Best Legal Recruiters in Sacramento for Associates


Legal recruiters in Sacramento can help you break into this laid-back market in the capitol of California.

Key Terms

  • The legal market in Sacramento is dominated by regulatory and environmental law and lobbying because of the city’s status as the state capitol.
  • Sacramento is a diverse, queer-friendly city offering California employment opportunities with a slower pace of life.
  • Talking to a legal recruiter can be helpful for navigating the legal market in Sacramento.

Known as the “City of Trees”, Sacramento is the second-most diverse city in the U.S. and the state capitol of California . It has a population that surpasses 400,000, which increases gradually every year. Sacramento has one of the largest LGBT populations per capita. This city has a significant job market in terms of industries and companies; major sectors include software, computer services, healthcare, and financial services. Sacramento is the headquarters of Sutter Health, Blue Diamond Growers, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Teichert, and McClatchy. Kaiser Permanente, Intel, and Raley’s Corp. are a few of the city’s largest private employers. Groups like Growth Factory help startups get off the ground in Sacramento with venture funding and business advisory services.

To start with, the city has offices of several companies on the Fortune 500 list, such as Walmart and Wells Fargo, but none are actually headquartered in Sacramento. However, the city’s economy is diverse because firms from many industries want to be close to the seat of state government. As a result, the legal market in the city is quite active. Many firms have a regulatory focus as they help their clients navigate California’s state rules and administrative codes. According to the American Bar Association, there are currently 10,033 lawyers in Sacramento County, and the Sacramento Bar Association supports and governs the legal profession in the community.

Sacramento is home to Sacramento State and the University of California Davis. Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law (one of few accredited institutions offering an online legal education) is the most prominent law school located in Sacramento, but lawyers from other California institutions and out-of-state law schools also come to work in the city’s legal market. Lincoln Law School of Sacramento is a for-profit institution offering evening-only classes for students looking to earn a JD in 4 years. Graduates from higher-ranked institutions are likely to be successful in this market because there are no top-ranked law schools in Sacramento.

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Top law firms in Sacramento

As the state capitol, Sacramento attracts corporate offices and headquarters from a wide range of industries. As a result, law firms have set up offices in the city to be near the state legislature. They practice in different legal fields; for instance, they offer legal services in labor & employment, environmental, and administrative law. They also practice construction law, intellectual property, and international law.

The top law firms in the city include:

  • Downey Brand, a Sacramento-based full-service law firm focused on business, natural resources, and litigation matters in Northern Nevada and throughout California. The firm has attorneys in over 50 practice areas including water, agriculture, corporate, civil litigation, business planning, intellectual property, bankruptcy, employment, construction, real estate, trusts and estates, and family law.
  • DLA Piper has a Sacramento office focused on serving their corporate clients’ regulatory needs. DLA is a huge global firm with a wide array of client types and practice specialties.
  • Ellison Schneider Harris & Donlan is a California water, energy, and environmental law firm. A number of their attorneys have experience in working for government agencies like the California Energy Commission or the California Public Utilities Commission. It is a small firm with about a dozen attorneys, and it could be a great fit for a candidate looking to work in energy or environmental law.
  • Foley & Lardner has a Sacramento office focusing on public policy, energy, healthcare, and manufacturing.
  • Nossaman is focused on improving communities through natural resource conservation, providing access to healthcare, and promoting energy access. They have specific expertise in areas of public policy and have used their California platform to build a practice in Texas and D.C. Their Sacramento office has attorneys and  policy advisors working on legislative agendas and policy solutions for major issues in California. Nossaman is a place for attorneys who want to work in public policy in an office steps away from the state capitol.

What does this mean to Biglaw associates or fresh law graduates? It means new graduates have an opportunity to work with big-name clients. Moreover, with the rising demand for new legal talent, the city is excellent for new lawyers. All you have to do is go through the job search process, and working with a legal recruiter can streamline this process.

Get Introduced to a Recruiter

Many law firms turn to recruiters to help with human resources staffing needs. Finding top talent for full-time roles in the legal industry is not easy, and many firms want the best fit for any open role. Whether it’s an associate attorney or in-house counsel roles you’re looking for, connecting with a recruiter who knows about these open positions is a great way to cut through some of the work involved. Sourcing experts are familiar with which legal departments are currently looking for temp-to-hire or direct hire positions in San Francisco.

Finding a staffing firm with the right experience can make your hiring process that much easier. When doing your research on placement services and local recruiting firms, make sure they have a track record of success in placing legal support positions. Your recruiter should also make an effort to get to know you directly so that they can recommend you for positions that align well with your experience and goals.

Here are a few of the advantages that come from using a legal recruiter:

Provide Market Insight.A Sacramento legal recruiter knows the market and can help identify the best firms that are looking for candidates like you. If you are unfamiliar with the area, this can be a valuable resource. Whether it’s in-house or transactional roles you’re seeking, a recruiter has their finger on the pulse of the market.

No Cost to You, the Job Seeker. There is no risk for you, the candidate, even if you decide not to change jobs. If you work with a recruiter, whether they place you with a firm or not, you won’t pay a dime. Essentially, you have nothing to lose. (There is a caveat, however. See below.) 

Faster Job Placement. If you need to change jobs quickly, a recruiter can help. Good Sacramento legal recruiters are up-to-date on the latest job openings and can put you in touch with leading firms much faster. You don’t have to wait around for a job alert or an open position online; instead your recruiter reaches out to you when there’s a good fit.

Blunt, Honest Feedback.Recruiters are paid when they place lawyers in a position, so they will be frank with you about how strong of an applicant you are and which openings are likely to lead to an offer for you. They will give clear feedback on your chances of landing at a firm, and they won’t sugarcoat what they say. This honesty, while brunt, can be valuable to your career. 

On the other hand, here are a few of the disadvantages that come from using a legal recruiter:

Goodbye Signing Bonus.The law firm has to pay the recruiter, and that money might come out of your would-be bonus. After working with a recruiter, you may have less negotiating power for signing bonuses, salary, and other benefits. 

Your Job Search is Chained to the Recruiter’s Value. Your job search will be directly connected to the quality and reputation of the recruiter. If the reputation is poor, you may not find quick placement or you could be placed in a job that doesn’t fit your goals. Also, the recruiter’s reputation could rub off when you work in the law office. 

Jen is currently living in another California city, and she’s ready to change her lifestyle. She wants to move to Sacramento for the slower pace of life, better weather, and smaller-city amenities. However, she doesn’t know the local legal market in Sacramento very well, so she’s using a legal recruiter with specialized knowledge of the regional firms in the area.

Associate who wants to change practice areas

Eric is concerned about climate change and wants to develop his legal practice around environmental law. His current firm has him pigeonholed into a practice area he doesn’t feel much passion about, so he’s looking to lateral to a firm with a robust environmental practice in Sacramento. The legal recruiter he’s working with is helping him connect with partners growing their practice. Eric is able to learn the lay of the land in his new practice area more quickly with the help of his legal recruiter, who has decades of experience in Sacramento.

An attorney who isn’t happy with their current firm

Steve is not happy with his current firm. He feels the firm pushes associates too hard, placing too much pressure on working long hours. As a third-year associate, he’s ready for a new opportunity with a more lifestyle-oriented firm. Being so focused on his daily routine, he knows relatively little about Sacramento law firms. To help him find a new firm without doing any legwork himself, Steve is working with a Sacramento legal recruiter. 

If you need more information on the best legal recruiters in Sacramento, send me a message using the site’s chat button stating briefly that you’re on the lookout for a firm placement in Sacramento. I’ll keep all your information confidential and get back to you quickly with some recommendations.

If you’re looking to explore lateral opportunities and the best legal recruiters in other states, we can connect you with legal recruiters throughout the United States.

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Joshua Holt

Joshua Holt is a lawyer with 10 years of experience in Biglaw working at the country’s largest law firms, culminating in his work at a Vault 30 law firm in the private equity mergers & acquisition group. He has extensive experience counseling associates in lateraling to a firm with a better fit, helping associates make partner and working with law students navigating on-campus and call-back interviews.

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