- Boston is a leading city for healthcare, education, technology, and legal studies.
- A variety of companies have made the Boston metro area their home, bringing thousands of legal jobs to the region.
- A Boston legal recruiter can help lawyers find work in this high-paying region.
Boston is a top-tier city for the legal profession. But it’s also a world-class city for a variety of industries. It attracts blue-collar workers, technology experts, educators, and professionals with a diverse range of knowledge and experience.
Healthcare, for example, is one of the top industries in Boston. With large employers like Massachusetts General Hospital, the Boston Children’s Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, not to mention Harvard Medical and other education-based clinics, the area is home to some of the most elite healthcare professionals in the world.
Financial services are also a large part of the regional economy. Fidelity Investments, which is headquartered in downtown Boston, employs roughly 5,400 people in the metro area. Liberty Mutual Insurance is another major employer, adding roughly 5,000 jobs to the Boston area. Citizens Bank, which focuses on risk management and financial analysis, has over 800 employees in Boston.
If you’re interested in practicing law, headhunters with experience in executive search placement can make a big difference in helping you find a great job in the legal industry. Whether it’s as in-house counsel for a company or a specific practice area like intellectual property, knowing what you want helps headhunters review all open positions.
This means as an applicant that you must have some know-how about finding recruiters and presenting yourself as a solid candidate on places like LinkedIn. A recruiting coordinator is familiar with both the legal industry and human resources, looking at your overall background, skill set, years of experience, and other details to place you in a great position.
With so many large companies, a variety of sectors, and world-class health services, Boston has attracted countless legal professionals to the city. This, combined with some of the best law schools in the country, has made it a hotbed for the legal profession. There are plenty of legal staffing options out there in New England, and the right one can help you find a Boston law firm you’d like to work with.
Boston: A thriving city for lawyers
The city and the surrounding area is one of the epicenters for the legal profession. It boasts one of the top legal schools in the country (which many consider the most prestigious) and has a high median salary for lawyers working in the area.
According to the most recent data, there are over 17,000 lawyers in Suffolk County, where Boston is located. Many of these professionals are part of the Boston Bar Association, which has roughly 15,000 members. Hard-working, experienced, dedicated lawyers can expect a strong salary driven by a high demand for legal skills.
The median salaries for lawyers are:
- Boston Metro Area: $171,660
- Massachusetts: $142,100
- United States: $144,230
The median pay for lawyers in the Boston area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is roughly $44,000 more than the national median. Of course, none of this matters if you’re a Biglaw associate paid on the Biglaw Salary Scale and expecting a first year salary of $215,000, but it’s good to know that the area commands high salaries for lawyers across the board.
Top legal schools in Boston that impact the legal job market
While many of the lawyers in the greater Boston area come from all corners of the country and all sections of the globe, many are educated in the city or at one of the nearby institutions. Boston, of course, boasts some of the finest legal schools in the entire country, including one of the most prestigious and respected law schools in the entire world.
Harvard Law School
One of the most historic law schools in the world, graduates of Harvard Law include two U.S. presidents and numerous Supreme Court Justices. Located in nearby Cambridge, this school brings a high level of recognition to the region’s legal experts.
Boston University School of Law
Although it may not have the reputation of Harvard, the BU School of Law has a reputation as one of the finest institutions in the country. With state-of-the-art teaching and numerous mentorship options, this school contributes to Boston’s status as a leading legal city.
These schools create a pipeline for law firms that need talented, motivated lawyers. If you are moving to the Boston area and need to find employment with a law firm, you’ll likely face competition from graduates of these institutions.
For this reason, you may want to hire a legal recruiter in Boston to help you navigate the strong supply of lawyers from these law schools.
Major law firms in Boston seeking legal talent
As one of the top cities for the legal profession, high-quality law firms employ thousands of attorneys in the Boston area. Here are some of the top firms that hire you after you work with a legal recruiter in Boston:
- Ropes & Gray LLP. As the largest law firm in the Boston area, Ropes & Gray LLP serves numerous industries and has expertise in a variety of practice areas. The firm employs roughly 560 lawyers in Massachusetts alone who work in varied practices that include employment, tax, and commercial law.
- Goodwin. With roughly 450 lawyers in Massachusetts alone, this firm works in corporate law, litigation, and regulatory areas.
- Mintz Levin. Employing roughly 270 Massachusetts-based lawyers, Mintz is a well-known law firm in Boston and the surrounding area. They have a strong reputation for quality, detailed work and are consistently rated as one of the best by both clients and peers.
- WilmerHale: With roughly 250 associates in Massachusetts, WilmerHale serves numerous practice areas that include administrative law, bankruptcy, investigations, and securities litigation.
These are just four of the top law firms in Boston. Whether you are seeking employment from a massive global firm or a small, intimate group, you can find the opportunity that best fits your needs with a legal recruiter.
How to conduct a legal job search in Boston
A legal recruiter is simply someone who sources talent, acting almost like a talent scout for law firms. They go out and search for job candidates, then screen and interview potential hires and send recruits to law firms that are seeking qualified candidates.
While they are not employees, their compensation comes from the law firms. In most cases, they are paid by law firms whenever recruits are hired.
Specific duties for a legal recruiter can vary, but they will often include:
- Contacting law firms to learn about their staffing needs
- Reaching out to job candidates and scheduling interviews
- Interviewing potential hires
- Meeting with candidates who may be a good match
- Assisting candidates who need to improve resumes or highlight achievements
- Screening job candidates
From the firm’s perspective, a reliable legal recruiter is a valuable resource. They bring talented professionals to their firm, allowing them to choose from a larger and potentially better pool of candidates. With a recruiter, the firm’s process of onboarding a new lawyer can be much easier, faster, and more convenient.
Advantages and disadvantages of using a legal recruiter in Boston
Here are a few of the advantages that come from using a legal recruiter:
Provide Market Insight. A Boston job recruiter knows the market and can help identify the main firms that are seeking attorneys. If you are unfamiliar with the area, this can be a valuable resource.
No Cost to You, the Job Seeker. There is no risk, as you are not paying the recruiter. If you work with a recruiter, whether they place you with a firm or not, you won’t have to pay them. Essentially, you have nothing to lose. (There is a caveat, however. See below.)
Potentially Faster Job Placement. If you need placement in a legal position quickly, a recruiter can help. Good Boston legal recruiters are up-to-date on the latest job openings and can put you in touch with leading firms much faster.
Real, Honest Feedback. Recruiters are paid when they place lawyers in a firm, so they will be honest and direct. They will give clear feedback on your chances of landing at a firm, and won’t sugarcoat their communication. 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:
Your Signing Bonus Opportunity May Evaporate. The law firm has to pay the recruiter. After working with a recruiter, you may have less negotiating power for signing bonuses, salary, and financial 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 low, you may not find quick placement or you could be placed in a job that doesn’t fit your career goals. Also, the recruiter’s low reputation could rub off when you work in the law office.
When to use a Boston legal recruiter
It can be tough to decide whether or not a legal recruiter is right for your job search. To help make the decision, here are a few hypothetical examples of attorneys who boost their job search by using a recruiter.
An Attorney Who is Not Happy with a Firm
Mark is not happy with his current Boston-area firm. He feels the firm pushes associates too hard, placing too much pressure on working long hours. As a fourth-year associate, he’s ready for a new opportunity with a more service-driven, lifestyle-oriented law firm. Being so focused on daily work, he knows surprisingly little about other Boston law opportunities. To help him overcome these issues and find a new firm, he works with a Boston legal recruiter.
Fifth-Year Associate Moving to Boston
Samantha is a fifth-year associate with a Chicago-based law firm. Her spouse, who is from Massachusetts, recently took a job with a Boston technology company. Because Boston is an expensive area, she needs employment quickly. Being unfamiliar with the law industry in Boston, she contacts a law recruiter and starts the process.
How to find a legal recruiter in Boston
I could list a few legal recruiters in Boston that I’d recommend, but I’ve found over the years that the ideal candidate for you depends heavily on who you are. Therefore, the best way to find the right legal recruiter is to simply use the chat button to tell me briefly that you’re searching for a firm job in Boston. I’ll keep all of your information confidential and get back to you quickly with some recommendations.
If you’re looking to explore legal job opportunities outside of Boston, we can connect you with legal recruiters throughout the United States.
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.