How To Rank Attorney Candidates

Ranking attorney candidatesThe attorneys you hire to work in your law firm can make a critical difference. The better attorneys you employ in your law firm, the happier clients you will have. Having satisfied clients is vital when law firms are in business to provide competent, communicative and diligent service.

Additionally, the better attorneys you hire, the easier your life will be as a law firm owner or manager. Lawyers who are teachable and coachable are a pleasure to have at your firm. Lawyers who also work hard and are good team members are invaluable.

However, knowing how to weigh attorney candidates is difficult for many law firm managers and owners. Often, the decision can be complex and arduous. In addition, it can seem highly subjective.

When a law firm makes a bad hire, it can have many short-term and long-term destructive effects. For example, bad hires can result in turnover within the law firm because the employment was fatally flawed from the beginning. Poor hiring decisions can also upset clients, result in bad online reviews and a lack of repeat business.

How To Weigh Attorney Candidates?

Knowing how to weigh lawyer candidates can be difficult for many law firm owners and managers. No uniform rule can apply in every situation because the needs of the law firm may vary significantly. Different practice areas can also result in another analysis. Therefore, it is also essential to have a thorough and consistent interview process. It is also crucial to be shrewd in assessing candidates–and not do it with rose-colored glasses.

But as a general rule, there are four rungs where a law firm can place attorney candidates after the application and interview process:

Experienced and A Good Personality – Attorney candidates who have experience in the area of law in which your law firm practices and who have an excellent personality should generally be ranked at the top of the list. Experience can go a long way in having happy clients. Experienced candidates can also ensure that the lawyer will need to be managed and supervised less. At the same time, having lawyers who have a good personality are equally important as well.   Lawyers who are humble, hardworking and dedicated are crucial.  Lawyers who also put their clients and the law firm above themselves are critical to find.  In sum, lawyer who are experienced and have a good personality are easy hiring decisions, but they can be rare to find.

Not Experienced, But A Good Personality – Some lawyers may not have a lot of experience in the legal area your law firm practices. But they may have a good personality, good work ethic, are coachable, and a desire to contribute.  These lawyers are a tier below lawyers who are experienced and have a good personality, but they are almost always hirable when no experienced lawyer with a good personality is available.

Experienced, But Not A Good PersonalitySome lawyers might have experience in the area in which your law firm practices. However, it might be that the lawyer does not have a good personality.  The lawyer might not be humble and hardworking. It might be that the lawyer is a me-monster versus putting their clients and the firm above their own needs. There should generally be a significant deal of caution employed before hiring these candidates. Having a coachable lawyer with less experience is often more important than having an experienced lawyer who will not fit in personality-wise in your law firm.

Not Experienced and Not A Good Personality – The bottom rung of lawyer candidates are those who do not have experience and do not have a good personality. Many of these candidates are me-monsters who puts themselves above their clients and the law firm. A law firm should generally not hire these candidates unless the law firm has no other options.

The key to ranking law firm candidates is conducting a thorough and consistent hiring process. It also requires having many candidates in the consideration pool.  For example, when a law firm only meets a limited number of candidates, it can be almost impossible to make a good hire.  As stated above, those assessing candidates also need to be shrewd in their analysis.  But if the hiring process is employed effectively, ranking candidates in some manner can be very helpful in terms of making the best possible hire.

What Does Having A Good Personality Mean?

It is crucial to keep in mind that in using the term personality, one should not confuse the use of that word with sociability, charisma or dynamism. While there is certainly some importance in a lawyer having those attributes, a good work ethic, being humble and a team player are what most law firms need most in attorney candidates. Often,the most charismatic and sociable lawyers have poor personalities because they are almost entirely self-interested versus placing their clients or the firm above themselves.

Every Situation Is Different

The above-rungs are just general rules. Other law firms might have their way of doing this–and their unique considerations regarding what they need in an attorney candidate.  But it is essential for law firms to develop a general way to rank lawyer candidates that helps them to make the best possible hiring decision.

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


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