Like the practice of law, the legal recruiting industry is ripe for disruption. The majority of legal recruiting firms operate on the same business model they have had since the 1970’s.
  They regularly engage in practices which include for example, recruiting from their own clients. It’s almost impossible to find out but easy to prevent. We offer the solution in our contracts and in the article "A Guide to Eliminate Unethical Recruiting Practices" published in the April 2019 issue of Attorney at Law Magazine.


   The national trade organization for legal search consultants has a code of ethics which, when carefully read makes very clear the lack of ethics
they abide by. If one reads their Code of Ethics states the following:

1. After being paid a fee from you, they can immediately recruit attorneys from all your offices except the one in which they made the placement.
2. They can even recruit attorneys from that same office six months and one day later.
3. They can actually recruit attorneys from you while collecting fees from you, if they just pretend they believe you would have no problem with that.

   That’s what our competitors call “Ethical”. We call it cannibalism.

   At Shelton & Steele, once a fee has been paid as agreed, a Five Year, Firm-Wide Recruiting Prohibition goes into effect.

   That’s called ethics and better yet, loyalty.


   Our founder once had contracts with over 70 of the AmLaw 200 law firms. We now work with a less than a dozen of them. In case you haven’t noticed, they have merged themselves into what could easily be characterized by a broad stroke of the brush.
   In order for Shelton & Steele to accept an AmLaw as a client, they must provide verifiable evidence that they are progressive, diversity conscience and offer clearly identifiable advantages to attorneys. Hence, the small number of clients in that genre.

Market Disruption

   Anyone paying attention knows the practice of law is long overdue for market disruption. What other industry boast the dubious distinction of operating under the same basic business model they used one hundred years ago?

   What other industry could survive such a claim? Corporate Darwinism has finally arrived to the practice of law and we are the experts on what is quickly becoming the emerging predators.

   We now specialize in working with alternatives to BigLaw such as spinoffs, Virtual & Hybrid firms, boutiques and Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSP's).

(Read Mr. Shelton’s article in Attorney at Law Magazine here:
“The Viable Alternative to BigLaw Has Arrived – Virtual Law”)


   If you read through our site, you’ll see we place an emphasis on putting the best interest of the attorney first. This actually works out to your favor. Rather than take the “used car salesman” approach to presenting your firm, we put together a comprehensive “Client Narrative” which you then approve.
   This will include your firm’s strengths, corporate culture etc. and the type of personality that would thrive there. It also includes data that will help us determine who would not do well at your firm in the long-term.
   For example, if servicing your firm’s institutional clients is the priority, someone seeking an entrepreneurial opportunity would get frustrated and eventually leave.
   Vice versa, if your firm is highly entrepreneurial, the last thing you want is someone seeking a position where their primary role would be that of a service partner.
   The result of this is that while other search firms have a 2 year attrition rate of 10 – 25%, Shelton & Steele has had only three attorneys who weren’t where we placed them, in our entire 25 year history.

Change is Coming

Las Vegas: (702) 534-0100        New York: (646) 485-4000        Silicon Valley: (650) 242-8500        Washington D.C: (202) 800-8700

Shelton & Steele


Are your own legal recruiters stealing your people?


by Frederick Shelton

(Click photo to read article)