As a law student, you never see them. They don’t show up to career fairs, they don’t offer internships, and even if you did send a resume out to them… they wouldn’t bother responding to you because you are an inexperienced proto-lawyer they can’t make any money from. I posted briefly about them previously, but figured it was due a more in depth discussion. They are staffing agencies.
And there are A LOT of them. Chances are you’ve even seen their names circulating. BCG, Dicenzo, Kinney Recruiting, Carpenter, Moses Legal Search, Counsel On Call, GCC Consulting, American Legal Search, JuriStaff, Robert Half Legal, Special Counsel, Hire Counsel, Lumen Legal, and more.. so many, many more. In fact, if you look at the job postings in some markets, it almost seems like they are the only ones hiring. They aren’t. Most don’t hire at all. Some are so classy as to tell new lawyers bluntly to go fuck off. BCG has a special landing page for new graduates telling them they would not be considered for any jobs they applied to; and instead points them in the direction of widely known scam sites such as LawCrossing. Because I am sure another site which attempts to siphon money from an already broke and desperate group of people is a completely sustainable business model. BCG has other problems as well which generally explains a good part of their business acumen. Let me explain a little bit how these multi-level marketing look alike / scam companies work.
At least half of these companies have a tiered workforce. Places like Special Counsel, Hire Counsel, etc. actually do hire attorneys; but they only hire them to do Document Review at low wages. The reason for this is that they make a vast amount more money on a slavish workforce by staffing a project and then billing the law firm who hired them. They will not even try to place entry level people in real jobs. In their view, there is no money in it, and they can make more money on your perpetual servitude in doc review (see previous post on the inflation of doc review billing). Temp companies want laterals to place into jobs for the placement fee. They don’t do it for free… if the staffing agency places an attorney, the company they place them into pays a finders fee to the staffing agency for finding the ‘right candidate’. To give you an idea of what that fee is, if you are working in the slave force for Special Counsel and bring in an attorney that they end up placing in a permanent job, you get a take of the fee to the tune of $2500. Consider what the fee is if that is what they are willing to share with the drones. One of the placement staff told me that in the office I briefly worked for, they had placed a grand total of 2 people last year in permanent jobs. Two… Staffing companies also have all of their temp workers sign contracts barring them from being hired by a company you work for through them, outside of the staffing agency hiring system for a period of a year.
There are 2 sick jokes within this whole situation. The first is that the laterals the staffing agencies are looking so hard to place could easily get the job they are being placed into. In this market, being a lateral means that you have experience and are willing to jump ship at the first sign that someone is willing to pay slightly more for you. This leads to companies who are unwilling to hire entry level people because they think they will end up paying to train them only to have them leave as soon as they are trained for a higher paying job. In the end a self fulfilling propehcy is created because the laterals have already shown they have no alligence to their employer by constantly jumping between higher paying job offers. The second joke of this whole thing is where the staffing companies find these jobs they list everywhere. They do the same as you and me… they look online and find a job posting. Then they copy it and take out any contact info, company names, etc. Switch around a few phrases so that you can’t easily Google the job description back to its source… and Voila! Now it looks like Staffing Company Inc. is hiring an In-house counsel for a dynamic software company. General enough that you can’t use the staffing company posting to find the original company’s job post. There are supposedly some companies that only list through certain staffing companies… but I actually haven’t run across one yet. In fact, what I usually run across are companies stating on their job posting that they will not deal with recruiters or intermediaries. Because they have already figured out they are a scam.
The staffing companies act as intermediaries between you and jobs in theory. In fact, they act as an unnecessary wall preventing you from getting your resume to the jobs you want. If you submit your application to a staffing agency, they will not forward it on to the employer. Instead they decide if it fits the job description and more often than not, reject you themselves with no input from the company offering the job.
Don’t use them. Don’t apply to them. And remember this later in life when you may be in a position to consider hiring people…tell the staffing companies to take a flying fuck and only hire directly.