You are probably are familiar with the saying “always be closing” but have you ever heard “always be hiring”? No? Well, get used to it, as it is the way forward if you want to stand a chance in winning the war on talent.
This week Alay Yajnik from Law Firm Success Group joins us for a conversation that explores why law firms struggle to hire and, most notably, what they can do about it, even when competing against large organizations. We discuss when is the best time to hire and where you should be searching for talent.
Finally, Alay shares three steps you can take to create a recruitment plan that can land you your “dream team.”
Resources mentioned in our episode:
- Law Firm Success Group
- Lawyer Business Advantage podcast
- Staffing Up: The Attorney’s Guide to Hiring Top Talen
Send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Liel: [00:00:00] Job Recruiter found that seventy-seven percent of recruiters go back and hire candidates who initially didn’t appear to be a fit and then seventy-five percent have experienced candidates changing their mind. I’m Liel Levy, co-founder of Nanato Media and author of Beyond Se habla Español How Lawyers Win the Hispanic Market and This Is In camera podcast where we believe you shouldn’t settle with what is available. Welcome, to in camera podcast, Private Legal Marketing Conversations, Grace, welcome back, how are you today?
Grace: [00:01:00] Good. How are you, Liel?
Liel: [00:01:02] Great, Grace. I cannot complain about anything and Grace. I do have some exciting news that I want to announce and share with you here. You know, Grace, I’ll be joining you in PILMMA this year to give a talk about Hispanic legal marketing. I guess the short definition of it. Actually, we put a very exciting title to the talk itself that I cannot remember right now. It’s long so I can get back to you on that later. But I’m very excited of, you know, to be back in PILMMA, to most importantly, be able to raise more awareness about the importance of the Hispanic market for law firms. So that’s very, very exciting Grace. And the other breaking news here is that due to the devastating hurricane that just hit New Orleans and Louisiana just last week, the conference now has been moved to Washington, D.C. Just like that, a conference that usually takes a year to put together is being moved from one location to another. I must say really kudos to the PILMMA team for being able to just act on this and do everything it takes to keep the conference going when the easiest thing would have been just to call it off or postpone or do something. And I think it’s quite remarkable. What what do you think, Grace?
Grace: [00:02:21] Yeah, no. It’s pretty amazing that they were able to get that done and they did it in the time frame as they said they would, which was make a decision, you know, gather everyone’s decisions as to whether they want to move it or continue staying in New Orleans. And I think they made a, you know, a good and right decision because the resources at New Orleans need to stay in New Orleans right now. And you know, those people need help and their power is just starting to come on in some cases, and in some cases hasn’t. So I think that, you know, PILMMA moving and doing that, and I’m amazed, too, that they could do it so quickly. But hey, that’s where it’s going to be. So both Liel and I will be speaking at PILMMA. Guys and gals, that’s exciting.
Liel: [00:02:58] Are we going to do an episode there, Grace and PILMMA? We must right?
Grace: [00:03:03] You and I are both speaking. We have to do.
Liel: [00:03:05] But I think I think it’s going to be very it’s going to be much fun Grace. I think there was no PILMMA last year or Super Summit, or at least not an in-person one is just good to know that we can still take precautions and still have conferences, and hopefully everything will turn out just fine. But Grace enough about that because we have a whole conversation planned out right now. It’s going to start as soon as you introduce our next guest. So please, would you kindly do the honors?
Grace: [00:03:36] I sure will is with great pleasure that we welcome Alay Yajnik to join us for a conversation about law firm hiring. Allie is a law firm growth expert and founder of the law firm Success. Group. He has run a $100 million business and built a $5 million business from the ground up. Allays team is dedicated to helping busy lawyers across the country make more money, work fewer hours and spend more time doing the things they love by running their law firm as a business. Alay is the author of Staffing Up the Attorney’s Guide to Hiring Top Talent. The First Book on Hiring for Lawyers. He is the founder of law firm Success Group and the host of the Lawyer Business Advantage podcast. L.A. holds an MBA in finance and marketing from Santa Clara University. Alay Welcome to In Camera Podcast.
Liel: [00:04:21] Alay, Welcome to In Camera Podcast. How are you today?
Alay: [00:04:24] I’m doing great, Liel. Thank you so much for having me today.
Liel: [00:04:26] It’s a real pleasure. Tell us, where is this podcast finding you?
Alay: [00:04:30] I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Liel: [00:04:32] Oh, wonderful. That’s nice. How’s the weather been there lately?
Alay: [00:04:36] We’ve been dealing with these fires, but it’s summertime, and that’s that’s sort of what happens around here. Apart from that, we’re doing OK. How are you guys?
Liel: [00:04:46] We’re good. We’re coming to you from Austin, Texas, and lovely Grace is in
Grace: [00:04:52] Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Liel: [00:04:54] That’s right. So, Alay, we’re excited because the conversation we’re going to have today, it never gets old. And particularly this past year and a half, you know, we’ve used the term here in this podcast before which we did not create. But it’s it really feels as the situation in which we are, which is the war on recruitment, right? It’s finding talent, getting to keep talent. And this is a very central part of what you do and how you help law firms. And, you know, we’re very excited to hear. What are the challenges that you’re seeing right now in the job market?
Alay: [00:05:40] Yeah, thank you, Liel and Grace, I’m looking forward to the conversation that the three of us are going to have today. You put it perfectly when you said the war for talent. I have never in 17 years of working out in the business world. I have never seen the competition for talent be so fierce. All of my clients are in the process of finding talent and hiring talent. They’re all having a challenging time. And the kiss of death for a lot of these firms is when their strategy only consists of just putting an ad out on LinkedIn or indeed and crossing their fingers and hoping they’re going to get a good candidate. That just is not working for anyone that I talked to these days. People may always get lucky, but it’s very much the exception.
Liel: [00:06:31] So let’s backtrack there a little bit. Why would all from the sudden all of your partners and clients would be hiring at the same time? Is there a particular trend that has led us to almost all business owners be in a position where we just need either to increase our labor force or replace staff that is turning over? What do you think? Is the driving force behind all of this?
Alay: [00:06:56] Yeah, I can certainly speculate and Grace, I’d love to get your opinion on this as well. The economy is roaring hot, and one of the reasons why I was OK working with only law firms is because I figured whether the economy is really good or really bad, law firms are always going to be doing well, and that certainly seems to be the case now. Grace, what do you think?
Grace: [00:07:18] I couldn’t have put it better than that, Alay, honestly, I’ve been telling Liel how the struggle that we’ve had on hiring on our side as well and, you know, just finding good people and we pay better than most. But yes, it’s been. It’s been a struggle for us to hire good people and keep them, even in some cases where they just don’t, they’re not here. You know, they just decide from one day to the next that they no longer want to work with you despite their, you know, amazing background or whatever else. And in some cases, they at least give you the opportunity where they tell you, “Hey, you know, I got a better offer somewhere elsewhere.” You know, at least they tell you something and then they go. But yes, it’s been a struggle on our side in the law firm side to hire and retain good people, for sure. Have you found that with the law firms you’ve been working with?
Alay: [00:08:05] Certainly, hiring is challenging and one of the things, you know, I work with a lot of small law firms. And so the challenge these small law firms have is they are looking for good attorneys, but they’re not able to compete with the larger firms in terms of salary and benefits. And so they’re getting outspent left and right. They also typically, you know, recruiters are a real financial struggle for them. And so that’s another challenge. So they tend to try and hire organically versus using recruiters. And so some of the ways that we’re we’re working with them on competing is. And that, you know, for the attorney that wants to go work at a big law firm, great, you know, they should go do that and enjoy that journey. But there’s a lot of attorneys these days, and I think that number of attorneys is growing who are interested in being a good attorney, doing good work, earning good money, but also having a healthy and happy lifestyle. And sometimes that’s at odds with the big firm experience. And so if small firms can lean more on those attributes, flexibility in terms of work hours, flexibility in terms of location and then also building a terrific culture within the firm. Those two things can really keep those employees longer because you can have these key employees in an environment like this. You don’t want to let them go, Oh my gosh, because it’s going to be brutal to replace them. So focusing first on retention by doing those things and then hiring and bringing those people into this terrific law firm family that these attorneys are building, I think is the best way to move forward, at least right now.
Grace: [00:09:39] Well, that makes sense. But what are some of the so you’re talking about how to basically afford good people, right, is to make yourself create your own unique selling proposition for lack of a better term in the business world, right? So with that, though, what are some of the mistakes that you’re seeing them make? You know, are they just, you know, praying and praying? Like, like you said a lot of times, you know, that type of mentality. What what are they frequently doing, particularly right now with COVID and, you know, end of quote-unquote COVID? And how can they avoid making these mistakes?
Alay: [00:10:14] Yeah. So one thing they’re doing right now is they’re waiting too long to hire. They have so much work on their plate, they’re waiting too long. And so they finally realize because they just say, You know what? I just can’t do this anymore. I can’t work nights and weekends. I can’t work 70 80 hour weeks. I need to hire somebody. The problem with that is they already have a full bucket load of work. And so now they don’t have enough time to conduct a job search, and they certainly don’t have enough time to fully vet the resumes and interview. And then when someone comes on board, hire and train them and get them up to speed. So no one mistake that attorneys make and law firms make is they wait too long to hire somebody. The number two mistake they make is they rely on online searching, so and online ads. So LinkedIn, indeed, these are all great supplementary sources for finding talent, and they sometimes work, but they also sometimes don’t. And the third thing is, when they’re writing their job description, assuming they have one, they haven’t put a lot of thought into the ideal candidate for their firm who is going to be that awesome person who’s going to be a great fit for their law firm, who’s going to be a great long term fit and really fills, you know, the number one need that they happen to have in their firm right now. Holly, I
Liel: [00:11:26] Alay, I have a question. So when you’re saying that online platforms for finding talent is a good supplement, then what is the central strategy? Where is it that they should be looking instead rather than just putting ads online? Indeed. And you know what has become now the standard recruiting platforms?
Alay: [00:11:46] Yeah. So in my book staffing up the attorneys guide to hiring top talent, the first section of the book, it’s all talking about hiring habits, and these are things that attorneys just need to get used to doing in order to find the right people and the number one source. To your point, Liel is actually using their own network and using their own network to get introductions to other really terrific attorneys and staff would be a good fit and also to recruit directly from the network people that are interested. That is the best way to grow a law firm is through people who you already know, trust and admire.
Liel: [00:12:26] Yeah, that actually makes a lot of sense. And you talk a lot about hiring, kind of like very critical staff for a law firm, right? Which is the attorneys, the lawyers. How about other positions? Do you have a different take as to how do you go about hiring for more senior staff as opposed as to more entry-level positions or more administrative positions? Or do the principals need to be the same? Practices need to be the same. Are there any shortcuts, right? Because I think sometimes you have higher turnover on positions that are less central to the law firm, but that high turnover ends up throwing you in chaos that you just cannot get out and it’s affecting the entire operations. So I know I put up probably too many questions in there. But let’s let’s try to dissect that and start with, do we need to do things differently for different positions?
Alay: [00:13:19] Yeah, I think you should do things differently for different positions, but you can do a lot of the same things for all of the positions, so you can hire someone full-time. You can hire someone part-time. You can hire a contractor or employee, you know, full part-time status, depending on the labor laws and all of that. Or you can outsource and or I should say you can outsource because it can be a complementary function. And all of those things apply to attorneys as well as the staff, and so, you know, I think staff is just as critical to a law firm in many ways as an attorney, particularly if you’re looking to grow your firm and scale your firm because a staff will allow a really good paralegal or legal assistant or legal secretary can really unleash the full potential of an attorney. Without that, without those people, they are going to be handicapped in terms of what they can do. There’s also we should not ignore technology, technology and the tools that are being made available now in the legal market. In the last 10 years, especially the last five have really have really added lots of ability to increase productivity so that with the staff you have now that staff can become more efficient. And I know Grace, that’s something you’re really familiar with.
Grace: [00:14:29] It sure is. You know, as we deal with the automation on a regular basis on my end of things, through persistent communications. And so yes, I’m very familiar with automation and anything that we can give to a robot to do that doesn’t need a person’s eyes on it. The better off you are as a company, really, as a law firm, as a business, as in anything. So you were talking about job boards and things like that. But I’m just wondering what is your take on? Is the job board dead? Because I keep hearing that term, you know, as the job board is dead, which, you know, we’re talking about Indeed.com and LinkedIn jobs and that type of stuff. Is it really dead or what’s your take on that whole situation?
Alay: [00:15:13] It is totally not dead. And when we talk about job boards, there’s, you know, there’s LinkedIn. And Indeed, there’s also job boards that, you know, law school alumni organizations, there’s job boards for bar associations, there’s job boards for legal administrators. So there are very there are in addition to the to the big names, there’s also hyper-targeted job boards for specific roles in the legal industry, which can be a great opportunity. The thing is, it’s when you think about the person that’s clicking on those applications and applying, you don’t trust them. Maybe they’re not relying on their network, so why not? Like I said, you can always get lucky and you should always do it because it’s pretty cost-effective. And it just gets things going out there and you can get to talk to candidates and see what the lie of the land is like. But putting all of your faith in job boards and online job searches, more often than not, it’s going to slow the process down and create a lot more work for the people that are doing the search.
Grace: [00:16:12] Yes, I couldn’t have put it better. That’s exactly kind of what I ran into when we posted jobs on Indeed, ZipRecruiter and a couple of other locations, it created more work for my people to try and interview them, look through the resumes and dig through applications. What do you feel? I’m going to ask one more question before I hand it over to Liel because I’m really interested in what you have to say about this part of it. What do you feel about assessments? You know, how indeed does those, you know, data entry assessments and that type of stuff? Do you feel that they’re of any value? And just what’s your take on that whole situation?
Alay: [00:16:48] Yeah, I love assessments. And one of the things that we layout in the book is we have something that’s called the hero hiring system, where for every role you can customize the process for hiring. And part of that process is how are you going to use assessments? So one of the assessments that I’m I’m a fan of is the risk assessment, which assesses someone’s communication skills. That is very interesting to see how good of a fit they are with the firm. But when someone is administering an assessment like that, you have to make sure you check with your employment law attorney to make sure it’s done in the right way. You don’t want to be accused of unfair hiring practices or anything like that. So using an instrument like that, I think, can add a lot of insight into how this person is going to fit into the firm. The other part of that is actually looking at their job skills and in a technical position like the legal industry, people can interview very well. But you have to find out at some level, can they do the work, are they sharp technically, and the best way to do that if you don’t know who they are and you have not had an opportunity to observe them in action and trust them. It’s to give them a, you know, give them a test, create something that will allow you as the hiring person or hiring committee to be able to assess how they do it. Some of the critical skills, and there’s lots of different ways to do that. I’ve never seen one of those off the shelf. We’ve always worked with our clients to put one together that was really drilled into what they needed to get from their law firm and in a test that they felt comfortable delivering. Again, if you’re going to do something like that, please check with your employment law attorney because you want to make sure you’re doing it in a way that complies with your local state laws.
Grace: [00:18:30] Thank you so much for that.
Liel: [00:18:31] I want to kind of go back a little bit and talk about kind of like a model that you suggested in the way that you’ve reimagined the way that a law firm team can look like. So I think in the more traditional model, we’ve always thought of a law firm or businesses in general of having all of their employees as W-2 employees, they’re all part of the team. They’re all going to work in one building and it’s a very, very standard practice now. Obviously, then last year, COVID came in and we had to reimagine that concept. And right now, I think people are more open to not just companies are more open about the working arrangements that they’re making for their existing employees, but employees. But people who have been W-2 employees are also starting to feel that. Why do I need to limit myself? Am I better off being a W-2 employee or am I better of being a contractor, being a ten ninety-nine? And I wanted to ask you, what do you think could be the right balance as an organization? Do you still want to have your employees, be your employees and have them under W-2s? Or is should we be exploring more the option of hiring more of the team as contractors, considering that many of them are anyhow already working remotely? They don’t necessarily have a lot of in-person interaction with the rest of the team. I mean, what are some of the pros and cons that you’re currently seeing?
Alay: [00:20:09] Sure. And you’re referring to there’s two sides to that that you raise. One side is on the employee side about being a W-2 person or contractor. The other side is the employer side of hiring or contractors. Where would you like to start?
Liel: [00:20:22] Let’s start if you’re a young lawyer and you’re now thinking of, OK, well, I want to find work what you’ve already stated the model of the traditional law firm where you’re going to basically do as they’ve been doing for as long as they’ve been doing. But there are other organizations, smaller ones, there may be some more room for flexibility there in that scenario.
Alay: [00:20:44] Yeah. If you’re a lawyer who is looking to ramp up their skills, I think the decision between W-2 or contractor is probably dictated more by your lifestyle choices and priorities than anything else. So if you’re someone who, for whatever reason, wants or needs to work remotely and very far, for example, let’s say you wanted to practice your bar in the state of California. But for whatever reason you’re living in Kentucky, that might be a good opportunity to look for a contracting types of positions. The other factor that might play into it is if you have obligations in the home, you have to take care of, you know, you have dependents that you have to take care of, whether it’s aging parents or kids or someone to quote Southwest, “someone who’s acting like a child” But if you have obligations, you have to fulfill those obligations, and sometimes that will dictate that you know what doesn’t make sense for me to be a full-time employee. But contracting work is still good, and there are lots of opportunities now for contractors. However, I would encourage everyone to try, you know, especially if you’re young in your career, regardless of your actual age, but if you’re if you’re ramping up as an attorney, consider joining a firm. There’s a lot that happens there. They have mentoring opportunities more so than anything else. That’s harder or harder to get as a contractor, and you get to see whether it’s a big firm or a small firm. You get to see other attorneys in action, in other staff in action. It’s a much stronger, I think, learning environment than being a contractor and trying to learn all this stuff by attending webinars and such.
Liel: [00:22:15] And do you think that that experience that you’ve just mentioned has been taken away from some of the organizations that they no longer now they’re doing all of their remote, their work remote, and so therefore giving a little bit less exposure, if any, exposure at all to younger key members that were actually seeking for that in the first place. But now instead, they’re just, you know, talking with a team occasionally over Zoom meetings and not necessarily having the law firm experience that you described now.
Alay: [00:22:45] I would say a it’s probably a different experience. I don’t know that they’ve lost that much. In fact, it may have opened things up because now people are much more receptive to having conversations over Zoom. It’s much easier to talk across offices because you don’t have to travel. So I view it as really unlocking things. It’s there is something special about being in the same room physically as somebody and collaborating on something, right? And it’s hard to do that on Zoom, but it’s it’s pretty darn close. I mean, just look at the conversation we’re having, you know, it’s like we’re in a room together.
Liel: [00:23:19] Yeah. Absolutely. And I think that’s a very valid point. It’s not so much that it has been removed or taken away. It has evolved into a different thing. And I guess that goes back to what you’re saying right about if you’re someone who’s looking for for a job is understanding the culture of the place where you’re going to so that you can anticipate whether that’s something that you’re going to be getting despite maybe not necessarily being working in close proximity physically to the rest of the team. Alay, can we move now and look at it from the other standpoint, from the employer, from the law firm who is hiring? What’s how do you strike the right balance between not getting carried away and all from the start and just only want to outsource all of the work or work with only 10 ninety-nine and and still be able to retain a culture and have employees that are are still very committed to your law firm, to your business.
Alay: [00:24:10] Yeah, wow. That. How much time do we have? That is a complex question. I guess if I could give some guidance around that, it would be number one. You don’t need to make these decisions in black and white terms. You don’t have to go all in on any one thing. You can keep your options open and pursue all of these options at the same time, even for one role. And the second thought is to be opportunistic about your hiring, to be always. So that’s one of the things we talk about in the book. One of the hiring habits is to always be hiring. So when you see a contractor who’s doing some great work or you see a service like maybe the service that Grace is doing, which can really improve productivity, or you’re talking to an attorney and they’re, you know, they tell you that, you know, I love what I do, but this firm is just not working out for me. And you think to yourself, Man, I’d love to have that person on my team. Wow. To be able to opportunistically move on those opportunities is really, really huge. So it’s complex in terms of thinking about a W-2 versus a ten ninety-nine because there’s what you want. You know, there’s the ideal what you want, you have to figure that out. And then there is what you actually get, and those two things may not be the same. And so that’s that’s the difficult decision. What I would just, you know, for people that have not outsourced functions before and who are looking to do so, I’d suggest you start with baby steps there because outsourcing is a whole different skill set and it takes management. It takes patience. So start small and then just get good at it and make sure it’s something you want to do going forward and then you can start to expand that.
Liel: [00:25:51] Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. I think that’s one of the things that people tend to forget when outsourcing, when outsourcing, you’re not removing those activities from your operation you, you still need to have very granular control of what’s happening because otherwise it can come and bite you in the ass, really. I mean, it can be for lack of a better word or term. It’s dangerous, right? I mean, unsupervised work is a liability, and I agree with you. It’s not necessarily. It may seem as an easy solution. It’s not necessarily going to be it.
Alay: [00:26:28] I want ask, for example, in that deal that just occurred to me, if that’s OK. So I was working with a client and this was about two weeks ago, and the client is buried with work and she’s trying to hire and she’s not having much success yet. With that, she’s looked. We had a couple of council attorneys to bring in, but she was frustrated with one of her staff members because her staff member was taking four times as long to do a task as she would. And so she said, Look, I don’t have the time for this. They’re taking four hours. I can do this in an hour. I just get it done. The problem is she has too many of those tasks. So the question I asked her was “What is your hourly rate?” And she said her hourly rate is about 400 dollars an hour. And then I asked her, What are you paying your staff? And she’s paying her staff 30 dollars an hour. So, yes, the staff is going to take four times as long, maybe even longer, and that’s totally fine because a person is not an attorney, so you have to set the right expectations for people if you’re going to outsource a task to them. And Grace, I suspect you’ve dealt with that a few times as well.
Grace: [00:27:34] Multiple times over and over. I couldn’t even tell you how many at this point. We do a combination, just like you said, you know, in terms of automating technology, outsourcing all within the same department. So like the intake department on our on the law firm, on the lake law firm side, we have a group that is outsourced and then I’d say half and half, all right, half internal, half external and the half that’s external is two different companies. So yes, it managing them, you still have to do all the work. Everything still has to be done. But with technology, we’ve been able to automate the management of their data that’s coming through. So like if they make any calls, any activities that they do, everything they do is completely tracked to the second, so they can’t hide that they haven’t done something. So it’s funny that you were mentioning that about time, right? Because that’s exactly what Ed told me. He was like, Look, this is how much these people get paid per hour. This is how much you get paid per hour. You need to hire more of those people so that you can be freed up to do the automation stuff that will make things quicker and better. And who cares if they take four times as long as long as they improve and we don’t have to fire them as long as they improve enough that we’re all happy with their work, then we’re good to go. So I love what you said because that’s exactly what’s been happening to me the last few months in hiring and firing and everybody that’s been in the middle of this process, it’s just crazy.
Alay: [00:29:04] Hey, Grace, are you dealing with with different time zones with some of your workers or overseas workers?
Grace: [00:29:10] Yes, because we have some that are overseas, some that are in the United States on different time zones within the United States. Even so, yes, we are definitely dealing with different time zones. And what we try to do is we try to stick to Latin America because we’re on the East Coast. So Latin America, you know, is only maybe an hour, one way or another in a lot of the places. And like Mexico is actually, to me, has been fantastic. Like I’ve, I used to visit that a lot with the import export law firm that I worked at. So Mexico is got a great infrastructure for that type of stuff. We are not going with them this time around, but they have that kind of setup. So that’s to your point what you were saying before. You have to also decide if you’re going to go with an outsourced company or if you’re going to try to outsource and get involved in the labor laws of that country and everything else that goes with that right, the infrastructure and wi fi, even. Yeah.
Alay: [00:30:09] Jeez. Yeah, it’s a lot. And then when things are not going well, you know, it’s really smart of you to look for time zone alignment because, you know, I’m in Silicon Valley. And so outsourcing was a huge thing here about 20, 30 years ago, and all the work was going to India, which is, you know, 13 and a half hours off of California. Fine. When things are going well, you send the work, it gets done overnight, it comes back. But when things are not going well now, someone has to be working with that team in the middle of the night and that can be a real nightmare. No pun intended.
Grace: [00:30:45] A 100 percent. That was me when we were dealing with persist, at least initially we had, you know, a development team in India as well as a development team here. We’ve since moved on from that structure where our development team is actually in Latin America as well as here, and we’ve built out our development team here. But to your that’s exactly what’s happened to us. I was up at three o’clock in the morning in the middle of the night because something was going wrong with our PERSIST, our system. Guess who had to fix it? The India had to fix it and I had to jump on there with them to tell them, OK, this is what’s happening. So yeah, it’s time zone alignment is definitely a big, big plus when it comes to hiring and outsourcing.
Liel: [00:31:27] Yeah, I think I think there’s been a lot of excitement, particularly over the past two years in the legal industry about outsourcing offshore. And while there may be some good success stories there, a lot of people learn the hard way that it’s not as easy as it seems. And and I think the most important part Ali. And also based on a little bit what what we’ve discussed so far in this conversation is you need to know very, very well what and when. And I think your approach is more of don’t set rules in stone have some flexibility to to test and try things out and and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Right. I don’t think you can make kind of like. Hard decisions on even one specific position, because in different circumstances, things that you may not be considering now. Maybe down the road could actually be good options. So I think we still need to retain that open-mindedness when it comes down to that particulary.
Alay: [00:32:30] Yeah, always be hiring. So always have an open mind for for people and organizations who would be a great fit for your firm. But when you have an acute need, when you’re trying to bring on board an attorney or a paralegal or another staff member, that is when it’s really helpful to put together a hiring plan so you can think about, OK, where do I want to advertise? What are all the different sources for advertising job boards, things like that? Who am my network can help me out here. Who should I be connecting with and having these conversations with having that plan in place before you start? The search really helps, because now you can move the search forward with confidence and you can also even set up, you know, if I don’t get a result here in three months, it’s time to go, get a recruiter, and add them to the search. And if that’s not working, maybe we even need to retain search where you hire a recruiter to work exclusively for you to find someone right. That’s not done very often, but nowadays I can see that happening much more often than in the past. So having a plan really helps make those decisions.
Liel: [00:33:39] Yeah, I’m actually sorry, and I do want to add in this because I was sitting on a on on a mastermind meeting last week and and the way in one of the members was like someone in the group was having having a very, very hard time finding talent. And and he was asked by another team member why you don’t work with our recruiter and say, Well, it’s too expensive and right there on the spot. He did the math of how it’s actually much more of a better deal to actually hire the recruiter as high as their price tag may seem, then continue being in the in the deficit that he’s right now. So yeah, that was very interesting how that got put up in perspective. I think sometimes we just look at the price tag of things without necessarily looking at the price of not paying the price tag, right? That’s that’s the value that it’s not so tangible for us to estimate.
Alay: [00:34:32] Yeah, and it’s a big chunk of change, right? So in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, where I live, if you’re looking for a high quality attorney, it’s not unusual for them to cost one hundred and fifty two hundred thousand or more. So if we say two hundred thousand is is sort of to keep the math easy, right? And you bring on a recruiter on a contingency basis, which means you pay them nothing upfront. They go find candidates. And then if you hire one of their candidates now, you have to pay them their fee. Their fee is twenty five percent. So twenty five percent and two hundred like fifty thousand. That’s a big check to write. Even though you know it over two years, you’re going to get all that back and then and then some. It’s a big check to write. And so for firms that are considering that they should have access to, you know, some kind of debt facility, whether it’s a line of credit which is preferred or even if it’s credit cards, but some way to to pay for those services. Because you’re right, if you can get that person on board and it’s the right person and they stay, that’s key,
Liel: [00:35:32] Wild card.
Alay: [00:35:33] Yeah, it can pay off really, really well.
Grace: [00:35:35] Well, I’ve worked with recruiting agencies that give you a three month, you know, 90 day guarantee, you know, with replacement and all of that. So I can know exactly what you’re saying. It just makes sense sometimes to reach out and do that. So we are now at the end, unfortunately, because this has been a fantastic conversation, particularly for me, because I’m in the middle of all of this. So I thank you for giving me all your insight. We are now at the takeaway portion, so we like to ask for your three actionable takeaways to give to our audience that they can hopefully take today and either absorb and act on right now or hopefully in the next week or two. Start implementing an action from your takeaways.
Alay: [00:36:21] Absolutely. So this is usually where I start with my clients. I’m going to share it with all of you. And then also, it’s in the book in the first section called Hiring Habits. So the first thing you want to do is you want to get out a blank piece of paper. You can have some lines on it if you want, but but a blank piece of paper and you want to write down the reason you want to write is because writing activates the memory and you want to write down your dream team. Like if you could wave a magic wand, the attorneys and staff, the actual names of the people that you know who you’d love to have working at your firm. Forget about compensation and all of that. But these are people who do the kind of work you want. Culturally, you’re a great fit. You trust them. You say to yourself, Wow, if I had these people in my firm, we would just rock, right? That’s the group you want, that’s your A-Team or your dream team, whatever you want to call it. Write them down because the first thing you’re going to do is you’re going to reach out to every one of them and you’re going to ask them this question. “Who do you know? Who would be a great fit for my firm, we’re looking to hire for” You know, whatever the role it is. You already trust them. They probably already trust you. You like them. They probably like you, and they’ll feel flattered that you’re reaching out to them. And who knows, they might even say, “Well, you know. I might be interested.”
Alay: [00:37:41] What about me? Right, and then and then you’re off to the races. But even if they don’t do that, if they connect you with someone, that person is likely going to be someone who you can also like and trust because they’re trusted by your colleague that you’d love to have in your firm. So that’s the first thing to do is come up with that list. Second thing to do is call everyone on that list. And set up ideally meetings, whether it’s Zoom or in person to talk about that and to ask them that question. Right. The third thing to do is to put together a list of your firm’s values if you don’t have it already, so with with my clients. One of the first things we do, especially if they’re hiring, is we do their one-page strategic plan. And as part of that, we go through the values for the organization because everyone in the organization, you want to have those common values, that’s what makes them passionate about the firm. That’s what makes them likely to join. And that’s what keeps them at the firm. When they get another offer and they’re tempted to leave, it’s those values that hold them together. So identify your values and if and if they want. If you want help doing that, you can just go to my website. There is a business plan toolkit which has the video, the example and a template so you can do your own values exercise. So just to recap, those are the three things make your list contact and meet everyone on that list and then identify your firm’s values.
Liel: [00:39:03] Wow. It doesn’t get more actionable than that. Alay, thank you so much. Thank you for so many insights and for joining us for this conversation. Again, Ali is the author of Staffing Up the Attorneys Guide to Hiring Top Talent. The link for the book in Amazon is on the episode notes, as well as Alay’s contacts and website. And again, we hope we get to get you back in our show because there’s so much to talk about with you.
Alay: [00:39:25] Liel, Grace, it was a lot of fun. Thank you so much for having me on the show today. I enjoyed chatting with both of you.
Grace: [00:39:30] Thank you.
Liel: [00:39:31] Thank you.
Liel: [00:39:40] Grace, what a great conversation. I mean, quite frankly, how can you top those takeaways? It doesn’t get more actionable than that.
Grace: [00:39:48] No, definitely not. I may add one, and that’s it.
Liel: [00:39:51] And leave it right. Go for it because I have one also to add.
Grace: [00:39:54] Oh, good. So between the two of us, we got two additional takeaways to his amazing talk.
Liel: [00:39:58] Mine is a tricky one, so you’ll see. But go ahead.
Grace: [00:40:02] So I for me, it’s don’t people don’t hire or attorneys don’t hire early enough and they wait too long. I have found that that has been a recurring issue for most people in general, because by the time you need somebody, you were already overloaded with work. So don’t wait too long. Hire, constantly hire and be hiring people that you want to work with you that are part of your culture. So that’s my takeaway.
Liel: [00:40:28] Yeah, and it’s a great one, Grace. And my takeaway is like, Hey, there’s a great book out there that has almost kind of like a blueprint here on how to do this well and successfully. So it doesn’t get better than that. Just go and grab a copy. And the worst thing that can happen is that you’re going to end up learning how you can eliminate some of the hurdles and pain points that you’re seeing your hiring process. The best thing that can happen is that you end up hiring good people that actually stay and make your life easy. So Grace, honestly, the link is on the episode notes. Go for it because you’ve just heard it from Alay himself. It makes a lot of sense,
Grace: [00:41:11] So get staffing up the attorneys’ guide to hiring top talent, ladies and gentlemen.
Liel: [00:41:16] All right, Grace. Well, thank you so much for another great conversation, and we’ll be back next week.
Grace: [00:41:21] Next week. Thanks, Liel.
Liel: [00:41:23] Bye.
Liel: [00:41:27] And if you like our show, make sure you subscribe. Tell your coworkers. Leave us a review and send us your questions at: email@example.com We’ll see you next week.