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Chicago: A Look at 2014 Trends and What’s Coming in 2015
Written by Christopher Miller
Monday, May 18, 2015

At Kinney Recruiting we like to collect and use data to help people make informed decisions. Now that we’re almost half-way through 2015, we wanted to take a look back at what we saw in 2014 so we could give some thoughts on what the rest of 2015 will hold for those looking at potential lateral moves in the Chicago market.  As always, we reserve a fair amount of our data for our clients and candidates, so if you any questions about the information below, please get in touch – Partner Graph

Over the course of the last five years (2010 through 2014), lateral partner moves in Chicago have predominantly come in three major practice areas: Corporate, Intellectual Property and Litigation. The latter category leads the way in total number of moves, 56, but moves in IP practices saw the biggest percentage increase. Partnership movement increased in all three areas from 2013 to 2014. The number of Litigation partner lateral hires has grown each year since 2010 and in 2014 there was a 14% jump from 2013. Corporate partner lateral moves were up 23% in 2014 and the IP partner moves were up 56% from 2013. A couple of other areas worthy of note because of increased velocity were in Labor & Employment and Government. There was a 100% increase in L&E Partner lateral hires and a 200% increase in Government partner lateral hires.

The same three areas of law that dominated the partnership lateral hires were similarly active for associate moves. In all three areas there was positive growth in the five year period from 2010-2014. But despite an increase in lateral hiring of partners from 2013 to 2014, the trend was actually reversed for associates. In this time frame, Corporate laterals dropped the most with a 62% decrease in hires. Lateral litigation associate hires dropped 38% and IP dropped 13%. Despite the large increase in partnership laterals in Labor & Employment from 2013 to 2014, there was a dip of 29% for the associates. Areas such as Bankruptcy-Corporate Restructuring and Healthcare stayed even for the year and there was an increase for ERISA/Employee Benefits laterals.

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Stepping Stones of Staffing: A Look into What it Takes to Staff a Major Firm’s New Office
Written by Paige Drewelow
Friday, May 8, 2015

staffing a major law firmThose of us at Kinney Recruiting have built a lot of connections and friendships over the years with law firm partners and staff. Luckily, most of us are likeable most of the time, and we don’t have many enemies (though there are a few small firms and one large firm out there who don’t like us because we made them pay their bills when they would rather have not, but that’s another story).

So we tend to see lots of opportunities.

One of our favorite things to do for firms is a major “soup to nuts” staffing project for a new office.  We’ve become experts at that, and I thought it might be useful to use the backdrop of recent experience to describe the anatomy of how that sort of deal can work well for firms considering opening a new office.

Last year we had the opportunity to be part of the team tasked with the exclusive to staff a major office in a major U.S. city. Initially, after identifying and onboarding a few of the key lateral partners, we were asked how we would suggest coordinating rapid hire of as many as 25 or 30 associates. So what was the process for recruiting an entire team? Below I’ve outlined the basic steps we took and a few of the considerations we had during the process.

Step 1:
The office opened with a strong M&A/PE team.  In an initial meeting with the recently added partners and those in charge of hiring, we established the hiring criteria for candidates.  We were asked to focus first on just one practice area (M&A/Private Equity) for the associate build-out, the most pressing need.

We helped the client understand the market for the level of talent they sought. Together, we developed our strategy, which in the case of this particular client necessitated willingness to pay significant cash signing bonuses.

Our first priority was to get as many 1-4 year attorneys as we could to interview. Since the firm had several needs, including the addition of Finance and CAPM Partners, Kinney was able to make contact with 100’s of attorneys nationwide, many of whom were people we already knew.

Step 2:
Without an inside recruiting director/coordinator, the level of hiring our client sought to accomplish was nearly impossible. So we staffed the internal firm recruiter position temporarily with none other than myself, a recruiter who previously ran an AmLaw 25 law firm’s recruitment programs.  I was seconded from our firm to the firm’s new office to act as the on-site recruiter. There I worked closely with the firm recruitment team as well as those in firm leadership and administration opening the office.

From there, we emailed, called, tapped into our network of contacts and ultimately sourced well over 100 candidates.  I was charged with submitting the candidates to the firm as well as scheduling all the interviews and getting all the potential candidates into both the Kinney and firm databases. Being on-site was extremely helpful because it enabled Kinney to really develop an understanding of the work the group does, the personalities, the office dynamics and culture. It ultimately gave us insight that allowed us to market and sell the opportunities that would not have been possible had we not had the chance to sit in the office day to day.

Step 3:
I worked with the partners and the firm’s recruiting managers to coordinate all logistics, prepare offer letters and follow up until acceptance. The most important part of this entire process was communication. For this reason, I acted as the link between our client, the firm, and the Kinney team on this project.

Overall, the communication, trust, and perseverance of the entire team allowed us to succeed at getting the right people in the door at this exceptional firm.   In the end, our client wound up with an office of 40 or so attorneys and we learned a number of valuable lessons along the way as always.

If our experience can be of value, please feel free to get in touch with us.  I can be reached at

Making the Move: Why it’s Better to Use a Legal Recruiter
Written by Editor
Monday, April 27, 2015

Some lawyers are best-served beavering away in the firm where they have worked since law school.  For most legal careers, though, there come inflection points where a change of job can open a whole new world of opportunity. Why it’s Better to Use a Legal Recruiter Recognizing whether your career has reached such an inflection point, and then knowing whom to trust to help you in finding that career-expanding opportunity are big tasks. If you find the right legal recruiter though, one with the experience and network to find you the position you need and a personality compatible with yours, it can make a world of difference.

It’s our job to know the ins and outs of the industry. The candidates we work with are busy, so they rely on a us for discretion and advice. From our combined years of experience and hundreds of placements made around the world, we’ve come up with a few reasons as to why getting to know a good legal recruiter and regularly checking in for his or her advice is usually the best thing you can do for yourself.

As mentioned above, a recruiter is going to have more inside information to the culture of a firm, hiring trends, salaries and bonuses, than just about anyone.  In some markets, we have literally been asked by firms to help them develop the incentive packages that they offer to associates. We often have a personal relationship with the hiring manager or even the partner doing the hiring. Sometimes we actually placed the partner in his or her job, or convinced him that staying in his job is the right call.  This brings us distinct advantages in the job-search process, including knowledge of the interviewing styles the lawyers use and specific techniques a firm is looking for.

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