Frequently Asked Questions

Attorney Search and Placement

Employers

  • As a legal employer, the reasons for using a legal search firm are many. First, using a search firm can be a great timesaving device when a firm or company is too busy to prepare advertisements and sift through candidate resumes, most of which are often inappropriate for the open position. Second, and equally important, using a search firm is the best way to target the most desirable and appropriate candidates for a particular position. The most desirable candidates often are doing very well in their current positions, are not actively seeking new positions, and must be specifically targeted for a particular position. Because these attorneys are not actively looking for a new position, they may not be perusing the job ads or submitting resumes for open positions directly.

    Targeting and recruiting the most desirable candidates is where McCormack Schreiber can be an invaluable asset to your hiring process. At McCormack Schreiber, we know and understand the legal markets in which we search. Our professionals practiced as lawyers at top firms, and in addition to our knowledge of the legal community and the network of contacts that we have established as practicing attorneys, we have many combined years of recruiting, consulting and law firm hiring experience. Further, at McCormack Schreiber, we meet with each candidate in person (or, if necessary, we have a comprehensive video or telephone conference) prior to submitting the candidate to a prospective employer. This in-depth interview allows us not only to determine whether a candidate is qualified for a particular position, but also to properly educate the candidate about the position. As a result, McCormack Schreiber presents only qualified and interested candidates, providing added value to the employer.

  • When McCormack Schreiber Legal Search recruits for a position, we learn as much as possible about the firm or company and the position itself. We also spend time with the employer to gain a thorough understanding of its culture, the practice group(s) in question, and the criteria for candidates. This process allows us to approach appropriate candidates with the most in-depth information possible.

    Then, as described above, McCormack Schreiber meets with each candidate to ascertain information that can not be readily gleaned from a resume. This include reasons for any job moves, results of performance reviews, professional goals, and how a person presents him or herself. Then, if the attorney is appropriate for a position, we tell them as much as possible about the firm or company and the position. These efforts help ensure that the candidates that we present are both a good fit for the position and well informed.

  • Employers will be charged for our services only if the employer hires a candidate presented by us. Specifically, with limited exceptions, our fees are on a contingency basis, thus eliminating the risk that a client will be forced to pay for a service without the desired end result. We are paid only when we place a candidate with a firm or company. Finally, at McCormack Schreiber, we are members of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants (NALSC) and abide by the group's Code of Ethics, which includes a six-month prohibition on recruiting from law firms or companies where a placement has been made.

Attorneys

  • A reputable legal search firm can be a great asset to an attorney seeking a new position. It is essential, however, to choose a highly-regarded and experienced search firm that you believe will best represent you in such an important process. McCormack Schreiber Legal Search is such a firm.

    At McCormack Schreiber, we have an extremely experienced group of search consultants to assist you in the search and placement process. We are all attorneys who practiced at top law firms and thus can provide knowledgeable advice and assistance. We operate under very high standards of ethics and integrity, and provide candidates with information that is as detailed and candid as possible regarding our clients and positions. We meet with our candidates to learn about their practices and goals so that we may better and more personally represent them to our employer clients.

    Further, the professionals at McCormack Schreiber take the time to answer candidates' questions, review resumes, and counsel candidates regarding everything from interviewing and handling difficult issues that may arise during the interview process, to providing helpful feedback from clients when appropriate. In addition, we regularly remind our employer clients of the importance of a candidate's confidentiality. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, we do not submit resumes to employers without a candidate's express permission. As a result, candidates who work with McCormack Schreiber remain in complete control of the submission process – and it is the candidate who decides where and when a resume is submitted for a particular position.

  • No. As is standard in the industry, McCormack Schreiber Legal Search is compensated by the employer based on a previously-negotiated rate that has no impact on the search process or the compensation that you will be offered by the employer.
  • The answer to this question depends on the type of search that a candidate is conducting. As a general proposition, when searching for opportunities in law firms, it is typically best to start by working with one very carefully selected legal recruiting firm. This will help avoid any potential for a "double contact"; (i.e., a double submission for the same opportunity by more than one source). When a double contact occurs, it may reflect badly on the candidate, who may be viewed as having lost control of the process or who may appear too desperate to find other employment.

    Larger law firms tend to work with many recruiting companies, and small law firms may work with a handful; however, an "exclusive" arrangement with a single legal recruiter is atypical in the law firm context. At McCormack Schreiber, we work with virtually every high quality large, mid-size and boutique law firm in the city. We are also generally within that very small group of recruiting firms that work with many of the highly regarded, smaller firms in the city, and we have exclusive law firm searches -- for which we are the sole recruiter -- for a number of exceptional boutique law firms. In short, we believe that law firm candidates working with McCormack Schreiber do not need to work with other recruiting companies.

    For candidates searching in the in-house arena, our advice differs slightly. In-house searches, unlike law firm searches, are often exclusive to a single search firm. For that reason, it can be important to contact a select number of top search firms to inform them that you are looking for a certain type of in-house position. At McCormack Schreiber, we have many in-house searches for companies ranging from small closely held companies to large publicly-traded companies. Further, we have in-house searches in a wide range of practice areas, including real estate, corporate, finance, securities, litigation, intellectual property, telecommunications, healthcare, and employee benefits.

  • There is no "one size fits all" answer to this question. However, there are some general rules of thumb that candidates should understand when determining the ideal time to make a career move.

    Generally, an associate who is interested in moving to another law firm is most marketable when he or she has 2 to 5 years of legal experience. These levels may be stretched one way or another from time to time, depending upon the practice area and the economy. Generally, however, the more junior level candidates (less than 1 year of experience) are less attractive to a law firm because law firms have filled their ranks at these levels with recent law school graduates. Once a candidate becomes more senior (5+ years out of law school), the concern of many law firms becomes an attorney's proximity to partnership, and it may be a more difficult time in one's career to make a move without portable business. That said, McCormack Schreiber regularly has a number of excellent senior associate positions, as well as partner-level opportunities for attorneys with portable business and, in certain practice areas, for attorneys with strong legal experience and no current portable business.

    The most marketable period for attorneys seeking in-house positions is less clear. However, many in-house searches tend to fall within the range of 5 to 10 years of experience. Occasionally, searches for more junior candidates arise; however, such searches are less common in light of the inability of most in-house legal departments to devote their resources to training young lawyers.

  • As a general rule, a legal search firm will be an impediment to a recent law school graduate (less than 1 year out) as law firms and corporations rarely are willing to pay a placement fee for candidates with less than 1 year of legal experience. Candidates who are completing federal clerkships occasionally are exceptions to this rule. As a recent law school graduate, it is important to use the resources available to you through your law school placement office, as well as through advertisements and networking

  • At McCormack Schreiber Legal Search, we are extremely knowledgeable about the Chicago legal market and are well-equipped to assist candidates who are moving to the area. Many lawyers relocate to Chicago with great success. However, there are a few aspects of a relocation -- whether to Illinois or to any state -- that may affect the interview process.

    First, membership in a particular state bar may be an issue and it can be quite helpful to take the Bar exam, waive-in, or at least register for a state's bar prior to embarking on a search in that particular region. In addition, prepare your resume in a way that demonstrates any connection to the area. Further, if you are committed to staying in the area, it is important throughout the interview process to make potential employers aware of your commitment.

    At McCormack Schreiber, we regularly assist candidates who are relocating, including helping the candidates to decide which opportunities best fit their career goals, as well as helping guide the candidates through the interview and placement process.

  • Yes. Although our focus is Chicago, we have facilitated placements throughout the country. We have relationships with outstanding recruiting firms in virtually every major metropolitan area, and we work closely with these recruiters in order to assist a candidate to relocate to another part of the country.  It can be quite an intimidating process to approach a new legal market without knowing where to go for assistance. McCormack Schreiber can help to direct you to an appropriate search firm who shares our commitment to ethics, integrity and client service.

Temporary Attorney and Legal Staffing

Employers

  • McCormack Schreiber Legal Solutions is unique in this industry. Unlike virtually all of our competitors, our founders started in the search business as high-level permanent attorney recruiters. Our affiliated permanent search firm, McCormack Schreiber Legal Search, has been a leader in the permanent search industry for nearly two decades. As such, we have developed and designed McCormack Schreiber Legal Solutions' policies and procedures, including philosophy, goals, screening, and client service with the model of a highly regarded permanent search business.

  • It is our goal to make this process as simple as possible for our clients. In short, the process for our employer clients merely involves contacting us and asking for our assistance. We then take care of screening, presenting, and otherwise facilitating the process. We have developed an extensive database of potential candidates for a wide range of projects. Our database of paralegal candidates is extensive, and our roster of attorneys and paralegals for temporary roles is particularly impressive in that we have been able to attract a high caliber of candidates, who may have initially contacted us for permanent positions. Many of these candidates are interested in working on projects for the short or long term, while concurrently having access to our permanent opportunities. Our competitors simply cannot provide this range of opportunity for attorney candidates, and many candidates who approach us for assistance would not consider working with companies that do not have an established permanent business.

  • Yes! McCormack Schreiber Legal Solutions provides contract, permanent and temporary to permanent paralegals, patent agents and other legal support professionals, including legal secretaries and legal administrative assistants. Our extensive database of pre-screened candidates includes candidates with varying degrees of experience in a range of practice areas, including litigation, bankruptcy, real estate, intellectual property, patent and trademark, corporate and labor and employment. For more information on recruiting paralegals, see our recruiting guide:  5 Insider Tips to Recruit the “Perfect” Paralegal.

  • Yes. Some examples of our most recent paralegal placements include:

    • • Corporate/Securities Paralegal with healthcare real estate investment company;
    • • Paralegal/ Contract Specialist with a global mid-market investment bank;
    • • Commercial Real Estate Paralegal with a mid-size Chicago law firm and
    • • Litigation Paralegal with a leading boutique business law firm.

  • Yes. Although, we have assisted clients nationally, most of our law firm paralegal placements are in Chicago and surrounding suburbs, and while this is also largely true for in-house, we have placed paralegals in in-house legal positions on a national basis. Some examples include:

    • Corporate Paralegal with South Dakota based biofuel corporation and

    • Advertising/ Marketing Paralegal with Tennessee-based Fortune 1000 company

  • Contract attorneys have become a permanent fixture in the legal recruiting industry. While contract attorneys are often used to staff large scale legal matters, including massive document review and corporate due diligence projects, the possibilities are truly endless. Contract attorneys can, and increasingly are, hired for more substantive, high-level legal work, including research and writing, contract and lease drafting and review, corporate governance, and securities and other regulatory compliance.  For more information as to the cost to an employer for the hiring of a contract attorney, see our recruiting guide: An Employer’s Guide to the Cost of Temporary Staffing with Experienced Attorneys.

  • As an affiliated company of McCormack Schreiber Legal Search, a longtime leader in the permanent attorney recruiting industry, we have been able to attract strong contract candidates by offering a full range of employment counseling and services. Many of our candidates are interested in pursuing contract work while at the same time having access to potential permanent opportunities offered through McCormack Schreiber Legal Search. Our competitors simply do not have the same track record in permanent attorney search and cannot provide the benefit of a full-service recruiting experience.

    We also believe that the only way to retain the highest quality candidates is to treat them as true professionals. As such, we offer a competitive benefits package currently available in this industry.

  • Great! We will absolutely facilitate and support the permanent placement of a contract attorney, paralegal, patent agent or legal administrative assistant with our clients. While this works against the model of many of the competing "high-end" contract attorney businesses (sometimes described as "virtual law firms"), our belief is that what is good for our clients and the overall careers of our candidates is also good for our business. Although there will be a conversion fee for a permanent placement, it will be offset to a degree by the fees already paid for use of the candidate in a contract capacity.

Employees/Candidates

  • McCormack Schreiber Legal Solutions has experienced professionals that assist you throughout the search and placement process. We take the time to answer candidate questions, review resumes and counsel candidates on the interview process. Our team works one-on-one with candidates to discuss goals and provide detailed information about our clients and opportunities to ensure a strong match between candidates and clients. We do not submit resumes to employers without a candidate’s express permission; thus, candidates who work with McCormack Schreiber remain in complete control of the submission process.

  • To be considered as a candidate eligible for employment with McCormack Schreiber Legal Solutions, you should email your resume to info@mslegalsolutions.com. We will review your resume and respond promptly.
  • No. We have negotiated the arrangements with employers, who are responsible for any fees associated with a search.
  • While contract attorneys and paralegals today are often thought of to staff large scale legal matters, including massive document review and corporate due diligence projects, we believe that attorneys available on a contract basis have been often overlooked for other types of matters, and it is our goal to increase awareness of the tremendous capabilities of this new breed of contract attorney. We have staffed contract attorneys on substantive, high-level legal assignments, including legal research and writing, contract and lease drafting and review, corporate governance, and securities and other regulatory compliance.

  • If you are an Illinois licensed attorney in good standing with the Illinois State Bar, and you have strong professional references, we would be interested in reviewing your credentials and experience for potential employment as a contract attorney with McCormack Schreiber Legal Solutions. The vast majority of opportunities with our company will be for attorneys with prior legal experience, but occasionally we will have projects for more junior attorneys.
  • McCormack Schreiber Legal Solutions offers an attractive and competitive benefits program to all of our employees. As an employee, you will be eligible for all applicable benefits, including:

    •401(k) Safe Harbor plan

    •Paid holidays

    •Vacation allowance

    •Subsidized continuing legal education

    With our 401(k) plan, employees may save for retirement using pre-tax contributions, which McCormack Schreiber will match up to the first 4% of eligible pay.

    Our paid holiday policy applies to all employees who are actively staffing an assignment when one of six federal holidays occurs. Our employees will receive eight hours of holiday pay for that day. These holidays include: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Our vacation allowance provides our employees with one week of paid vacation (consisting of five 8-hour days) once an employee has accrued 1200 hours in a calendar year and is currently staffed on an assignment for us.

    We also provide MCLE assistance to our contract attorneys. Once an attorney has worked 80 hours, we will offer him/her the opportunity to complete one 4-hour Ethics IICLE course free of charge.


  • Although it is always a disappointment to lose a good contract employee, at McCormack Schreiber Legal Solutions it is our goal for you to "disappoint" us in this way. We will encourage, support and facilitate the process of placing you as a permanent employee with any of our clients, should that be the shared goal of the candidate and the client.