Career Development

Developing a relationship with an executive search firm

Establishing a relationship with an executive recruiter at Premier can be an important and beneficial step in developing your career objectives. Some recruiter calls may be of interest to you and others may not. In any event, it’s always to your best interest to communicate exactly what your career objectives are and what parameters and limitations they include. View these calls as an opportunity to network.  Even if you are not interested we suggest taking charge of establishing this relationship and of encouraging a free exchange of information. It is to your benefit to be helpful and responsive for several reasons.

  • Establishing a Market Value: We are aware of what your peers are often making, and we may be able to provide you with valuable information that can assist in keeping abreast of the marketplace. Use our resources to help you establish a competitive benchmark within your industry.

  • Trends in the Industry: We are in the middle of the intellectual property community. We are most aware of trends, whether it is more start-up corporate opportunities or a trend toward general practice firms acquiring smaller intellectual property boutiques. We are the first to recognize trends in downsizing and mergers. Just ask us; most likely, we will know.

  • Career Planning and Setting Objectives: We are often asked in what direction one should take one’s career as a second year attorney. The fact is that, at any stage in your career, we can be a valuable resource to help you plan your next move. We can often offer refreshing ideas on how to continue your career growth and expand your knowledge as an intellectual property attorney. We can assist you in strategizing your career in order to make you more valuable among your peers as your career continues to grow.

Our primary objective is to encourage you to interact frequently with us so we can build a relationship that will ultimately benefit you in your next best career move. We suggest taking proactive approaches to developing this relationship even before you consider making your next career move. We also encourage you to stay closely networked within your profession, consider being affiliated with several associations, and to try to write articles and/or publications.

One practice that can be damaging to a recruiter’s relationship and to an attorney’s reputation is when the candidate just throws him or herself into a search and uses several different recruiters. It is fine to use other recruiters, but just don’t get your wires crossed. The attorney will look very poor in a hiring authority’s eye if that hiring authority receives the candidate’s resume from two different sources. This can imply a lack of organization and a loss of credibility.

Career Decisions

There are so many career decisions. There are definitely many more career opportunities then ever before. From general practice firms to intellectual property boutiques to large, medium, and small start-up corporate situations. Premier Legal Staffing specializes in placing attorneys in all these different environments and can assist you in making your next career move.

One ultimate goal all candidates should have in mind is to continue to learn more, develop more, and expand their professional skills. This cannot be emphasized enough. Most leading companies place a high value on candidates with a broad range of experience. Premier Legal Staffing, as well as our clients, places a premium on stability; however, when a candidate has been at the same corporation or firm for his/her entire career, there is a concern that the candidate’s thinking and management style are not flexible or open to new ideas.

When considering making a job change under any circumstances, we believe it is always better to look for a new job while still employed. Typically, you will be in a much better negotiating position and appear to be in more of a demand. Finally, as a candidate you tend to have more confidence and be in a better position to execute a long-term career decision.

Firm or Corporation

Many candidates seem to already know the differences between the two environments, but often times they are not 100% correct. For example, there is a common belief that companies pay less than firms do or that you work harder in a firm than in a corporation. The truth of it all is, it depends upon what firm or company you are talking about. We have represented several corporations that have been more competitive than firms across the nation. Bottom line is they both have their advantages and disadvantages.

  • Large Corporations:

    Large companies such as a Xerox or a Pfizer can be an excellent learning ground. You will have a very good opportunity to grasp a solid management process and a good corporate infrastructure. You will also have tremendous resources such as training and support for continuing education. Job security is often greater, and you will most likely always be rewarded with a competitive salary and good corporate benefits. In some cases you may also receive a very attractive stock option or stock grant program. The disadvantage can be greater when you are competing with several attorneys for a job promotion. You will be more limited in terms of financial rewards. However, if you are continuing to learn, develop, and excel in your skills, you will become more valuable within the market place.

  • Small Corporations (Start-up Companies):

    If you are considering a start-up company, be sure to do your homework. This could be an exciting career move with incredible financial rewards, but it will certainly offer more risk. In terms of professional development, make sure you will continue to be challenged. Be certain you will continue to learn and develop skills that make you more valuable. Keep in mind when going into a position such as this, smaller companies usually do not have the resources to train. They are often on a limited budget; therefore, continuing education, including seminars, may not be as actively supported. Evaluate the technology and who the competitors are. Make sure you have the experience necessary to handle this job. Many times candidates find themselves in more of an administrative role and their career is not growing. The largest reward viewed by most in the industry, is the significant stock option packages that can sometimes be offered. Just remember, it is a risk and use your best judgement. We have always found that attorneys are better educated on making this type of career decision after they have had several years of experience.

  • General Practice Firms:

    The recent trend is that of general practice firms acquiring intellectual property boutique firms. We found that if you want to remain valuable in a private practice environment it is in your best interest to develop and maintain your own portable book of business. General practice firms have many benefits because they enable you to be a member of a full-service firm. You have the option of referring work to other attorneys in other practice areas and often times are recognized for bringing in that work to the firm. The other advantage includes a chance to get a more diversified practice, such as licensing and transactional work. The disadvantages of working for a general practice firm include a possible failure to understand the needs and/or dynamics of an intellectual property practice and therefore some general practice firms lack the support an intellectual property practice needs. It is more common to find attorneys working harder and receiving higher compensation in large general practice firms.

  • Intellectual Property Boutiques:

    This environment is the best for some attorneys. The traditional intellectual property boutique firm. This could be a terrific environment for one to learn a strong base understanding of more traditional intellectual property work. Intellectual Property boutiques tend to have more of a traditional patent and trademark prosecution and intellectual property litigation practice. There are typically not more modern areas of intellectual property such as licensing, transactional, joint ventures, and strategic planning. In recent years however, we are seeing larger intellectual property boutique firms getting more of this type of work, which is generally found in a general practice firm. The advantages of an intellectual property boutique often include a smaller work environment,traditional intellectual property work, and sometimes a lessor billing hour requirement. In larger intellectual property boutique firms, the compensation remains very competitive. The boutique firms are also less subjective to large general practice firm politics, and therefore, the intellectual property attorneys who best understand the practice make all the firms’ decisions. The disadvantages include a less diverse practice and limited areas to refer work.

Our professional recruiters will be happy to discuss these career choices with you in greater detail so you have a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each. Contact us today.