New Year, New Hires: Best Hiring Practices for Law Firms


Hiring a new employee can be incredibly daunting. At least one person at your law firm will have their work hours reallocated to combing through potentially hundreds of resumes, enduring back-to-back phone interviews, and finally selecting someone with no guarantee about how he or she will work out. While the process can seem overwhelming, keep in mind this can be a great opportunity to define your firm’s corporate culture, inject new energy and ideas into the firm, and ultimately help your firm grow.


Gone are the days of hiring an incredibly expensive recruiter. With so many online job posting websites available, a law firm actively recruiting job candidates should begin its search by posting a job listing on sites like Indeed or LinkedIn. LinkedIn recently revamped its posting parameters, allowing advertisers to showcase listings for as little as $5.00 per day, while Indeed allows you to set a daily or monthly budget.

Several additional expensive job posting websites exist and could be good resources depending upon the response generated by your initial posts. A newer, heavily advertised platform is ZipRecruiter, costing $249.00 to post a single job listing for one month, while Glassdoor charges $349.00 per month for a single job post. CareerBuilder and are two of the original job search platforms, but job seekers, especially those under age 35, are using these platforms less widely.

Google has a new feature, rolled out in 2017, called “Google for Jobs,” which pulls job listing data from a variety of sites – including LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and Glassdoor – showcasing job postings (like yours) directly within Google search results. This service is free to the firm, and is simply an additional benefit that comes from listing your job on one of the aforementioned platforms.


Before you spend time calling candidates on the phone or meeting with them in person, you can weed out a lot of potential resumes simply by reading them over. As you begin reviewing resumes, keep in mind the specific functions of the job this person will handle, and how heavily you rate previous experience for each responsibility. For instance, is it more important the candidate have experience with the case management software your firm uses, or in the firm’s particular practice area? Is fitting into the culture of your law firm more important than extensive experience? What about cost: could your firm benefit from paying more for someone with a heavy background in the legal field, or would it benefit more from having someone cheaper and more ‘trainable?’

In addition to reviewing skills, responsibilities, and previous roles, also pay attention to the dates. If someone is job-hopping every six months, they may be someone always looking for greener pastures (or someone who continually gets terminated for lack of performance), wasting whatever time and energy your firm invests when training them.


Before even thinking about scheduling in-person interviews – which can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes per person – take an afternoon and schedule 10 to 15 minute phone interviews with several of your top candidates. This is a great way to prescreen your applicants and easily establish a few key traits, including how professionally they speak on a phone call, how well they do without having body language clues to read, and how well they can speak off the cuff about the skills they claim to possess on their resume.


Once you narrow down the list based on phone interviews, pick a day and schedule in-person interviews. While spreading them out might seem appealing, having them all in one or two days keeps everyone fresh in your memory and allows you to compare candidates more easily. Schedule 60 minutes per person, even though the interview may only run 30 to 45 minutes. The extra time gives you the opportunity to make detailed notes, have a water/coffee/restroom break, and time to regroup before the next interview.

While each position will have specific questions related to the role, here are a few general questions that provide great insight into each candidate:

  • Describe the best boss you ever reported to.
  • What frustrates you?
  • Tell me about what motivates you.
  • What is something you’d be happy doing every single day for the rest of your career?
  • What things do you NOT like to do?
  • Why should we hire you?

For more extensive details on what to ask job applicants, you can read our previous blog post “What To Ask Job Applicants in a Job Interview.”

Keep in mind: even if you’re only looking to fill one open position, if you happen across two great candidates it might be advantageous to hire both. This essentially provides you with a back-up in case one doesn’t work out well; and if both turn out to be excellent employees, it saves you the trouble of going through this process again the next time you need more hands on deck.

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