Humble and hardworking

Law firm hiringLots of law firms wonder what traits they should look for in a law firm employee.  No matter whether it’s an attorney, paralegal, receptionist or other administrative staff member, the question is an important one.

Some law firms really look at academics and grades.  They want employees who had the highest grades and who ranked at the top of their class.  In fact, this is probably at the top of the list for many law firms.

Other law firms really focus on extracurricular activities.  The theory is that employees who are really involved in various activities in school will make for great law firm employees.  This probably ranks second on the list for many law firms.

So, in making hiring decisions, most law firms are looking at grades and participation in extracurricular activities.  Are these two traits really that important?  Is this what a law firm should look at when making hiring decisions?

These are certainly two important traits.  They are worthy of some level of consideration.  But the reality is that if you are running a law firm, you need humble and hardworking employees first.  There are many other factors that come into play as well.  For example, grades and extra curricular activities are factors.  Experience is definitely an important factor to look at as well.

The reality, however, is that most employers need employees who work hard.  They need employees who are figuratively golden retrievers in terms of how they behave in a workplace.  They are humble.  They work hard.  They go the extra mile without complaining.  They always have a smile on their face.  They are loyal.  They are patient.  When something needs to be retrieved, they do it without a second thought.  In the vein of John K. Kennedy, they ask not what the firm can do for the firm, but what they can do for the firm.

Employees like these are what make a law firm work.  They keep their eye on the goals and vision of the organization.  They put this first.   These are the employees a law firm has to find to survive.  These are employees a law firm rewards and promotes.  They are indispensable.

How do you find employees like this?  That’s difficult because you cannot simply see it from scanning a resume or a cover letter.  Instead, it requires thorough interviews.  It requires the opinion of many in the hiring process.  It require instinct, judgment and excellent scouting skills.  It would be great if finding employees like these could be truncated down to a few easy steps, but there isn’t a magic formula.  The reality, however, is that if you can hone your recruiting techniques to find employees like this, your firm will move in the right direction.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.

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