag: Agency

How to Judge Your Agency

There are many reasons why you should consider finding an agency to market your services for any type of legal position. A qualified agency will have targeted marketing strategies and possess established contacts in their legal community. Agencies quickly fill positions with qualified candidates without the time and expense associated with evaluating hundreds of resumes. These advantages cause clients to bypass advertising positions, relying on agencies instead to find qualified employees.

Criteria to Remember When Selecting an Agency

Fees

Be wary if an agency tries to charge a fee for accepting an application. The industry standard is for agencies to earn their fees based on placements with the fee paid directly by the client. Legal Network never charges its placements a fee of any type.

Qualified Oversight

A credible agency will have appropriately skilled placement directors who analyze the qualifications of their candidates. If not, the candidates resume may be sent to inappropriate jobs resulting in a waste of time or the agency will flood job inquiries with dozens of resumes, diminishing the odds for a qualified candidate to be placed. Our Placement Directors are attorneys who employ a rigorous three step evaluation process in matching attorneys to potential positions. Paralegals and legal secretaries are evaluated by a similar three step evaluation process over seen by a placement director active in the Pittsburgh Legal Administrators community.

Technical Capabilities

Even the best evaluation process means little if the agency is ineffective in quickly identifying you as a candidate. The probability on being placed diminishes if your resume ends up in a file cabinet, subject only to the recall abilities of the agency’s placement staff. Legal Network employs a state of the art database, which captures information about our lawyers based on their initial review and allows us to run sophisticated searches for the best candidates.

Agency’s Reputation

If you haven’t heard of the agency, many potential employers haven’t heard of it either. Legal Network has been the placement leader in Western Pennsylvania since 1995. We are owned and operated by attorneys who are fully knowledgeable about the marketplace. The organization has pioneered interim legal staffing, had numerous articles written about its services and appeared on local television shows. Legal Network employs an extensive mailing campaign supplemented by targeted advertising.

Compensation

The salaries being offered by legal organizations vary widely. Legal Network has been published based on our analysis of salary trends in the region. You can look to Legal Network for guidance on whether salary offers are reasonable so you’re not short changed when taking a new position.

There is also wide divergence among temporary placement companies in terms of compensation offered. At one time it was common for placement companies to keep upwards of half of what the client was paying. Therefore it is important for candidates considering a placement agency to ask; “How are you paid?” Is your compensation low? Are you receiving any benefits? Legal Network recognizes its employees as stakeholders in the organization. We employ a strict pricing formula that enables placements to earn a wage comparable to what they would make as employees in a mid-sized law firm. Furthermore, Legal Network provides a wide range of benefits including vacation bonuses and a 401K plan.

Confidentiality

Will you be contacted before your resume is ever sent out on a job? Your name and reputation are important commodities. Don’t let an agency indiscriminately mail your resume to potential employers. Too much exposure could reduce your marketability in the legal community. There is also the risk of embarrassing situations if positions in which you have no interest receive your resume. Legal Network never releases any resume until you have been contacted and consented.

Professionalism

How does the agency handle your inquiries? Are they professional in their response to your resume? Are they knowledgeable about the field and able to answer your questions? If not, they probably make the same impression on potential clients. Legal Network emphasizes sales training and professionalism in how it conducts business.

New Agency Connects Lawyers With Employers In An Over saturated Market

Pittsburgh is second only to Washington, D.C. in the number of lawyers populating the metropolitan area. And, in a town where the bar association boasts 7,200 members, many barristers’ resumes, even those overflowing with glowing credentials, may go unread by the people who matter most.

A new company called Legal Network is attempting to ease the burden of the legal job search by linking attorneys with firms on a part-time or contractual basis that could lead to full-time work.

Formed in 1995 by attorneys Brad Franc and Karl Schieneman, the company has compiled a database of 300 lawyers spanning 2,500 legal disciplines.

The company hopes to latch on to the corporate trend toward “outsourcing” – in which companies hire outside contractors to perform duties from accounting to photocopying.

There is no fee to have a resume placed in the Legal Network database, but attorneys must go through a screening process to ensure their credentials are legitimate and that no disciplinary actions have been taken against them.

Mathew McGuire, a 35-year old attorney was in the database three months before finding work with a small firm Downtown. Mr. McGuire holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh as well as an engineering degree from Carnegie Mellon University. He obtained his law degree from Duquesne University.

He thought his education would put him ahead of the competition but the offers didn’t come as fast as he anticipated.

“I thought that when I finished with law school there would be some demand, but there wasn’t the demand I was expecting,” he said. His arrangement with Legal Network gives the prospective firm and the new lawyer a chance to see if a long-term commitment is something they both want.

“They have me come in for three weeks on a temporary basis and if they like the things I can do, they may make a full-time offer,” he said.

“It gives them the chance to see what I can do, and gives me the chance to see if I like working for them.”

The market has become so crowded that Mr. Franc says lawyers are willing to work as paralegals just to ensure income.

The majority of lawyers in Legal Network’s database are seasoned veterans.

An average attorney in the database, according to Mr. Franc has 10 to 30 years legal experience. He said the network suits attorneys who don’t have the expertise or funds to market themselves and those solo practitioners who don’t have enough work to sustain their business.

At least 15 other cities have similar organizations that offer placements for legal secretaries and paralegals. Legal Network, however, is devoted exclusively to attorneys.

The company makes money from the hourly rates charged for the attorney’s time. For instance, if the attorneys bill the network for their time at the rate of $25 an hour; the network might bill clients $35 an hour, and the matchmaking firm keeps the difference.

“We try to place 12 to 15 attorneys at any point in time,” Mr. Franc said. The founders believe this payment principle, which they borrowed from the temporary employment field will yield dividends for their company.

We are cautiously optimistic about our success,” said Mr. Franc. But he is also realistic in his expectations. “We are not going to get fabulously wealthy from this overnight.”