© 1996 Shelton & Steele

About Us

To learn about our recruiters & consultants, please click on their page. To learn about our firm please read what others have to say about us:


   “Since I’ve begun working with Shelton & Steele, my income has literally doubled. There is no one I would recommend more highly. The idea of leaving BigLaw and a guaranteed paycheck was daunting, to say the least! Frederick guided me through every step of the process, including evaluating the portability of my client base, understanding how to run my practice like a business etc. He has also been an invaluable counsel. When what seemed like the most difficult business matters and decisions needed to be addressed, his advice made things clear, simple and manageable.”

Knicole Emanuel, Partner

   “Frederick Shelton guided us through every step of a law firm merger. He was clear, objective and made sure things went smoothly. What is more telling though, is that he has been in constant contact since. For over a year, he has offered some of the best business counsel an attorney could hope for and done everything imaginable to help increase the profitability of both our office and my personal client base. He knows more about attorney branding & marketing than anyone I’ve ever met – including the people in our marketing department! He’s the real thing.”

Scott Rasmussen, Partner

   “It was obvious from the beginning that S&S understood us better than other recruiters. They have placed more partners with us than any other legal search firm we’ve worked with.”

Michael Moradzadeh, CEO - Hybrid Brick & Mortar / Virtual Law Firm

   “The people at Shelton & Steele do things very differently than other recruiters. I was amazed by the amount and depth of valuable information they provided accurate information about both the upsides and downsides of each firm. It helped me make a much more informed and better decision.”

Diane Gabl, Attorney

   "I started working with Frederick Shelton less than a month ago. By following his counsel, I brought in a new matter within a week. Within three weeks I brought in another one. He was able to provide me with solid advice that enhanced my outlook and output! The short time that we have worked together has added tremendous value to my practice" 

Celena Nash

A New Approach - We Represent Attorneys

   The best interest of the attorney will always be our number one priority. This works out better for our clients in the long run. Because we're not going to tell an associate that your firms "minimum billable hours requirement" is 1,800. We're going to tell them what the realistic number of hours actually billed by associates working the group is - be it 1,850 or 2,350.

   The same holds true for partners and groups. We don't just tell them your name; we tell them the reality. And the reality is that nothing's perfect. The highly intelligent and educated professionals who entrust us with their careers (and firms) are sophisticated enough to know that. They don't want the sales pitch, they want authenticity.

   Other legal recruiters have a two-year attrition rate above 20%. In our twenty-year history, we've only had two attorneys we recommended to clients, who weren't there two years later. Other legal recruiters average 50% of Collections vs. Represented Books in one-year period between 3 and 15 months (data is measured beginning three months after starting, due to transition etc.). Our Collection Rate is currently over 85% (as of July 2019 - this page will be constantly updated).

   So, while our law firm and corporate clients pay our fee, we make clear the priority is the best fit for the attorney. We're happy to provide references who will verify the greater success this approach provides.    


   Like the practice of law, the legal recruiting industry is ripe for disruption. The majority of firms operate on the same business model they have since the 70’s. They regularly engage in practices which include for example, recruiting from client firms. It’s almost impossible to discover this.

   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 your attorneys from all 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, we offer a Five Year, Firm-Wide Recruiting Prohibition. 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 in 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 spin-offs, Virtual & Hybrid firms, boutiques and Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSP's).





   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 two-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.


Shelton & Steele's Candidate Code of Ethics

1. The best interest of the attorney(s) comes first. Period. Firms pay our fees, but we make clear to them, why only getting the people who would enjoy working with them most, makes sense. We don’t recruit attorneys, we represent them.

2. We will never submit your resume or identifying material anywhere, without your prior consent. At S&S, this is grounds for immediate termination.

​3. We won’t lie to you. What we know, you will know. And we know a lot about our space. Test us.

​4. We will call you within 24 hours of receiving your resume or bio, or your request for us to call you. This includes weekends. Once we begin working together, we will give you the exact timeline of when to expect every follow-up call – even if there is nothing to report at that time.

We Don't Recruit Attorneys, We Represent Them

   While the law firms and corporations seeking premium talent pay our fees, the attorneys we represent are our first priority. There is nothing more important that you will voluntarily entrust to a professional, than your career. We must be worthy of that trust.

   Our job is to first protect you but we’re also here to help you leverage what you have now, into something clearly superior. To that end, our methodology is different and much more comprehensive than other recruiters. The first thing we’ll do is provide an analysis of factors such as demand level for your practice area, pedigree, client base, soft skills, etc.

   Then we’ll listen. We need to know exactly what both your short- and long-term objectives are. We’ll help you identify factors or attributes you might not have thought of but would benefit from evaluating. You’re the brand. Our job is to know exactly who you are, what you want and the most effective strategy to present your narrative to the market.

   One other note: If your current position couldn’t be any better, please keep us in mind. When someone is kind enough to refer a successfully placed attorney to Shelton & Steele, we make a check for $5,000 out to the local homeless shelter, in their name.